UPDATE: I have now opted to create an AV presentation instead of presenting the piece in person. This is due to my self-confidence and i feel that i wouldn’t be able to get all i want to say across in a confident manner. I have used my sister, Claire as the narrator for the piece. I feel the video piece gets across everything i want to present reagrding my ideas and research.
It has run over the 5 minute mark which was stated in the brief but i have cut down as much of the content as i feel i could of. I also feel it would be rushed only giving a minute and a half for each theme. Scans of my script and ammendments (quite hard to actually read when its 3 times smaller than it actually is!)
I have also used over 10 images which again is due to me feeling like i can only get my ideas and research across by using images (some courtesy of Google and photos that ive taken myself) and also video clips (courtesy of youtube).
I have posted my presentation below. I shall update this post with the feedback that i receive 😀
For the presentation i am going to use the online presentation software called Prezi. I have used this online software before for my Interactive Media module and found that it was a very easy and visually interesting way to present my final piece of work.
I was initially going to create an audio/visual video for the presentation as i hate doing presentations … But i will take the plunge and present my ideas in front of my media production peeps.
For my presentation i shall be talking through my ideas and the research which i undertook over the summer.
This does look like a vast amount to talk about in 5 minutes but i shall try my best to only speak about the most relevant points regardng my research and ideas.
I shall draft out what i shall talk about whilst going through my prezi piece. This should be alot more interesting as i shall be able to be able to improvise instead of keeping my eyes glued to my script.
I have created my Prezi piece with which i will be able to navigate through my ideas in relation to the themes and relevant research whilst talking through the piece.
I have used over 10 images which is the MAXIMUM! but i feel that i need all these to represent my ideas and research to a decree that i can get these across to the audience.
The link to my presentation:
I have put up screen shots of my Prezi presentation below:
On the surface i know it doesn’t look like a jam pakced presentation but that is where my confidence (?) and improvisation to talk through the ideas and research shall come through. Wish me luck!!
Now comes the hard part…putting together all the research i have undertaken and developing ideas (3 to be exact!) which need to conincide with the given themes of ‘Spectacle’, ‘Power’ and ‘Memory’. In my mind i have been pondering what kind of pieces i could do for each theme but these were during awkward moments such as sleeping, at work or somewhere where i couldn’t have a chance to jot down what these actually were I’m screwed!!
All that negativity over with….
I have recently been delving into my thoughtsicles (word courtesy of 30 rock!) to come up with ideas for the three themes which we were given. These were ‘Power’, ‘Memory’ and ‘Spectacle’. We were told not to think of these themes in a literal way but to be imaginative and think ‘outside the box’. The first idea i have had was for the theme of ‘Spectacle’.
Idea – ‘Spectacle’ (3D music video)
When i initially thought of what this word represents i was thinking of something big and would comprise of jumping straight out at you. And the immediate first thought i had was around music and thinking back to bands that i have seen live who have a spectacular stage show which immerses you within the show and the music itself. With this in mind i have had the idea of creating a 3D music video. This would be along the same vein of that of Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication’ and the way the video has elements of being out of this world and feeling like you can almost reach out and touch the visuals. The video is in the form of a video game which i don’t want to do with the music video but just the way the piece would jump out at you is really the feel that i would create for the video.
The research that i have undertaken over the summer which has also influence me with this idea is for the fine art research and looking at Salvador Dali in particular. His vision of creating pieces which on the surface would perhaps make no sense to the naked eye, can be unravelled just by looking at the piece more closely and analysing it through just by looking at it, rather than reading other peoples perceptions and and assumptions as to what the piece is trying to say to the viewer. I feel that using his influence will help me come up with a creation with which can be seen in many different scopes and allow me to experiment fully with the content within the video. And adding in the 3D element will add to this as well, as everything looks better when we can view it in 3D and the vast range of marketing towards 3D for TV shows such as Derren Brown and even HD 3D televisions, it really is the future of video.
I would use a local band called Pyrodual who i have worked with over the summer; taking photographs and filming the band in the studio. I have never seen the medium of a music video being in 3D and feel that i can create something which would be much more than just a band playing and a sub story which would relate to the song but something that would represent the theme of spectacle in the way it would be represented in 3D. Elements of Dali have been an influence for this idea with the way i would create something that wouldn’t be shown as just a standard music video but combine elements that would make you want to be able to touch the visual itself!
The cheaper and simpler alternative …or… The more expensive and complicated version!
From researching into how to create a 3D video i have learnt how simple it really is! When i first thought of 3D i immediately thought of Avatar and the spectacle through which 3D adds to it…And you don’t need fancy expensive cameras either! This is dependant on whether you want to make a super HD blockbuster film or just an experiemental video piece to have fun with. You can use two regular digital cameras (that have video) or a couple of video cameras which you set up next to each other and record the subjects 1 metre away from the lens. The science of how this works is the ‘depth of field’ with which creates the 3D effect. The idea behind 3D is that our own left and right eye have different perspectives to what they see and the brain puts these together to calculate a distance with which creates 3D. A good visual example of how this works in the cinema shows how using 3D glasses works…
The red and blue lenses filter the two projected images allowing only one image to enter each eye.
The video below is a good starting point to how to create and edit a 3D visual piece and is the source of what influenced me to try out an idea around ‘Spectacle’ using 3D.
Even the process of editing is simple which i never really thought would be It’s all about synchronising your video tracks precisely and Using Youtube as the viewing outlet for this idea would be the most accessible way for this video to be shown with the site having a 3D option which allows you to select a viewing medium to watch the video. The only downfall being that you need actual 3D glasses and not just the sort that you can get from the cinema when watching Toy Story 3.
I would further develop upon the visual elements of the video such as the storyline (which would be fairly simple!) and what parts of the video i would make spectacular in 3D form and to a high professional standard.
Idea – ‘Memory’ (Photography & Narrative installation of Childhood)
For this next idea that has been influence from the experimental installation artwork of Alejandro Cesarco’s ‘Present Memory’ exhibit and how the theme of memory was related to the artists own father and the connection he can feel with the subject. The anticipated and constructed memory of Cesarco’s Father is the main focus of his exhibition and reallly did influence me to take a personal approach towards the theme of memory, perhaps not to myself directly but displaying the life of a willing subject who has childhood memories that they want to share with an audience.
For this idea i would base the theme of Memory around childhood and the ability or lack of being able to re-tell and repress a memory from childhood. This would be in the form of a subject (young or old) narrating over a projection of their childhood in the form of photographs. This would be projected in a room and have the narration in surround sound over the presentation of the photos from their childhood. The photographs wouldn’t neccessarily represent what the narrator would be talking about such as what is happening within the photograph itself, but be an indication of the kind of time period with which the memory is being retold and remembered from. Perhaps having the photographs which reflect an actual memory would be more effective, but this all depends on how many memories are reflected within a photograph.
I feel that a photograph can really tell something significant from a certain time or place and having a narrator as the subject, would almost be like an autobiographical piece of their memories, from which we can experience our own memories of our own childhood. The amount of photographs which people have, whether in a dusty photo album or hidden away up in a dark attic, are always at some point or another looked at again and reminised over. Photographs are a staple to memory and moments being captured by a click of a button, that are captured forever (unless you delete a photo by accident! – i am guilty of this!) I love the idea of being able to go back to a certain time and place and clearly remembering what was happening within the photo itself.
Thinking about how i would present this piece harks back to my visit at the Tate Modern and the wide space which was used for single pieces, such as Francis Alys’s ‘Story of Deception’, and the projections of his video pieces being on display in seperate rooms. I presume that this is to fully immerse the viewer into what the individual pieces are, instead of putting all the pieces in the same room which would detract from each other in terms of concentration and getting distracted immediately by another projection next to another piece. From going to the Alys’s exhibition, it has really opened my eyes and mind to how visual pieces can be presented instead of just on a television screen. Being in an open space can add more depth to the piece and the inclusion of surround sound also adds to this as well. Space can really give a piece room to breathe and can immerse itself onto the viewer.
The piece wouldn’t just be a single piece focusing on one person but would be a different childhood memory from a variety of different people whether young or old, or a good or bad memory. This would differ from each showing of the piece and wouldn’t just be one dimensional with happy memories of going on the beach when you were 5 years old or anything that would be solely based around being ‘happy’. It would go deeper than that but only within the comfort of the actual subject and how much they would want to be presented to an audience. The choice would be there for the subject how much they would want to lay out for the audience to hear, this wouldn’t be anything disturbing but sometimes people have memories which aren’t always as happy as perhaps we always assume they are, especially in childhood.
Now, on the surface this does sound relatively simple and perhaps not thinking ‘outside the box’ but i feel that memory is something with which we can have a powerful link with how we are in the here and now and how childhood can influence this. I have many childhood memories and feel that we mostly have strong memories from childhood and relaying these can take us back to that time when things were alot simpler!
This piece would carry the theme of ‘Memory’ and influence the audience to remember their own childhood, which we can sometimes put to the back of our minds and not really use this quite powerful tool within ourselves or not choosing to remember, which is a shame unto itself.
Idea – ‘Power’ (Stop Motion piece or short film)
Out of the three themes this one is perhaps the hardest theme from which i haven’t had any immediate ideas that have came to mind. From identifying what i consider to be ‘Power’, i see that this word can relate to pretty much anything that has a higher or lower level of control over something else. Whether this be in a social or political or physical sense, it can also relate to something as simple as words, and the use of these that could ultimately turn a situation around entirely. The word is used for many things (too many to list here!) and i think how there are so many definitions and aspects to the word, that i have had difficultly coming up with a rock solid idea for this theme.
A few 100 hundred hours later…
With this in mind and the research which i undertook, the film research that i did and in particular Gus Van Sant’s ‘Elephant’. The idea of an ordinary student taking control over a whole high school using a gun really was the most poignant piece of research i undertook and which relates to the theme of ‘Power’. With this in mind i have had the idea of doing a short stop motion piece which would revolve around the idea of something (not sure as to what exactly yet!) that takes control over something else. Whether this would be in a mature sense is another thing entirely. As silly as the idea sounds, i immediately think of doing something quite comical in the form of jelly babies (very strange i know!)
I feel that doing something quite tongue in cheek with this theme would be the most achieveable way to approach it. I would use stop motion to depict a situation where (just plucking ideas from my head…) an army of jelly babies goes up against an army of jelly teddy bears to seize control of the jelly baby tin/palace. This is sounding very weird now so….(awkwardly walks away!)
and skipping to a completely different and less bizarre tangent altogether…
I was initally thinking of creating a short film that would explore the aspect of religion and the power (or supposed moral power) against another religion. I was thinking of doing something around scientology and the unbelieveable power which they have over their followers. This was influenced by the BBC Panorama documentary which explores the manmade religion (?) of Scientology and the power which it has over its followers.
The very secretive nature of what actually happens behind the tightly closed doors of this really intrigues me as to the ways that it has a very powerful hold upon its followers and the consequences of leaving the religion.
This would be a fictious piece which would take alot of research and actually understanding the stand points of what it actually is (which might result in me becoming brainwashed!). But just watching how the documentary explored it really got me into the theme of power and what something (even as fictious) as scientology can seize this over a mass following of normal people.
For this theme i have really struggled as to what solid idea i could do, which wouldnt be too complicated or go a million miles away from the actual theme.
On my next blog i shall plan out my presentation with regards to what i shall be talking about (which is relevant! and not babbling!) and the actual visuals i shall be talking over.
For the festival part of the summer research i went to the Bestival music festival in the Isle of Wight. As well as a vast range of musical acts across various genres such as The Flaming Lips, Roxy Music and even Rolf Harris-as well as a certain Mr Motivator making an appearance! Bestival also features many diverse elements such as an inflatable church where you can get married and an eco-house as well as many other attractions to draw the festival-goers to the event every year. This part of the research is to look at how media practitioneers (such as myself) use festivals to present their work to the public. I mainly go to music festivals such as Download and Sonisphere, which don’t particularly have a range of media practitioneers through which to promote bands or themselves. Bestival on the other hand, has a wide range of different aspects to it rather than just burger vans and beer tents. It actually has an experimental side to it with which media practitioneers can present their work and gain an audience through bands such as through the following media practitioneer that had one of his pieces of work on display.
One of the attractions at the festival was a light, sound and visual exhibition by Saam Farahands (a video extraordinaire who has worked in documentary, commericals and also music videos). The musical experience entitled Xx: A Sculpture Of The Album (A band called The Xx in case you were wondering…) that is a 3D film, light and sound sculpture of the band’s latest album. The piece was being showcased inside the festival’s very own cinema in which gives an enclosed and other worldly experience without any outside interference from the rest of the festival site.
(I was unable to take pictures of this piece unfortunately so have had to rely on Google to give a visual image of the exhibition i went to)
Farahands describes the piece as a ‘physical music video’ in which he also states “shares a sensibility with art installations.” When i first read about this piece i was apprehensive as to what extent it would give the 3D experience with which i have only ever experienced through the scope of cinema (…and Toy Story 3 for that matter!) The concept is a new one which i have never heard of being done in the form of a music video and i wish i thought of that idea first! (damn!)
The piece is made up of three upright slim screens (of sorts..) which features each of the three band members of the Xx and has light and surround sound positioned around the screens to give an all-round music video experience as if you are actually within it.
From just exploring around this exhibition and thinking back to how i discovered that this exhibition would be at the festival, i have realised that a vast majority of publicity is through the internet and sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Youtube-as this is how i found out about Saam Farahands in the first place! Its from a repertoire of work mostly based around music videos that has perhaps given the media practitioneer a following of an audience-especially with regards to this festival in particular and the actual bands he has produced visual pieces of work for. The internet has definately become a powerful tool through which presenting your work such as video and photography has become the most useful resource to reach an audience of potentially millions.
Its also through this that festivals such as Bestival, find the most creative and current work through which to promote bands such as The Xx. The potential to gain more freelance (or paid!) work through festivals such as a music festival like Bestival is very high as the range of bands looking for ways of promoting themselves more to an audience is mainly through advertising and using the media in particular, whether this is through the mediums of music video or photography or even a new original idea such as Farahands 3D music video experience-the possibilities are really endless with ways to promote yourself as a media practitioneer. And gaining exposure at a major arts festival just like Bestival is one of the key ways of getting your work out there for the world to see and take enjoyment from.
And going off on a differently similar tangent altogether…
Over the summer i recently undertook a photography project of taking professional (ish!) shots of a local band that i know, who are looking to gain a vast audience through which to progress further afield to gaining gigs around the local area. I spent the evening taking shots of the band in an outdoor location (which i have never done before-usually using studio shots), i then edited the pictures to give them a professional look through which to upload onto Facebook and gain feedback from both band and friends.
Even though this was only a photoshoot i am hoping to work with the band again, perhaps with creating a music video through which to advance my skills with creating a musical video piece and also enhancing the bands fanbase.
Another festival which is more towards the arts side of things was the Artsfest in Birmingham which is a weekend event which features comedians, dance, music, performing arts and also photography and short film.
To be truthful i was unaware of this festival taking place in Birmingham City Centre until a couple of days before it all started. This free event featured short films (which i particularly wanted to look at), these were screened at the Crescent Theatre where a range of different genres and styles of short film were being screened. This free event is a great way to gain exposure and with any free event there will always be a vast amount of people who like free things (like me!) and this can gain a larger audience than perhaps a paid event would get.
I went to go and watch some animation films that were being screened on the sunday of the festival. I have managed to find a couple of the short films i watched at the event on youtube. One of the animation films i most enjoyed was a piece by Ben Falk and Josiah Newbolt called ‘This Is Where We Live.’ It is a stop motion piece that was created over a span of 3 weeks.
And another piece i greatly enjoyed…
This last piece is entitled ‘She Farted & Created The World’ and was created by a graphic design teacher called Scott Coello, using bits of paper such as pieces found on the floor and such. It definately made me feel very amateur in my skills of producing video and stop motion animation.
Other films that were being screened over the weekend included documentaries such as a piece about the vast decline of red squirrels in Britain (‘Red Native’ by Lucy Naden) and a short documentary about a King Kong statue and the arrival of the Spaghetti Junction in 1972 (‘Spaghetti Kong’ by Philip Leach). The range of pieces being screened were very diverse and each piece was different to one another. And they definately weren’t the typical student short films, but were actual video productions by professional media practitioneers.
On the Saturday of the Artfest they were having an evening of thriller shorts called ‘Saturday Night Shocks.’ One of pieces that i greatly enjoyed was by a guy called Jack Tew who’s short thriller called ‘Flowers’ was a particular highlight of the evening. Check out his work at http://jacktew.bigredbongo.com. The great thing about a diverse festival such as Artsfest, is that the range of ‘art’ on offer; such as the short films and photography, realy puts the artists and creators out there in the public view and can make a lasting impression on the viewers of the work and ultimately gain a fanbase of an audience who would perhaps consider looking out for other pieces of work by the same artist.
Another form of media that the Artsfest has is photohgraphy. There were several stalls set up that had photos onsale which i had a look around at. Some of the pieces on-sale were of Birmingham City Centre itself and took me back to my HND Media days when we were given the task of taking pictures of the City Centre’s architecture. If i knew back then that there was an event where you could display your own pieces of work for free (!!) then i would of done that without a doubt!
Looking on the events website afterwards i have taken note of the contact information about exhibiting my own short film or photography at next years Artsfest (and means its free as well!) it would be a missed opportunity if i didn’t submit any work to be shown at the festival and receive public feedback on the whole and continue to improve on my visual work and the production of it.
For my next piece of research i am going back towards art and am going to look at the pieces of two well-renowned artists with which i have never ever really looked into.
Dali is a Spanish surrealist painter who is considered the most famous artist of all time even after his death in 1989. He has worked in many forms of subject matter such as with cubism, realism and surrealism, and also in different forms through photography, video and sculpture.
One of Dali’s sculpture pieces (As seen on the head of Lady Gaga…maybe)
I was first drawn to look at Salvador Dali through a long sustained intrigue to actually look at the artist with which i had never really knew much about except for his wild moustache! One of his pieces that i looked at relates to one of the themes with which we have been given-Memory. The painting below is entitled ‘The Persistance of Memory’ and is the most famous out of all his other famous masterpieces.
‘The Persistance of Memory’
There are many interpretations as to what this particular piece symbolizes and it seems everyone has a different view as to what it means. I personally don’t look ‘deep’ into meanings or a full dissection into a piece of work as i find it ruins the mystery of the piece if you give it a full dead meaning and not allowing yourself to see or feel something different each time you look at a piece. From first viewing of this piece i saw the aspect of time being irrelative to the surrounding of which it is a part of. Dali often used basic locations such as beaches and other landscapes with which he would use for the base of his eccentric pieces.
I researched into other people’s interpretations of this piece and to be honest some of the comments seem really bizarre such as Dali himself describing this particular piece as – “Perhaps the images of the melting clocks are nothing more than ideas influenced by the Camembert cheese left for too long of a period of time on the table on a warm sunny day” (quote courtesy of authenticsociety.com) Dali himself never revealed any meanings behind any of his pieces and when he did, it was often to mislead people into thinking it was what it was-which was often nothing but a trick on his part.
‘The Temptation of Saint Anthony’
I looked Salvador Dali up on youtube and managed to find this interesting documentary which is in 7 parts (with which i won’t post all 7 videos up) and looks at Dali himself and the bizarre life that he led as well as what inspired him. Most of his inspiration came from his own personal memories and reflections, such as his childhood.
The inspiration that i can definately take from looking at Dali’s pieces is to not limit myself creatively when thinking of an idea for a project. If you give yourself limits to what you can do then you can’t fully explore and experiment with the idea and make it into something brand new.
The next artist i am going to look at can be without a doubt considered to be in the totally opposite direction to that of Dali.
Hopper is an American realist painter whos pieces mostly revolve around a kind of voyeur view of people in certain places such as the picture below entitled ‘Night Hawks.’ This style of realism really gives a sense of catching subjects alone and in particular a certain environment with which we can interpret why they are there and what they are thinking by their body language alone. He was always meticulous with how he placed his human figures in ‘proper balance’ with the environment. Hopper uses the scenary of 1930’s and 40’s America as the background for the figures with which we know nothing about but can make up our own assumptions as to what they are doing within the scene.
Hopper is quoted as saying with regard to how he comes up with ideas: “It takes a long time for an idea to strike. Then I have to think about it for a long time. I don’t start painting until I have it all worked out in my mind. I’m all right when I get to the easel”. (Sheena Wagstaff, Ed., Edward Hopper, Tate Publishing, London, 2004, p. 98, ISBN 1-85437-533-4)
Most of the themes and subject matter within Hopper’s pieces are a lot less crpytic than that of Dali’s. Hopper uses human emotions such as loneliness, boredom and desire for a majority of his pieces and this is reflected upon many of his pieces.
‘Office at Night’ (1940)
Apart from his paintings with lonely figures such as the Nighthawk piece, Hopper uses couples to give the viewer a voyeuristic view into the interaction between the two figures. The piece above entitled ‘Office At Night’ is a particularly intriguing piece as we do not know whether the man and woman in the piece are an actual couple or whether this is a piece that is along the themes of desire and sexual tension between a secretary and her boss.
I looked up Edward Hopper on Youtube and mostly found tribute videos, but the video below gives a good insight into the inner workings of what Hopper produced.
For my next part of research i am going to take a step away from art (but not for long!) and take a look at some independant film pieces which i have never really been a conaseur of, but have decided to look at ‘indie’ film as a step away from the usual big budget films that i watch on a daily basis.
I am going to start off with Gus Van Sant’s ‘Elephant’. The film follows the events of Watt High School, and the students which become a part of a horrendous shooting, based upon the Columbine High School Shootings in 1999, we are taken on a social journey of sorts, with us as the viewer seeing the students on a typical school day and the events which eventually unfold into a mass shooting throughout the school. Van Sant didn’t use any actual professional actors but instead used local high school students from around Portland, Oregon.
The majority of camera shots within the film are behind the characters and almost as if we are following them in a secret manner. This gives a sense of being a voyeur of each student without being right up in front of their faces as if in an intrusive manner. These same actions are then repeated, as seen through the eyes of other students. I found this a very clever use of weaving the characters and their friendships into the scenes, to almost give a reason that we are seeing these scenes repeated from a different angle and view. I like how these simplistic shots are used throughout the film and there is no cutting between any of the characters journey from A to B within the school.
Each character has an interesting part to play within the story, more to do with their social standing within the school such as Michelle, who is a lonely nerdy girl who doesn’t want to wear shorts for PE and also works within the schools library as an escape. The characters each have their own position within the school and is a good representation of the types of students (and teenagers..) which you would find within a high school.
Gus Van Sant doesn’t use any special or complicated camera work but just leaves the camera to follow the high school inhabitants. The only use of effects is within the last part of the movie when the shooting is taking place across the school and the use of guns and blood, but that is used to great effect and isn’t overly used for gores sake. The story within the film is simple and doesn’t have anything within that is hard to follow, and i feel it makes it a great film which leaves you feeling uneasy. The influence that Van Sant’s ‘Elephant’ has had on me as a film-maker is to not overstep my creative boundary’s in a complicated way such as with storyline and how this is put together with camera work and complicated angles if its just going to detract from what it wants to show and just being fancy for fancy’s sake!
The next film i am looking at is more in the opposite direction with its fantasy and dream orientated aspects compared to that of the simplistic style of Gus Van Sant.
The next film which i am going to look at for ideas is Michael Gondry’s French film ‘The Science Of Sleep’, or ‘La Science des reves’ which translates to ‘The Science of Dreams’. The film follows a man named Stephane who confuses reality with his own dreams and imagination and often leads him to his inability to interact with other people and situations normally.
Gondry often uses stop motion animation to depict Stephane’s different and vivid dreams such as with Golden The Pony Boy which is just one in the many ways in which stop motion is used. This definately gives a sense of a ‘dream world’, in which anything and everything has a life of its own and the possibilities of randomness can happen. In comparison to Van Sants piece it can be seen as a complicated film with setting and with the general use of objects with stop motion.
Having done a stop motion piece of my own for my Lens Based Media final piece last year, i am perhaps thinking about going inbetween the same lines of that of Michael Gondry’s stop motion pieces. I really like watching the way inanimate objects can be illusioned to give the effect of being able to move. The video below is the first stop motion video i have ever done and consisted of around 825 pictures!!
Afterwards i was in no hurry to undertake creating another stop motion piece until i watched Gondry’s ‘The Science of Sleep.’ The possibilities of what you can do is really endless and it has inspired me to think of an idea using stop motion possibly for the themes which we have been given to experiment and build ideas around.
The second piece of research i have undertaken is looking at a couple of interactive exhibitions which use mixed media and are experimental from other art work. For this i went to the Tate Modern, London. I decided to look at 2 exhibitions as from looking on the Tate website, the exhibitions pieces looked like they related to the mixed media element of the research we have been set to undertake.
The first exhibition was Francis Alys’s ‘A Story of Deception’. This particular artist experiments with art in many forms through drawing, paintings, objects and video pieces. One particularly experimental piece includes a video recording of him re-enacting walking into a gun shop and then carrying a gun around the streets of Mexico City (which is a re-construction of a real event which he actually did the previous day) Alys stages then re-stages performances which give a political message about society and life in general in Mexico.
Amongst a few of his video pieces includes the quite random action of Alys pushing a big block of ice around the street which has the philosophical subtitle of ‘Sometimes doing something leads to nothing.’ Its these quite simple video pieces that made me think that not all experimental video pieces such as this have to complicated and that they can be more effective without having complicated aspects within them.
One of his more political pieces is called ‘The Green Line’ or as its official title ‘The Leak’, in which he made a hole in a can of paint and walked along the armistice border which was created in 1948 when the war between Jordan and Israel ended creating a green line which represented the seperation fence. The video piece also has the caption of “Sometimes doing something poetic can become political and sometimes doing something political can be poetic”. Through Alys’s radical movement he was putting a message across that was greeted with some negative and positive responses, and these reactions can be heard throughout the piece of Alys’s radical action.
I really like how Alys uses video to put across a message whether it’s political or about society and life in Mexico. There isn’t any complicated aspects to any of his videos and that makes them more powerful in getting the message across. I feel that the theme of power is represented throughout Alys’s pieces whether its the message he is putting across or what he is actually doing within his video pieces, such as the artist pushing a big block of ice through the streets of Mexico.
The second artist who uses mixed media in their work that i looked at for this part of my research was Alejandro Cesarco. This artist looks particularly at the construction of narrative and this can be seen within his artwork using video as his main working medium. The exhibition i went to at the Tate Modern is entitled ‘Present Memory’ and looks at his Father who is recently diagnosed with cancer at the time and a doctor. This intimate look at his Father was filmed within his Doctors practice with a 16mm camera using close up and medium shots. The footage was then projected onto the walls of his Father’s practice and then filmed again to give a ‘projection of a projection’ with which we are shown a constructed and anticipated memory of his Father.
When i went to see this exhibition i had previously read up on what it was about so i didn’t walk in there completely oblivious as to what it would be. I was expecting the ‘projection of a projection’ to be a bit bigger instead of just being projected onto a small space on one of the walls. The video is made up of a series of 3 videos which are located across 3 levels of the gallery in the same position to give a sense of deja vu to the viewer. I can’t really say that i had that sense when i went to each level to view the video piece.
(Image courtesy of Pablo Leon De La Barra on Blogspot)
The artist is said to of created this piece of work as an attempt at dealing with his Father’s absence and the fear of mourning and remembering and most importantly letting go. (www.artfacts.net)
Overall i did find Cesarco’s piece interesting in the sense that he has based a piece on the theme of memory and used his Father as it’s subject. Adding a personal touch to a theme is perhaps the route i shall consider and think about taking for the memory theme and also for the theme of power as inspiration from Francis Alys’s video pieces.
For the first piece of research i went to the Tate Modern in London to look at the Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance & the Camera exhibition.
The exhibition consists of 5 themes which include:
- The Unseen Photographer
- Celebrity & the Public Gaze
- Voyeurism & Desire
- Witnessing Violence
These are spread across 14 rooms which give a very deep voyeuristic view into the pieces of photographic work.
The Unseen Photographer
The first room of the exhibition consists of the technology which goes as far back as the early 19th century with cameras being hidden in suit jackets, heels of shoes and even walking sticks. The idea of people being viewed and photographed in a secretive manner is the first step in the voyeur phase with the subjects being caught unaware that they are being photographed.
Some of the pieces of photographic work includes Walker Evans’s pieces of passengers on the New York City underground entitles ‘Subway Passengers’, the hidden camera allowed Evans to capture the nautral actions and faces of the passengers. This is an interesting collection as it relates to the modern age with cameras being on mobile phones; which even though we know they are there we still go unaware that the person is actually taking a picture.
The most up-to-date influence of this kind of secret voyeurism is Philip-Lorca Dicorcia’s ‘Heads’ (2000), which used hidden cameras on the streets of New York that were triggered when people walked by.
Celebrity & the Public Gaze
The earliest forms of what is now known as ‘Paparazzi’ started off as early as the start of the 1990’s. The advancement of camera technology meant that figures within the public eye could be captured at their most intimate moments with faster shutter speeds and the size of the camera. The issue of privacy is still a very relevant subject in the world of today.
One of the key figures in capturing the rich and famous at their most vunerable was Italian photographer Giuseppe Primoli who was one of the most controversial papparazzi photographers of the early 1880s.
For modern day standards, photos including Nick Ut’s Paris Hilton ‘crying’ picture; from when she was being sent into prison, is one of the most volatile looks at how privacy can be captured at its worst.
Alison Jackson is a contemporary photographer who stages her photos with the use of celebrity look-a-likes who are posed into a comic fashion at an intimate moment with which we would not see them in.
Voyeurism & Desire
Not all voyeurism is without the subjects permission. This particular theme within the exhibition looks at the open-ness of subjects in very erotic and questionabally private moments with which we are put into a position of whether we should be looking at these images.
Helmut Newton’s ‘Self Portrait with Wife June and models’ is a collection of photographs in which we can see Newton taking the picture of a nude model, but with the added position of his wife June watching, as if in a joint voyeuristically erotic manner.
Perhaps one of the most shocking (in my mind) collection of photos within this theme of the exhibition is Kohei Yoshiyuki’s series of photographs entitled ‘The Park’. The only way to view these images is with a light shining onto the photograph, which gives a sense of voyeuring on the subjects in a very peeping manner. This very weird and unusual Japanses underground park-life phenomenon was the catalyst of Yoshiyuki’s series which put him in a position with which he had to become a voyeur himself.
Out of the themes of photographs, i found this one in particular very interesting. The idea of capturing a moment or series of moments leading to a dramatic conclusion intrigued me as to how the photographers such as Weegee managed to capture a moment with which should make us feel uneasy but instead adds a voyeuristic element to something that shouldn’t be.
Larry Clark’s photographs of drug-takers also had me intrigued as to how he got himself into a position to capture something as intimate and self-harming with which the subject is doing to themselves.
Seen more as being a form of public safety; with the knowledge of being under a watchful eye with which we can be assured of our well being, CCTV has become a subject all to its own with photographers such as Andreas Magdanz using surveillance as its subject with which we would normally never really take much notice of. This form of turning the camera back onto itself gives an interesting insight into the different environments with which CCTV is placed within to be a watchful eye over every action or movement.
Other photographers and artists who have used the power of the surveillance camera and its powerful stance within society include Bruce Nauman who recorded his own personal studio space with which documented some of his other works in progress and was later made into a 7 screen video installation which was described as to “..puts the viewer into the position of a spy or voyeur invading his private working space.” This style of personal surveillance definately puts it into perspective as to how within our own personal environment, we can also be a voyeur of it if we wanted to without the need of cameras but with our own eyes.
Overall, this exhibition has given me some influence as to the different styles with which can be incorporated into creating a piece of visual work. This exhibition featured video (such as Bruce Nauman’s ‘Mapping the Studio’) and photography, which are both mediums with which i have worked with before and would definatley consider using for a production piece. I feel that this exhibition has many different elements that relate to the theme of voyeurism with the many styles and presentation of the pieces and i should take this and incorporate into my ideas and develop on these.