Workshop sessions 4 & 5 – Filming and editing

We used our afternoon workshop sessions, and some out of class time to produce our short film for the installations. We shot the movie at a group member’s flat. This was mainly because the activity we had chosen to film was waking up in the morning and we needed somewhere with a bed. We could have made a prop bed in the galvanising shop, but felt it would be better to use a real bedroom as the backdrop and the lighting would look more realistic. The overall filming went well, and we were careful to shoot more than one take so that we could pick out our best shots later for editing. Generally, I was really happy with the group’s filming work, and felt that the only improvement that could have been made was to conisder a different level of lighting to brighten the shots a little.

We then had a short tutorial using imovie to learn how to edit our film. I found this process to be fairly slow, particularly as my personal preference is to edit using Windows Movie Maker. I also found the software very simple to use already, so I found it slightly tedious to be learning about it again, but I did appreciate that it is always useful to refresh your memory, and I also understood that other members of the class may need a more thorough introduction. I found communication within the group somewhat strained during this session. I felt that we each had different ideas about how to edit our movie and none of us were communicating them particularly well. However, I think this issue improved towards the end of the session, and once we had reached an agreement the editing process was much smoother and actually went by fairly quickly. I was pleased with the final edit. One or two of our cuts were slightly abrupt, but as a group we had needed to compromise, and overall I thnk we achieved an outcome that we were all pleased with.

imovie screenshot

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Dada, Surrealism and Bauhaus

Dada

  • Dada was an artistic movement that protested against  World War I
  • This was an international movement which included many artists whose beliefs were similar to those of Marxists, theorising that the upper classes used ideological tools (such as the war) to control and oppress the rest of society.
  • Practitioners of Dada claim their work to be anti- art, rather than art. “For everything that art stood for, Dada was to represent the opposite”
  • “Dada is what you can make out of yourself” Hausmann, 1968
  • Dada used a range of mediums including collage, sculpture and publications, to convey their message.

My view: Dada is by definition a very political movement. I think I find this political aspect of the movement harder to understand, partly because I myself am not very politically minded, but also because the politics involved are from and different time and place, and so do not feel relevant to me, in the way they would have been to the original artists.  The work of the artists is very different to my personal perception of what art is and what it can be, however, while this means that I find the work challenging to understand, it does reinforce the idea that rather than art, Dada is trying to be “anti-art”. While I may not fully understand the work itself, I do appreciate the anti-war message the movement is trying to portray.

 

Surrealism

 

•          Surrealism is a cultural movement. It started in the 1920s, and is considered a very visual movement that inspired a lot of artworks.

•          Surrealist artists like to use the unexpected and subtle contradictions in their work.

•           André Breton led the movement and wanted surrealism to be revolutionary.

•           Surrealism was centered mostly in and around Paris. The movement developed as an extension to or continuance of  Dada

•          An example of a surrealist work is a short film called “Un chien Andalou” which was produced by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí. The film is silent and portrays a number of disjointed scenes which use characters which are the same or similar, but jumps around to different time scales in an almost dream-like fashion.

My view: As an expansion on Dada, I find surrealism much more engaging than the Dada movement itself. It carries a very similar message but I find the art produced much more stimulating. I find many of the paintings and works by Salvador Dalí and Max Ernst particularly interesting, with their quirky and almost cartoon-like style, and odd and eccentric subject matters. I feel that with most of these works there is an apparent social commentary which is evident from looking at the pieces. When it comes to the video work of “un chien Andalou” my views differ. I found this work to be difficult to watch, and gruesome in places. The dream-like and free-flowing format of the work is certainly different to earlier work, and the visual effects are impressive for their time, and this I can appreciate. However from a personal viewpoint, I did not like this work.

 

Bauhaus

  • Bauhaus, was a german art school created by Walter Gropius .
  • The school aimed to bring all types of art together and unite different mediums and artists to enhance the future of art.
  • The school inspired its own style and was very influential, particularly to the modernist movement.
  • Oskar Schlemmer (1888 – 1943) Was a German artist who was hired as the master of form at the Bauhaus school in 1932.
  • Schlemmer created “Triadisches Ballett” in which performers are presented as geometric shapes using costumes. These costumes incorporate them into the backdrops, and almost make them into living sculptures as they dance.

My view: I find the idea of the Bauhaus school to be very interesting. I like the way that it aimed to create a fusion of different styles and forms. Having watched Schlemmer’s triadic ballet, I feel that it is intruiging in some ways. I liked the connection between the geometric costumes and the simple backgrounds. I also found it interesting that in some cases it is difficult to determine the gender of the performer or character, and so they become more robotic or like a object in the mind of the viewer. I also think the costumes and colour palette give the piece a distinctive look that to me feels ‘retro’. I am not particularly interested in the music or dance itself, but I do find myself interested in the thought process behind this piece.

A still image of the geometric dancers from Schlemmer's "triadic ballet"

A modern approach: Dancers from a music video by Kylie Minogue, which we discussed in class as having similarity to Bauhaus works.

 

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Worshop Session 3

During this session we attended a lighting workshop, in which we learnt how to light a person or object in front of a projected image, without the light washing out the projection. This could be applied to our installation pieces and will undoubtedly be useful in the future.

We then discussed checked over the new storyboard we had created and finalised the shots we wanted before discussing the location of the filming and whereabouts on the dockyard we wanted to show our video installations and how we should present them. This was helpful, as everyone in the group had ideas to put forward, and we were able to combine and develop these ideas. Our final desicion to project the film onto the ceiling and have viewers watch from below slightly altered the way in which we decided to film the piece, mostly in terms of angle and perspective.

Once again I found this to be a helpful session. While most of the points in the lighting tutorial had been covered in previous modules, I found the review refreshing and afterwards I felt more confident with the theory and use of the equipment. The subsequent group discussions were productive and the group worked well together. At this point in the project I felt comfortable with the work and very able to visualise the way we wanted our finished installation to look, so this was a positive step for me.

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Works of Bruce Nauman

Working with neon: A Neon piece by Nauman, which shows him experimenting with modern materials and art froms, despite their limitations

A photographic piece from Nauman's series 'making faces'. The images are printed with special day-glo inks to give them a holographic appearance. Nauman puts a modern twist on a common medium.

Clown torture: A video installation piece. Nauman created video installations that were humourous, but at the same time uncomfortable to watch. This created an emotional reaction from viewers.

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Bruce Nauman

  • Bruce Nauman is a contemporary American artist. He uses sculpture, photography, neon, video, drawing, printmaking and performance.
  • Works included filming his room at night, sexually explicit neon signs and a floating empty room.
  • He aims to explores what art can be, and constantly questions this.
  • He believes that as long as he is an artist in his studio, whatever he is doing is the art
  • He conceptually challenges everyday, by using mundane activities but making them noticable
  • He began to introduce more interactive work in the form of corridors, viewers could be filmed as they walked along the corridors just as he had done, thus repeating his original performance and playing it back to them.
  • Later in his career his work took a much darker tone. He produced a video showing domestic violence, and a macabre carousel of taxidermist models
  • Nauman wanted his work to be “the same as getting hit in the face with a baseball bat, or better still, hit in the back of the neck” As such he created some pieces that were Intrusive and disturbing to the viewers. (videos of a loud singer, shouting, clown etc.)

 

I think Nauman is innovative in his approach to art. His pieces reflect a deep internal consideration of the forms that art can take, and over the course of his artistic career he experimented with many forms of art. His attitude appears to consider that as an artist, whatever he creates is his art, be it a  complex sculpture, or a simple repetition of a mundane action. I also think that Nauman has evolved his work to keep up with the uses of technology and media. I like that he has explored a number of media uses in his pieces, such as sound, video and neon signage. I believe this use of media forms gives Nauman’s work a modern edge, and helps him to achieve the impact he wants to create. His work can be very dark, and is ultimately designed to have a marked instinctual effect on the viewer. I feel that Nauman is very successful in his aim to create work that has a huge impact upon those who experience it. Overall, I think Nauman uses his work to pose and resolve a number of important artistic questions. This gives the pieces a sense of purpose, which I feel makes them more interesting to me.

I chose this image to represent Nauman's work for a number of reasons. Firstly, it speaks to me of experimentation, which I feel is important to his work. I also think it represents the many forms his work can take, and the achievement of his creative visions. Finally, I feel that this image could allude to genetic experimentation and playing God, which I feel shares a connection with the dark and disturbing nature of a number of Nauman's pieces.

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Reading – Phillippe Auslander:Presence and theatricality in the discourse of performance and the visual arts

This weeks reading was by Phillippe Auslander taken from From Acting to Performance: Essays in Modernism and Postmodernism

Key points of the piece:

  • There are levels of ‘liveness’ – “the presence of an intital audience has no real importance to the performance as an entity”
  • Whether or not a photograph or other piece of media was true or performed, and whether there was an audience to the ‘live’ event, does not mean that the documentation itself cannot be a performance.
  • Documentation of performances can fall into two categories: documentary and theatrical
  • Documentary is the more typical category, in which images and media serve as a representation of  an original performance
  • A documentary photograph is access to the reality of the live performance
  • Chris Burden’s ‘Shoot’ is a documentary piece
  • Theatrical work encompasses ‘performed photgraphy’. Rather than documenting a performance, the photograph is the performance itsself.
  • In thearical work the media is staged, and the actions depicted would have no meaning without the media itself
  • Klein’s ‘Leap Into The Void’ is a thatrical work.
  • It is possible to breach both of these categories, as shown by Vito Acconci’s ‘Photo Piece’ in which he walks down a street trying not to blink and takes a photograph of the street inf front of him everytime he does.
  • This piece blurs the disticntion between the categories, as the photograph’s are by Acconci performing, not of Acconci performing. They were produced by the performance and not for it. Therefore the photographs are both a depiction of the performance and an integral part of it.

Key words:

  • Ostensible – Prentence: Something which may appear to be true, but isn’t necassarily fact.
  • Semiotic- the study of signs or symbols

    Chris Burden's 'Shoot'. Auslander would classify this as a documentary work, as it is evidence of the existance of a performance

    'Leap into the Void' by Yves Klein. According to Auslander's theory, this is a theatrical piece, as the performance is the image itself, not the action it contains. This supports the idea of different levels of 'liveness'

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Workshop Session 2

Workshop session 2 review:

In this week’s workshop session we had time for questions and answers regarding our blogs, before moving on to review the scores we had completed as an out of class excercise.

We then reviewed methods for filming and camera work, before breaking our scores into camera shots and drawing them as a storyboard, allowing us to visualise the scores as a short film.

Finally we formed groups that we would work in to create short video installations to be shown in class. each group was given a quick briefing on the recording equipment available and how to use it.

I then discussed with the members of my group which of our scores to use to make our film, and we arranged to make a larger A3 version of the storyboard to detail the shots we would use.

I felt we made stronger progress towards a fixed goal during this session, so from this aspect I found our second session more pleasing as it satisfied my urge to move forward to a definite project. I also felt optimistic about making a film installation and thought the group had good rapport and were able to discuss our ideas well. Overall I felt enthusiastic about the work achieved.

My storyboard, part 1

My storyboard, part 2

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Score of an everyday activity

One of our tasks this week was to create a score of an everday activity. To do this I decided to choose an activity that is integral to my daily routine. I chose an action I do every day, because I felt this would be more appropriate in tracing my actions over the course of a given time. The activity I chose was feeding my horses, because, while I recognise that this may be hard for others to identify with as an everyday activity, it is something I do two to three times daily, and my routine is always exactly the same. My score is as follows:

To feed horses:

1.       Put on wellies and coat

2.       Take pre-soaked feed outside to shed and place it on the floor

3.        fetch two buckets from the gate and bring them back into the shed

4.       Place a scoop of hi-fi into each bucket

5.       Tip soaked feed into buckets and add joint supplement

6.       Carry buckets outside and place them over the fence for the horses.

7.       Go into stable and open a bale of hay. Separate a section and place it into wheelbarrow

8.       Push wheelbarrow into field and place hay into piles

9.       Leave field and replace wheelbarrow in stable

10.   Go back into house, remove coat and wellies at door.

An image that represents my score

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Futurism, Constructivism and Early Media

Futurism

  • Futurism was an artistic movement that began in the 20th century
  • The movement originated in Italy and influenced other countries
  • Its  influence encompassed every art medium, from traditional art to film fashion, music and ood
  • The founder of Futurism was Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, who published the Futurist Manifesto in 1909
  • The manifesto stated that beauty lies in struggle, and glorified war and speed. It celebrated social movement and modern machinery.
  • At times the manifesto was violent, advocating the destruction of symbolic museums and libraries, and expressing a desire to ‘fight morality’
  • Futurist artists included: Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini and the composer Luigi Russolo.

 

My veiw – I think that the Futurist movement was a bold move. The key concepts behind the movement interest me. I like that the futurists strove for a newer, more modern way of life. I also think that the broad application of the movement through a wide range of mediums is a testament to the popularity of the Futurist ideals. However I think some of the points made in the Futurist manifesto show a violent, anarchistic nature that opposes the natural leadership of society. I find the more extreme Futurist views far less admirable. Marinetti’s clear hatred of anything old also shows a lack of pride in traditions and the origin of his country and society. I think that while I admire the forward-striving nature of Futurism, I aslo believe in celebration of the past. Despite this, I find the artwork created from the movement to be interesting and innovative.

 

Constructivism

  • Constructivism, was a very similar movement, very much inspired by the Futurists. It began in Russia in 1919
  • Constructivist artists included Ella Bergmann-Michel, Max Bill, Ilya Bolotowsky, Norman Carlberg, Carlos Catasse , Srečko Kosovel and Theo Constanté
  • A famous Constructivist piece is ‘Light Display: Black-White-Grey’, which was created in 1930 by László Moholy-Nagy. The original conception was designed to be filmed in 6 parts, although only one was completed. It is an abstract piece which plays with light and dark.

My view – While Constructivism is a parallel movement to Futurism, I find it has less substance. Comparitively, there is a lack of a distinct leder or pioneer, a figure whose influence is similar to that of Marinetti during the Futurist movement. I find the work born of the constructivist movement to be harder to understand and to have less of a distinctive style. Because of this, while I have no active disliking for Constructivism, I do not particularly like it either, rather finding myself indifferent. My views here are less clean cut than my insticive response to the Futurist movement.

Early media

  • Eadweard Muybridge – an English photographer who used multiple cameras to undertake studies of motion.Famous for sets of photographs including the movement of a horse and a gymnast. His sequences of images could be strung together and viewed as stop motion photography, and became an early form of cinematography.
  • Georges Méliès – A French filmaker born in 1861. Due to lack of money to buy invest in expensive techniques and  film, Méliès re-used, cut up and hand-coloured his film. This lead to his accidentally discovering the stop motion trick, and his experimentation made him very influential in the use of special effects during film-making. He is particularly famous for his 1902 film ‘Le Voyage dans la Lune’, a black and white movie inspire by the work of Jules Verne, which uses a number of imaginitive effects.

My view – I am particularly interested in the work of Muybridge. I enjoy looking at his photographic sequences and feel his work was as important scientifically as it is artistically. I also think he has been influential in later work. While I feel less fondness for the work of Méliès, I have no doubt that he was a pioneer of filmaking and has become iconic and hugely influential. He shows great initiative and inventiveness, and this something I find very admirable.

'Abstract speed and sound' (1913). A futurist painting by Giacomo Balla. The painting depicts speed and movement, typical of the Futurist movement.

‘Unique Forms of Continuity in Space', bronze sculpture by Umberto Boccioni, 1913. The figure is clearly moveing forward, striving towards the future, while the heavy, metal appearance represents machinery and modern development.

László Moholy-Nagy's 'Lichtspiel, schwarz-weiß-grau', a Constructivist piece which experiments with light and shadows

Does a horse lift all four feet off of the ground at the same time? Eadweard Muybridge's 'horse in motion' set out to answer this question. The resulting work was not only scientifically valuable, but also served as a form of early media.

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    Works of Sophie Calle

    Calle - Following

    An image taken by Sophie Calle when following and photgraphing a stranger, tracing his actions from the perspective of an outsider.

    Another image by Calle taken without the subect's knowledge, this time through a hidden camera in a cash machine

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