After brainstorming many ideas I decided the theme for my final idea should be about the body. I wanted to show the body closely without making it sexual like how it is made in the media. I wanted to make the viewer uncomfortable when watching. I watched existing experimental videos, which gave me ideas on what to incorporate into my own piece. Two pieces that I found the most helpful for my final outcome are ‘Not I’ by Samuel Beckett and ‘2 Into 1’ by Gillian Wearing. I have covered these before in a reflective blog post but the main factors I incorporated into my own work is the uncomfortable effect ‘Not I’ has on the audience by showing the mouth very closely doing various things. This is uncomfortable because you don’t normally look at a person’s mouth that closely. I also wanted to show this because the mouth can be a part of the body that can be very sexualised but I have changed this by showing the mouth in other ways such as eating and laughing. This can seem very uncomfortable especially with the audio I have put over the top of these visuals.
The audio I have used is very different compared to the visuals in my piece. I added sounds you wouldn’t normally associate with the body. The sounds I added were very mechanical with sounds such as traffic and machinery. This use of opposite sound was inspired by Gillian Wearing’s ‘2 Into 1’ where she swaps a mother and sons voices around.
Overall I am happy with my final piece and feel it does bring the effect of being uncomfortable to the viewer and definitely is not sexualised which I was quite worried about it being.
I made a mindmap to help me think of ideas for my end experimental narrative video and came up with the ideas above. I feel like some of these themes would be quite interesting to explore and could be quite effective if I incorporated some of the factors I like from existing experimental work.
In a lecture we looked at and talked about ‘Not I’ by Samuel Beckett. This is a single lit blacked out video that just shows a mouth. This mouth is talking out an monologue. I found the video quite uncomfortable to watch because you don’t normally look so closely at the movement of somebody’s mouth and it begins to look quite intimidating. Now I know the theme of my video is going to be based on the body I would quite like to include the mouth after seeing this piece.
Normally when watching a film the only time you see a close up of a mouth or lips is when people are kissing and this is very much different to that. The dramatic one lighting and black out makes it all the more uncomfortable.
Seeing this has made me feel more inspired for my own final experimental piece.
I am a big fan of the artist Tracy Emin and her work but through looking at her work I also found the work of Gillian Wearing, who I found particularly interesting. Wearing is a photographer and video artist that produces very interesting and thought provoking work. One of her videos from 1977 called 2 into 1. This video is made up of a lip sync of a mother and her two sons.The two sons voices are given to the mother and vice versa.
The start of the video shows the mother sat in a casual manner and all you hear is her son’s voice come out of her mouth. It is very surprising at first to hear her saying she is ‘sophisticated’ in a young boy’s voice. The video then goes on to show her sons talking in the mother’s voice. The mother’s voice coming from the son talks about how she loves her sons but they can be cruel to her. The piece does make you feel uncomfortable because it seems weird that they are talking in this way and what they are actually saying.
I think looking at existing work from various artists the pieces and themes I like the most are ones containing shocking or uncomfortable themes or ones filmed or edited in a way that hasn’t really been seen before. I think I will consider the use of audio in this piece for my own work.
Something that I have seen which is very much like 2 into 1 is the Haribo advert where adults are talking about the sweets in children’s voices. I do think this technique is very interesting.
I created this piece that all revolves around the theme of travel and arrival. I went to Coventry train station to record the visuals and sound.
Another type of experimental narrative is interactive documentaries. These interactive documentaries give the viewer a choice of what they want to watch within the documentary, which therefore makes the viewer more passive. One of these documentaries is ‘Bear 71’.
Bear 71 is a 20 minute documentary that was funded by the Canadian National Trust and was made to make people aware of the way wild bears are being treated making people stand up to it. Bear 71 starts off with a clip off a bear being killed. This is a very uncomfortable and upsetting but grabs the viewer’s attention. After this clip comes a map, which allows the viewer to look around and select the video clips they want to watch all revolving around one bear, Bear 71.
This interactive documentary allows the viewer to connect their webcam to the map, making them feel more involved into it and making the whole experience a lot more personal rather than just sitting and watching a documentary.
I really enjoyed participating in this documentary and found it very effective. I would be interested in producing my own interactive documentary but having used Mozilla popcorn maker to produce an interactive video before I found it to be very unreliable and don’t think that software would ever produce something as good as Bear 71.
I have looked into and really like many pieces of work produced by the Avant-garde filmmaker John Smith. Running themes throughout his work from what I have seen is reality and the past and present specifically the reality of the camera being there in his work (such as Girl Chewing Gum and The Kiss) or use of the same location but at different times (such as Man Phoning Mum and Horizon). These themes really interest me because they could both be seen as conflicting due to the ‘reality’ of past and present he presents to the viewer in a way that makes them very aware there is a camera there which changes the reality into a representation of reality.
I think Smith’s work can be seen as very important because it opens up the fourth wall in film. It makes the viewers aware that there is a camera filming and ‘Girl Chewing Gum’ is a massive example of this. John Smith uses running commentary in a street telling people what to do throughout the scene. This makes the viewer question reality because without the commentary we would probably see it as just an average day that has been filmed. It is so simple yet so clever.
Another factor of his work that I think could be quite important is the affect in his videos. Watching ‘The Kiss’ made me feel very calm from the slow movements of what seemed like the lily growing and moving. The soundtrack emphasized this on screen with what sounded like breathing, personifying the growth of the lily. At the end of the video there is a crack on top of the flower. From the calming feeling of the lily ‘growing’ comes the disappointment of what the viewer thought of being reality wasn’t actually true. This crack represents the camera lens breaking bringing back to what was previously said, making the viewer aware of the camera.
I think I could take these ideas into my own work by showing that reality is just a concept. I want to reveal the representation of reality that is presented on screen and show that everything on screen is not real. Although this might become disappointing to the viewer it really does open the fourth wall up. I also want to look further into affect when it comes to my own work because if a viewer can feel it as well as see it then it becomes more effective.