exploring art and writing


In Fine Arts, New Media on February 20, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Film still from 'Emily'

Emily is a film that stems from an accident. It is a product of boredom much like Nintendo Night, another video I made that apparently raised the standard despite being far from perfect. It was a ‘success’, I think, because of Emily’s talent and the sounds that she is able to create with her saxophone. As a piece of art I am less sure; it is segmented and although I can think of basic reasons for fragmenting my film into sections they seem too literal and clumsy. It was during the editing of this video when I also began to detach myself further from the process; I am a firm believer in gut instincts and I Do before I Think (generally only regarding my artwork), but by the time the film was complete and being played to an audience I felt like I was watching someone else’s film. I couldn’t grasp any concept of quality, of merit or mistake. It was like watching blank pixels. I need to start thinking about why I am pursuing this idea of the picnoleptic – in this case, musicians – as well as why my brain can’t keep up with my hand on the mouse.

I can’t really think of much more to say about the video. It should, if all goes to plan, form the first part of a trilogy. The search for a vocalist is still on and the rest will follow after that. At the moment I’m (trying) to fill my time with a side project that is the result of yet another bored night in.

I recently volunteered at a local gallery in the city centre. My job was to help transform an archaic spiral staircase from black to multi-coloured rainbow, with a different colour for each step. It was messy and at times trying on the thighs but the result was pretty captivating; I was disappointed when they told me it was returned to its original colour a couple of weeks later. The reason I’m recounting this is because of a conversation I had with the artist about this ‘gut instinct’ thing. I had around that time got into a habit of filming television and feature films on my phone. The low-fi quality was important, as was the glaring brightness and contrast. Basically, the crappiness was important. I felt as if it was the reason behind me even bothering; this may have been due to myself being unfortunately mid-dissertation at the time, meaning my mind was whirring with Baudrillard and simulations and simulacra and so on. The word ‘reproduction’ kept popping into my head. The artist I was volunteering with told me to trust that. I didn’t.

Certain recurring thoughts have been similarly obtrusive in the last few weeks, this time regarding the focus of the camera lens. I keep imagining films I’ve recently seen with some sort of blurry filter in front of them and thinking about how this would impede the feel and context of the film. Don’t ask me why just yet; it might have something to do – yet again – with my dissertation and my growing despair towards the media. Perhaps I want to show something that has literal ambiguity; something that can’t imprint defined images in your mind because of its lack of visual clarity.

There will be clarity of course, just of a very different kind to the sort in my usual videos. I suppose the it will be more abstract. Below is one definition of ‘abstract’ off dictionary.com; I thought I better look it up, as it’s not a concept I’m personally familiar with.


Fine Arts.

of or pertaining to the formal aspect of art, emphasizing lines, colors, generalized or geometrical forms, etc., esp. with reference to their relationship to one another.

Perhaps the train of thought I’m having is something to do with this; I’ll have to wait and see.

The real reason I think I’m embarking on this side-project is actually overtly personal. Unusual for me, I know, but at the moment I’m not even planning to show these films so I feel more at ease to experiment. Alongside my wish to create moving images that do not resemble TV or film (mass media in general) I want to make something that in fact does the opposite of these. Basically I’m talking about meditation, or ‘deep relaxation’ as the world of psychology appears to deem a more appropriate title. I want to make something that calms the viewer.

This is where the self-indulgence comes in. I’m making this film for myself. However, if I manage to make a video that does aid relaxation then I don’t see why I couldn’t share it with the world; then at least I could justify a probably-inappropriate tangent in the final year of my degree.

Last night I filmed my housemate Gemma finishing her dissertation whilst she was listening to Vaughn Williams’ Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis. I deliberately kept the lens out of focus throughout and this morning I’ve been playing around with possibilities. So far I’ve got the music, which I of course won’t edit. Then I’ve got these blurry, abstract moving images; it’s quite difficult to know what to do with them. However, from the first few minutes worth of edited footage there’s a couple of things that I’d like to take further. Mostly these parts are very slow and are the most abstract elements; the idea of a video consisting of footage that can apparently create a different content (and context) altogether greatly appeals to me. I’m also massively keen on unashamedly emphasizing the importance of music in diverting the mind away from stresses in our every-day reality, a factor that is pretty ironic considering music (especially of this sort) can result in the ultimate picnoleptic (albeit one with a stress-free heart rate). But hey-ho, this is just an experiment.

The video I’ve talked about above is concerning Gemma. The next one will concern me, meaning I will choose the music; there is an undisputed sonic choice that has been on my mind for months now, but I’ll wait until I’ve finished Gemma’s to decide the direction that feels right.

I’m aware that I called this blog ‘Emily’ and that it hasn’t really been about that video. One piece always leads to another though, and Emily has led to this one. Perhaps when it is finished I’ll be able to perceive more of a connection between the two; for now I don’t think it matters.


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