Major Presentation Briefing

Major Work Presentation:
I will be looking at Home Movie (2016) by Apichatpong ‘Joe’ Weerasethakul.

A Single Channel Video Installation by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Projected on transparent glass with Holo Film
Length: 8:43 minutes (looped)
Medium: Digital (HD), Colour
Aspect Ratio: 9:8
Sound: Dolby 5.1
Year: 2016
Co-Produced by The Biennale of Sydney 2016

Under ‘The Embassy of Disappearance’, The Biennale of Sydney 2016, 18 March – 5 June, 2016, Australia.

ApitchapongWeerasathakul_HomeMovie_20thSydneyBiennale
Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Home Movie, 2016, digital video, 7 mins. Courtesy the artist and Kick the Machine Films, Bangkok. Installation view of the 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016) at Carriageworks. Photograph: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

The work is of a large fire globe that burns with oscillating fans, the fans end up burning along with the fire.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2016) Home Movie by Mary MacGregor – Reid

Concept:
What is it that you are trying to achieve?
One of the most interesting things I’ve found when we’ve been looking at these works throughout the semester is the engaging nature of the works.  This was particularly apparent when we had Louise Curham and Lucas Ihlein as guest lectures when they performed Wo(man) with Mirror.  When it came to choosing an artist to look at for this major project, I thought about the other engaging works I had seen.  When we went to the Sydney Biennale I found Apichatpong ‘Joe’ Weerasethakul’s work to be incredibly involving. I stood there for quite a while trying to work out what it was and how it worked, as well as that, the execution of the work and its display were really engaging.  With my work, I would like to try to recreate a similar atmospheric experience that I felt from his work Home Movie (2016).

What is your central idea?
At the moment, my idea is more about the presentation and feeling associated with the work. I’d like to reflect on the same important ideas that ‘Joe’ holds dear to his work, whilst also containing the involving nature of his work. I have been developing an idea on the concept of ‘home’ as my central theme, I’m thinking about trying to replicate the constellations that I can see at home.  I’m not clearly sure how I will exhibit this, I’m hoping the idea will flourish as I research further.

Context:
Reference artist/artwork, historical background, relevance to own interest
The artist that I’m focusing on is Apichatpong ‘Joe’ Weerasethakul, who, according to Kick The Machine, was born in Bangkok and grew up in Khon Kaen in north-eastern Thailand (2016).  He has won several awards throughout his career, his works are “l­yrical and often fascinatingly mysterious, his film works are non-linear, dealing with memory and in subtle ways invoking personal politics and social issues. Working independently of the Thai commercial film industry, he devotes himself to promoting experimental and independent filmmaking through his company Kick the Machine Films, founded in 1999, which also produces all his films.” (Kick The Machine 2016).  I find it very interesting in his piece Home Movie (2016) how he can use his film as an installation, he created an atmosphere that was almost as realistic as you can get to the real thing.  This is something I find fascinating as I usually work all in digital video and don’t usually think about my work as more than just a single screen to be watched on a computer/theatre/television etc and this is why I would like to focus on this work.

In what ways are you responding to the work/the practice of the artist/filmmaker?
Apichatpong ‘Joe’ Weerasethakul’s works contain messages about Thailand, dreams, sexuality and nature, so it is evidently important to think about these ideas when looking at Home Movie (2016).  On Kick The Machine there is a description of the work by ‘Joe’, “An exhibition space hosts a cave-like ritual where people gather to simply take in the light. It is the most primitive form of cinema back when stories were imagined from a blaze. The work is a reflection of my ’Home’ in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, Thailand. The place is surrounded by insects, heat and smoke during March. It is also right by the army camp. Since the coup d’état in May 2014, the military junta has silenced critics by force and intimidation. The streets are cleared of demonstrators.  In this home-cave, the heat is both comfortable and threatening. A fireball is an organic-like machine with phantom fans to blow away the heat and, at the same time, rouse the fire, which is impossible to put out even in dreams.” (2016).  I found the engaging nature of this work particularly intriguing and I think that’s why I took to it so much when wanting to create my major.  I would like to be able to create such an atmosphere in my piece, with the idea of ‘home’ at the centre.

Is there relevance to your own practice/ discipline/ interest?
I study Digital Media – which is anchored to film, television and animation which is usually displayed on a single screen.  I believe there is, yes.  However, I think that it stems off from my practice and further into the arts.  I think this is why I find his work so interesting, as he has taken a video and displayed it in such a way that it has created an interactive environment, something that usually can’t be done in single screen works.

Rationale: Why?
What are the main reasons you want to pursue this idea?
As I was saying previously about the interactive nature of this work, I think that was the main factor that drew me to wanting to recreate it.  Screen-based film that I usually work with can have limitations that I have never really noticed before.  When creating a film, the response you hope to achieve from the audience has to be formed in the content of the video, whereas with installations, you can combine both the content of the video and its presentation.  I thought this work was really interesting when I saw it and that obviously contributed to my decision to choose it, but the inviting nature to understand this piece is something I would really like to try to recreate. 

What do you hope to achieve in this work?
The main concept I would like to recreate is the atmospheric nature of the work, with the central theme of ‘home’.  Obviously, this is going to be based around what my idea of home is, but so was ‘Joe’s’ and I still found it incredibly engaging.  I was recently at home with a friend of mine from Sydney who, when seeing the sky, said “Wow! You can see so many stars here!”.  It occurred to me that it was something that I suppose I take for granted, so even though the constellations will be familiar to me, I’m hoping that the awe-like reaction of my friend could be encompassed in my work – just like how I reacted to Home Movie (2016).

What format will the work take? single screen screening (from beginning to end), projection, installation, performance.
I’m still developing how exactly I will present the piece.  However, I would like for it to be projected.  I have had ideas of:
– Projecting it at the floor from the ceiling
– Projecting it at a wall, with a pinned diagram of the stars on the wall/canvas.

Why is this form of ’delivery’ chosen for executing your ideas?
I think it is important that the piece be projected in some way because otherwise I don’t think the same atmospheric environment that Home Movie (2016) had can be achieved.  It’s important that the audience can stand around it/stand in it/view it from different angles/interact with it.

Some more thoughts on articulating your concept & approach:
Think about the lectures and some of the conceptual approaches described there.
What message/feeling/impact are you trying to convey?
I usually will briefly look at a work and move on, however I spent quite a lot of time look at Home Movie (2016).  I think this was due to how it was presented; I wanted to see what happened, but also to try and work out what was going on.  When I first looked at the work I didn’t understand what was happening, so I read the artist statement.  I then went back and watched it with a larger understanding of the context.  I thought it was a really interesting way to explore this concept of home.  I would like for my audience to find the work engaging and that it sparks enough interest for them to want to know the story behind it.

What is your vision/philosophy?
I would really like for the piece to encapsulate my ideas of home and the atmospheric environment.  I’m picturing a darkened room with a bluey/black colouring and some kind of light such as fairy lights in person (hung on the wall) or light in the video.

How do your techniques and stylistic choices relate to your vision/philosophy?
I’m hoping that the presentation and content will reflect Joe’s work.  Hopefully the darkened colouring will create the same immersive effect that Home Movie (2016) did.

References:

Apichatpong Weerasethakul 2016, Home Movie, Image, Biennale of Sydney, viewed 9th May 2016, https://www.biennaleofsydney.com.au/20bos/artists/apichatpong-weerasethakul/

Kick The Machine 2016, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, viewed 4th May 2016, http://www.kickthemachine.com/page7/page2/index.html

Kick The Machine 2016, Home Movie, viewed 4th May 2016, http://www.kickthemachine.com/page7/page2/index.html

MacGregor – Reid, 2016, Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2016) Home Movie, online video, April, Vimeo, viewed 10th May 2016, https://vimeo.com/160484000

 

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Assessment 1: Cameraless Film Project

Rhythm of Life

Life is full of routine, the unwearied sun that rises each morning, the moon that takes over at night, the planets constantly in their orbit’s and the coming and going of the seasons all express their own rhythm; their patterns are a constant motion.  Rhythm is not just expressed by music, where a series of tones and beats create a pattern.  The realisation that rhythm can be much more than sound is unlocked through breaking down the definition.  Rhythm is a repeated pattern.  I wanted to show how rhythm can be expressed through the patterns of nature in the world around us.  Natural growth is the central theme I have used to show this, intertwined with the natural paths of life.  In personifying the flower, it is portrayed as a symbol that encompasses the rhythm of life.

Research for Assessment 1: ‘Cameraless’ Film Project

Research for Assessment 1: ‘Cameraless’ Film Project

In this assignment, we have been asked to manipulate analogue film, project it and then edit it digitally with the aim of creating a soundless piece that contains rhythm.

We did a lot of research into various styles and techniques that other artists have used.  One major thing that became apparent to me was how artists used film as a medium for their work, however, they utilised it in two ways.  Firstly, they used film (including found footage) as a canvas, but then they used the film projection and edited it digitally.  In using the film in this way, you can create elements that may not have come through on the original footage.

When I started to develop my ideas I thought primarily about how I could show rhythm without sound.  I thought about where rhythm could be found and I ended up with the ‘Rhythm of Life”.  Once I had an idea, I started to research how I could portray this idea through the film.

We looked at a lot of different artists in our workshops and lectures. We watched Opus (1921) by Walter Ruttmann, his animated film was abstract and displayed a lot of simplistic motions and colouring that show the notion of rhythm really well.  Unlike the abstract nature of Ruttmann, we looked at The Albatross (1998) by Paul Bush, in this work he scratched images onto found footage and edited it together using an optical printer to create a cohesive story.

scratchdiagram

SCRATCHED ON FILM TECHNIQUE, Bush, P Viljakainen, T Milroy, L Phil, M 2012

Caroline Leaf’s Two Sisters (1991) was another work we looked at that displayed a different technique.  Whilst she still told a story through characters on the film, it was etched “directly into the emulsion of the film.” (McWilliams 2016).

I also particularly liked the work of Len Lye, who drew directly on the film.  I could envisage using some of his techniques in my own piece.  From there I started to find a few others like this which included Permutations by ‪John Whitney and Anemic Cinema but Marcel Duchamp.

We also explored how ‘cameraless film’ can be incorporated into other works in different ways.  An example of this is Louise Curham’s A Film of One’s Own (Fugue Solos) which is a hand-developed/ manipulated dance film.  In this instance I think it creates a contrast between the two and the audience may form a greater appreciation for the art of ‘cameraless film’.  Whilst it is derived from the same method, I think the artists own interpretation can create a unique effect.

With all this is mind, I started to develop my idea of the ‘Rhythm of Life’.  Initially, I started to draw, scratch and paint my film (which consisted of found footage, leader and film that hadn’t been exposed) without much thought behind it.  This was so that when I went to project it I could see what each of those ideas looked like.  When I did project them, it didn’t really look like I had hoped, it wasn’t very clear and my message hadn’t come through.  From there I started to draw the same image/symbol 25 times so it would play at 25fps.  The idea behind this is that it would be very clear when I came to edit it and there might be some variation between frames.  When I projected this, it worked much better than the previous week.  The main thing I did was draw in permanent marker, but I really liked how scratching looked and I also used nail polish.

My drawings revolved around things like flowers growing, the sun rising, a heart beat and the surf.  I fiddled with dots moving around the frame.  I began editing the film that I had without a clear objective in mind.  I was just trying to get a feel for how it would look when I put it together.  In the final projecting week I had quite a few strong ideas that came through that I was happy with.

When it came to editing I worked with my film for a long time, but ended up restarting it as I found that I had tried to incorporate far too much footage in a storytelling fashion and it was too crowded and I didn’t think it encapsulated the theme I was trying to portray.

Finally, I stripped it all back, basing my design around the flower.  I overlaid another few pieces of film and in doing this I changed the colouring throughout the film, which was something I had really wanted to include, but initially wasn’t sure how.

This simplistic idea that I now have was what I was trying to achieve at the beginning.  The process of editing the clips together helped me to work out how I wanted it to look and how I didn’t want it to look.  I will continue to play with it to see if I can find anything else that might help to reinforce the theme of rhythm.

References:

Bush, P Viljakainen, T Milroy, L Phil, M 2012, SCRATCHED ON FILM TECHNIQUE, image, Paul Bush Films, viewed 26 March 2016, http://www.paulbushfilms.com/films/scratchingdiagram.htm

McWilliams, D 2016, Two Sisters by Caroline Leaf, National Film Board of Canada, viewed 26 March 2016, https://www.nfb.ca/film/two_sisters