Determinant: Reflective Statement

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Our Artist Statement:

Determinant (2017)

Chelsea Lowry & Stephanie Garner

The preservation of our ecosystem is essential to both the longevity of our planet and species.  Our current climate is undergoing such enormous change that it has led to the discussion of a new geological age, the Anthropocene.  Our presence on the planet has interfered to such an extent that we are now considered a geological determinant.  The Anthropocene acknowledges our interference, whether intentional or not, and puts into perspective the irreversible effects we are having on our environment.  Determinant materialises the effect of the Anthropocene directly to the audience, rather than being a relayed statistic or report, it visualises the issue in our own lives.  The moment the space is entered, the work is altered and time slips away.  It offers the audience the opportunity to experience how their interference can have a direct influence on their own future.

Can you make your influence count?

 


 

 


 

Steph and I began our assessment by joining forces due to our similar interests of the film genres, noir and science fiction, and we ended up finding a genre that combines both – tech noir.  We originally thought we wanted to create a work about genre characteristics in film, but after a few weeks of experimental iterations, we found that we weren’t getting the outcome that we wanted, so we decided to shift our focus and think of our genre studies as an influence rather than the focal point of our work.  We went back to square one to think of an important future to us that was could explore and we ended up deciding on that of climate change.

When we initially were introduced to the ‘futures’ topic, we researched artists such as Olafur Eliasson and Hayden Fowler, whose works looked at the concept of human life affecting that of our environment.  We thought this was a very important aspect of climate change and wanted to explore the concept further.  From this point, we started to experiment each week knowing that we still wanted to include a screen element and a material one, but we struggled to find a way to join them cohesively.  We ended up focusing on one video rather than several and found it much more effective, we chose to use the image of the melting ice as we thought it was one of the more recognisable signs of climate change.  Our next struggle was trying to find a material element that suited the space, as most of our ideas centred around melting ice, they wouldn’t present correctly at the Grad Show.  We had also been trying to use a mirror, as the moment an audience member entered the space it was altered, but we couldn’t get it to work properly.  We then received feedback suggesting we could use a clock.

Now very confident in our concept, we started to experiment.  We created several time lapses of ice melting in different shapes and we found a clock, which unfortunately didn’t work, but thankfully Glenn could fix it.  We then had to work out how we would showcase our concept of climate change/human interaction using the clock and our video.  This is when we had the idea of the clock ticking faster when an audience member enters the space, we weren’t sure if it was possible, but Glenn said it could be done using an Arduino and a sensor.  We also had to illuminate he clock, so we decided to use a red gel which referenced an artwork we used as inspiration by Chris Wainwright and also honed back to our genre study which focused on neon lighting.  While Glenn was working on it, he discovered that he could use the AM and FM channels to make sound, which is something we always wanted to include.  The FM station plays a white noise/static sound that is caused by interference which ties in perfectly with our overall concept and became the final element of our work.

Overall, we were really happy with our work.  The feedback we received from Mat and Jo was mostly positive, the main pieces of advice we received we about what we could do to improve the work for the Grad Show. Their biggest points were:

  • The sensor wasn’t strong enough.
  • The ice reappearing didn’t really match our message so they suggested we could try a few different alternatives: making the video extend to 20 minutes, play several of our time lapses rather than just the one or having the ice melt and re-freeze in time with the clock ticking backwards and forwards (which we suggested).
  • The placement of the clock: they suggested we could move it around the space, or maybe use a coffee table or personalised furniture instead of the plinth.
  • They also suggested that we could mark out the space the audience had to stand with a light so they knew where to stand.

We will be working on these ideas over the next week, however, we spoke to Glenn later that afternoon to see what could try and organise.  He wasn’t able to help us with a sensor by next week and sadly we couldn’t do the Arduino/Ice/Sensor because we have been allocated a Blu-ray player now not a computer, but even so we wouldn’t be able to do it by next week.  We are going to try and experiment with the different videos, however, I really liked the idea of the much slower time lapse.  Steph and I are going to meet up to work it all out!

 

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Week 15/Exam Week 2

Over the weekend, I created a few more time lapses.  I used the smaller sized bowls and the time lapse actually worked really well.

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The following day I managed to squeeze a larger set of bowls into the freezer and the image looked better, except I received a call towards the end which moved the camera and ruined the end – which was particularly annoying as I had silenced my phone after it happened last time.

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I wasn’t sure how we would be able to do another one, but Steph and I really didn’t have that much more to do in the gallery on the Monday, so we decided to take the time perfecting the time lapse and then we went into the galley to finish setting everything up afterwards.  It ended up being our favourite, so I’m really glad we made the time to do it. I edited the video slightly by adding filters over the clip to create more of a contrast between the ice and the black background.

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The set up was fine, we just had to put the new video on the computer, which took a little while as I had to convert it to the right file format.  Glenn also had the chance to show us that there was sound on the AM and FM radio channels, which we had always planned to incorporate, and he told us that the FM station plays a white noise/static sound that is caused by interference – which fits perfectly with our theme.  Later in the day, Glenn ended up swapping our laptop for a Blu-ray DVD player with a USB input, as we only had a single video playing, and gave it to Josh as he was running several at once and they didn’t have any computers left.  This didn’t really affect us at all, but it meant that the loop function/transition wasn’t as smooth as it had been so I wanted to fix our video so it looped several times in the actual file so the DVD loop happened every 10 minutes rather than every 50 seconds.


 

This is also our speech to accompany our presentation:

“We started off by joining forces due to our similar interests in film genre.  From there we started researching to see if we could find a niche where our two genres intersected.  We then found a genre called tech noir which is a combination of noir and science fiction.  The characteristics of this genre were the classic noir story line combined with the film techniques associated with both.  We compiled a list of films that were in this genre and spent time analysing their content.  We came up with the idea to create two contrasting video pieces, one which featured different dystopian clips that could be said to represent a future and the second which focused on facial expressions that were looking at the futures displayed in the first clip.  We used clips from our research list to start off with and when the product wasn’t what we hoped and we felt like we weren’t getting enough from our idea, we started to think that we should use our genre study as an influence, rather that the focal point of our work.

From there were started to discuss what we thought was an important future to represent and we decided on climate change.  When we were introduced to our topic of futures we looked into a few artists whose works looked at the idea of human life affecting that of our environment and we found them particularly striking.  These works by Olafur Eliasson and Hayden Fowler were the starting off point we needed to create our own future inspired work.

We then began experimenting with how we would present this idea.  We still wanted to include a screen aspect into our work so we started by creating time lapses and displaying them all together in a grid.  We wanted to add a material element, but we were struggling to connect the screen to one as we had so many different images in our video.  It was then that we received feedback suggesting that we focused on one video rather than nine.  As we were looking specifically at climate change we chose the video of an ice melting time lapse as we felt like it is one of the more recognisable signs of climate change.  We then played around with the idea of having ice melt in the space, but as we had to move it for the Grad Show, we wanted something that was less susceptible to change.  This was when you suggested that we could use a clock as a material element.

Now very confident in our concept we started to experiment, we made several time lapses of ice melting in different shapes and we able to locate a flip clock which Glenn thankfully could fix (as it didn’t work).  We also wanted to incorporate lighting into our work and we decided to light the clock using a red gel, which referenced an artwork we used as inspiration by Chris Wainwright and also honed back to our genre study which focused on neon lighting.  Once we had this foundation we thought more thoroughly about what the work was representing, we had played around with mirrors because we were trying to showcase how climate change is an issue that each individual is a part of whether we’re aware of it or not, so we wanted an element of our work that was affected the moment the audience stepped into our space. This is when we had the idea of the clock ticking faster when an audience member approached it, however, we didn’t actually know if it was possible, when Glenn said he could do it using a sensor and an Arduino.  While Glenn was working on it, he also discovered that he could get the AM and FM channels to create sounds.  We chose to use a sound as a presentation tactic so that it draws the audience in because we needed them to come close enough to the clock to set off the sensor, but more importantly Glenn told us that the FM station plays a white noise/static sound that is caused by interference.  This then directly relates to the audiences’ experience with the clock and our overall concept and became the final element of our work.”

Week 14/Exam Week 1

Our installation period started on Wednesday, so Steph and I went into the gallery to start setting up.  We were planning to speak to Glenn about our clock as well, but with all the other exhibitions Glenn hadn’t got to it yet, so Steph and I decided to set up everything else.  We had been allocated a different space in the gallery than where we had been, so we just needed to work out logistics like where we should actually hang the projector.  It took quite a long time for us to get it organised, but by the end we had our red light, plinth, projector and projection installed and working.  We spoke to Glenn and he said that he will start working on the clock to get it ready, as he isn’t sure how the sensor will work.

Steph and I then went in again on Friday.  Glenn had fixed the clock and had got the Arduino to work!!  It is attached to a sensor that makes the clock tick faster when someone approaches it.  He had attached a low range sensor to it, but is going to drill a hole in the front of the clock and hide a stronger sensor in it so it has a larger range.  We were so excited as this is a very important component of the work.  Mat and Jo were also at the gallery and were able to see our clock and the video.  They both found the dome shape of the ice much more effective and seemed to like it, which is a big relief after not having feedback for a few weeks.  Glenn had to take the clock to a meeting with him, so we couldn’t have the clock and the video playing at the same time, so we’re looking forward to doing this on Monday.

I also found a set of bowls! So, I’m planning to try a do a few more on the weekend, but I’ll just have to see how they go.  If not, we’ll just pick the best one from last week.

Study Recess

This week I have been at home working on all three of my majors.  After last week Steph and I decided that we wanted the backdrop of the time lapses to be black, so I didn’t actually need the interesting textures I could find at home, however, I had been racking my brain trying to think of something I could use as a backdrop that was black but non-absorbent (aka not my black towel).  At home, I realised that my dad has several black tarps/canopies that I could use.  With the ice, we decided that we didn’t just want an ice cube, so every day I froze water in a dome-like shape, we didn’t want it to be solid because we wanted to put lights under the ice like we saw in one of our reference videos.  I used a set of bowls so they were the same shape and I filled the larger bowl with water, put the smaller bowl in the larger one and placed a rock in the small bowl so it wouldn’t float.  I then set up a little mini studio in our entry hall, I attached the canopy to the cabinet and then laid it flat down the front and along the floor.  Steph had done a time lapse using her iPhone using the time lapse present, we decided that it looked so much more interesting than the GoPro time lapse because rather than taking hundreds of photos, the phone instantly creates a video that applies a beautiful effect so the video ends up looking smooth and seamless.  With this in mind, I set up both my iPhone and my GoPro, just in case.  As I didn’t know how long it would take to melt I set up a very complex charging station (as my entry hall doesn’t have any power points) and as I explained before, my GoPro couldn’t be in the case, so I had to lay it flat on the tarp.  I then used my portable flash box to put my iPhone on, I placed a small candle on top and leant my phone on the candle and angled in down at where the ice would be.  Surprisingly, this actually worked really well.  Over the week I created 4 time lapses.

The first time lapse didn’t have any artificial lighting as I just wanted to see what it would look like.  The video looked quite good, but the windows in our front door were reflecting light on the ice and towards the later part of the afternoon, the video started to get quite dark.  Overall I was happy with it.

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One the second video I tried to incorporate the blue lighting that we saw in one of our reference videos.  I have a set of blue ‘waterfall’ fairy lights that I was going to place under the dome, however I realised as soon as I went to set it up that once the ice melted you would see the lights, which we didn’t want, so I decided just to set them up to the side of the ice to give a slight blue hue.  I also set up an airer and my tripod and hung up towels to block out the light coming through the door and windows.  This worked well again too, but I must’ve started it later and it got very dark towards the end again.

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On the third video, I decided to add a desk lamp to make the ice bright, which I think is what they did in our reference videos.  I also have the blue light in it again. I also taped paper to the windows to block out the light more efficiently.   This looked really good and I was much happier with it, however, I waited too long to take the ice out of the bowl (I had to wait for it to melt enough that it would slip out) and the disc and the top (which is the bottom of the bowl) fell out before I had even got it set up in the scene.  It didn’t really make a big difference to the clip because the disc disappears very quickly in the first two videos, but I did like having it there to start off with.

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On the last day before I left I did one more clip.  I had the desk lamp again, but I decided not to use the blue light.  The video was going really well until I started getting messages on my iPhone and every time I received one my phone would vibrate, this kept happening until the phone fell over – which I was particularly annoyed with because I had my phone on do not disturb, so I didn’t think this would happen.  The rest of the video looked quite good, but the ending obviously didn’t work.

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I wanted to take the bowls back to Wollongong to work on, but they actually wouldn’t fit in the freezer I have.  I took one of the canopies with me with the hope that I could find a bowl set in Wollongong (as I couldn’t find the kind I was looking for at home) and continue to create more next week.

Week 13: A Final Chance to Test

Last week Jo told us about a few works that we could look at who might inspire our material element (the mirror and clock).

Roni Horn’s Nine Liquid Incidents (2010–12) is a sculptural work that is made to look like frozen pools.  The Biennale of Sydney describes the work, “With rough edges and fire-polished surfaces, these exquisite sculptures seem to both draw in and exude energy, appearing transparent or highly reflective depending on the play of light in the space. Our associations with the life force of water are endless, and these pieces highlight its chameleon qualities, resembling frozen pools, mirrors or bottomless wells – objects to fall into, to float on and to drown in. Beyond simply seeing ourselves in the water-like surface, Horn invites us to see the water-like qualities in ourselves, to see ourselves as water. Water has the capacity to be brutal or gentle; to inspire both reverence and fear. It is most often connected with the realm of the imagination, with emotions, intuition and sensuality. Water is life, and both are ever-shifting” (Biennale of Sydney, 2017).  The concept of water and the reflective nature of the sculptures in the work are similar to the ideals we have in ours.  It would be interesting to see if we could incorporate this idea into our work, but I’m not sure how it will work in with the clock.

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Roni Horn Nine Liquid Incidents, 2010–12, solid cast glass ten units 45.5 x 91.5 cm (diameter) each. Installation view of the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014) at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Courtesy Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul. The presentation of this project was made possible through the generous support of Simon and Catriona Mordant. Photograph: Sebastian Kriete

The second was Langjökull, Snæfellsjökull, Solheimajökull, 2007, by Katie Paterson.  “Sound recordings from three glaciers in Iceland were pressed into three records, then cast and frozen using the meltwater from each corresponding glacier. The discs of ice were then played simultaneously on three turntables until they melted completely” (Paterson, K 2007).

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Langjökull, Snæfellsjökull, Solheimajökull, Katie Paterson, 2007

The third was Re/trato (2003) by Oscar Muñoz.  This piece displayed a really interesting way of displaying an idea so materialistically.  In the video “you see the artist painting a self-portrait on a concrete sidewalk by using a brush and water. His hand continuously paints as the portrait evaporates, creating an endless drawing. Reflecting on the ephemeral nature of identity, the work highlights the liminal space between remembering and forgetting, between an image and its obliteration” (High Line Art, 2013).

Thinking about these works reminded me of a work I had looked at in one of my contemporary art subjects, Red Ice – White Ice (2008 – 09), by Chris Wainwright.  “Red Ice-White Ice is a series made at night whilst circling around icebergs in a small inflatable boat off the north-west coast of Greenland in sub-zero temperatures.  The photographs were made using red or white flash to reflect the temperature changes taking place in this fragile wilderness”  (Wainwright, 2013).

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‘Red Ice-White Ice’, C type colour photographs on aluminium, Disko Bay, Greenland, 2008-09.

This week is our last week of classes, so the last chance we have to play with the setup of our works.  Steph found a clock! So as soon as we got to class I had a look and we began brainstorming about how we could use it with the clock not working.  Within a few minutes, Mat came up to have a look at it and said that he thought Glenn could get the clock working and he suggested we could connect an Arduino to it and have the flip parts of the clock react when people approach it.  I instantly loved this idea, because it captured the concept that we were trying to portray with the mirror, that by entering the work you disrupt it and therefore our influence makes it worse.

We then went and spoke to Glenn who said he could get it to work.  We decided that the clock will continuously flick (faster than just every minute), but when an audience member approaches it, it will start to flick much faster.  When they retreat, it will slow down.

Glenn got to work and it ended up working quite well as Steph and I then had to spend a large portion of the lesson planning the fundraiser for the Grad Show.  When Steph and I had done what we could, and had a meeting with the organising team at the IC we came back to work on our video.  I would like to film some time lapses when I go home next week as there are a lot more interesting textures that I can shoot on compared to my place in Wollongong.  We decided to try and research how we would like the ice to look.  We had a look online at some completed time lapses and projected them onto our setup.  We found that a black background was so much more interesting than the lighter textures we had been looking at before.  We also found one that had actually been made into more of a bowl-like shape which we think had a light underneath, we thought we could try this and then change the colouring to red to tie in with our genre techniques from earlier in the semester.  I’m going to try and make a few different types over the next few weeks.

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At the end of the lesson we checked in with Glenn, I have class on a Friday and he said to check in then to see how he was going.  On Friday we weren’t quite there yet, but I will be in next Friday and Glenn said he should be done by then and can show us how to use the Arduino with the clock.

 

References:

Biennale of Sydney 2017, Artists: Roni Horn, Biennale of Sydney, viewed 23 October 2017, http://www.biennaleofsydney.com.au/19bos/artists/horn/

High Line Art 2013, Oscar Muñoz Re/trato, High Line Art, viewed 23 October 2017, http://art.thehighline.org/project/oscarmunoz/

Paterson, K 2007, Artwork: Langjökull, Snæfellsjökull, Solheimajökull, Katie Paterson, viewed 23 October 2017, http://katiepaterson.org/portfolio/langjokull-snaefellsjokull-solheimajokull/

Wainwright, C 2013, Red Ice – White Ice, Chris Wainwright, viewed 23 October 2017, http://chriswainwright.com/2013/11/30/red-ice/

 

 

Week 12: Dark Night of the Soul

This week we were working on another iteration of our work.  We also spent a portion of our class time organising our individual profiles for the Grad Show website.  After we’d done this, Steph and I got started installing our work.

Meg had found a large mirror that had been thrown out down the road from her, so before class we went and picked it up.  Steph and I cleaned the mirror and put it in front of our projection.  We didn’t have huge success with the mirror last week, but this one was much larger and we figured it was better to grab it while it was available and see if we could incorporate it into our work.

I had been taking time lapses over the last week, sadly they didn’t have the same look as the original one that we found, but at this point it’s more about practise and working out how the ice looks when it melts.  I have been using my GoPro because they have a time lapse setting built into them, but I am planning to use my DSLR for our final work so that the quality is better.  GoPros can be a bit tricky to take a time lapse on, despite the inbuilt feature.  As I wasn’t sure how long the ice would take to melt completely, I wanted to plug the camera in so it was constantly charging, but because GoPros are protected by a plastic case so they are waterproof, the charge port is covered when it is encased, so to have the camera charging they have to be out of the case.  This is frustrating because all the accessories that make the camera attach to things (such as a tripod) only work with the case.  So, because of this the camera had to sit on the surface in front of the ice, creating a very simplistic shot.  The camera is also so small that the weight and angle of the charger kept making the camera fall over.  I ended up blu-tacking it to the pavers so it would stay still.

The first time-lapse worked quite well, but the ice was out of focus, so when I did the second one I moved the ice, but it didn’t make a huge difference.  The most interesting part of this one was that the ice melted in a different direction and left a trail down towards the camera.

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When I looked at the photos from the first two shoots I decided that they just didn’t look as interesting, so I began brainstorming about how else I could do it.  The ice was melting faster than I expected as it was quite a warm day, so I thought I would try my luck and not charge the camera at the same time.  I put the GoPro back in a basic case with a tripod attachment, but my tripod is so big that it would be making the camera too high up and far away from the ice.  I remembered that I have a miniature tripod that is about 10cm tall and set that up.  The biggest problems I had was that firstly, when I tried to angle the GoPro down at the ice, it would unbalance it and fall over and secondly, the GoPro has such a wide-angle lens that the bottom of the tripod got in the photo.  Eventually, I found a position that would work and I blu-tacked the back leg of the tripod to keep it from falling over.  The images in this setup were my favourite.  I create two clips out of the second and third time lapses and I had the photos progress forwards (melts) and then backwards (freeze) and we set up both of them up in the gallery.

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We projected the image and spoke to Jo about the work.  We basically just jammed with the setup and we spoke about incorporating the mirror back into the work, maybe by placing it on the floor and having the projector project onto it.  We still hadn’t been able to get a clock, but Steph has been in contact with a lady who is selling one, which we will hopefully have in class by next week and then we can play with how that looks in the space.

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Week 11: How we Organise Ourselves

This week we were using our class time to progress our works.  I fiddled with the video after last week’s class and it was ready to go up when we started work.  We used a projector that was already set up to connect the video and the projection was huge, which we really liked.  We then started to add items to the wall to project onto (we forgot to bring things in so we used things that we found on the campus).  We placed plastic bags on the plastic bag video, clothing on the clock video, rubbish on the pollution video and mesh bags on the tide/water video.

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It didn’t look great, it was just messy and I don’t really think it helped reinforce our concept any more than the videos did.  We still want to incorporate material elements and to potentially try and include them in a more subtle way, but we’re a bit stuck as to how to do that.  At one point, we grabbed a mirror to see what that would look like and it gave off a really interesting reflection, so we grabbed a screen and placed it opposite the video/mirror, where it was reflected.  The projection was also still visible on the mirror’s surface so you didn’t have to look at the reflection to see the image.  When the audience moved in-between the projection and the reflection they would cause shadows that would interrupt the video, which I thought could be a metaphor for the audience’s involvement in their future/climate change.  Whilst we liked it, we’re just not sure how to get this effect across the whole video or whether we should only do it in some sections.

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We spoke to Mat and Jo separately.  When Mat came over he understood our concept and the idea we were trying to portray and he agreed with our thoughts on the current presentation.  He suggested that we focus on one video (the ice) to see what that look liked, the ice was also probably our favourite video because it was referencing the earlier ideas we had around week 8.  I pulled up just the ice video and I instantly liked it better, there wasn’t too much up and fighting for attention.

Mat said that the time lapse effect made the ice actually look like it was breathing in and out and suggested that maybe we could incorporate the clock in a physical form rather than on the screen.  He thought we could get an old flip clock and try to make the flips go back and forth but never go back or progress forward – which I loved.  He also suggested that we could somehow include bags to tie into the waste side, but also into the idea of breathing and how we are suffocating our environment with plastic waste – which I also really liked.

When Jo came through we relayed this information to her and she agreed that it looked better with the larger image.  We told her that we would like to take Mat’s advice for next week which she agreed with.  The main thing that she suggested to us was that we don’t want to create a work about reducing waste by purchasing things for an art installation and then throwing them out when the project was over, as we would be defeating the whole purpose of our work by doing that.  I explained to her that I still have a huge amount of bags left over from a work I produced at the end of last year in MEDA202 that we can use, so we wouldn’t be doing that.

At this point we’re going to create our own ice time lapses to put up next week and then try and play with the material elements.  I’ve had ideas of filling plastic water bottles and having them drip down in front of the screen onto something like the clock.  We’d like to see if the water could turn the flips/numbers on the clock or if we could get a fan to, which would tie in with the breathing – obviously, we need to experiment so Steph is going to see if she can find a clock this week!

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Week 10: An Eye on the Process, An Eye on the Project

Last week was the study recess so we workshopped our idea and have come up with another direction to take the work in.

I am very interested in the ideas of correct waste disposal and climate change/environmental issues.  These ideas were present in our dystopian futures idea and I tried to incorporate them into the found footage we were using, but it wasn’t very clear.  I felt that we were so caught up in our genre idea that we couldn’t move past it to create something else, which is why we were having so much trouble.

I decided to try and think about it differently, if our end goal was to try and produce a work that caused the audience to think about the impact they were having on the world around them and what it meant for their future, maybe we could simplify the whole idea and focus on that, rather than the dystopian future.

We brainstormed about what this could mean and I came up with the idea of time lapse, which can be quite a simplistic tool, but I believe when it is utilised correctly it can present a well-constructed concept.  I thought about how the passing of time can showcase the issues that we are trying to present.  This thought process arrived at an idea of presenting nine time lapses in a grid (one projection), whilst we haven’t worked out what each video will be on we have ideas of:

  • Plastic bag blowing/stuck in a tree
  • Plastic bottle stuck in the sand on a beach
  • Clock ticking/digital clock
  • The ocean/tides going in and out
  • Sun setting
  • Clouds moving
  • Ice melting
  • Flowers blooming/dying
  • Garbage in water
  • Sun moving throughout the day

We are thinking that we would like to have contrasting natural and man-made images.  I had the idea to add effects to the video that come from the genres we were looking at earlier.  I thought the videos could slowly lose colour and we could add neon lighting.  We can do this by making the natural objects that deteriorate an unsaturated colour so they become very dim and the man-made objects red/stay coloured.

We want to add some kind of physical objects to reinforce the message that we are discussing.  I’ve been thinking about plastic bags, bottles, old clothing, leaf litter, water/ice etc. but at the moment we aren’t sure how to integrate it.  I thought that maybe we could cut out the materials and put them behind each video and the material would relate to the content in the video.

In class, Steph and I brainstormed about how we would do it.  I only had three time lapses, so we thought we could use time lapses that we found online to present the idea that we are going for.  This took a really long time (both to find, put together, render and export) so by the time we had it ready the class was already going through the presentations.  Unfortunately, because Jo was also away we didn’t get the chance to talk to Mat or our peers about our new idea.

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Our plan for next week is to fix the video so it is ready to go on the wall as soon as we walk in and then we can brainstorm with our teachers and the class about where we can take it.  I’m hoping to bring in a few material objects to put on the wall as well.

Week 9: Iterate and Collaborate

This week we were working on developing our projects.  Steph and I are still unsure of what direction we are going to take the work in, so we decided to spend the class refining what we did to try and make the two videos speak more to one another.  Jo came and spoke to us and suggested that we could make the close up facial shots more focused on the eyes and the establishing shots less about actual disasters and more about the opening establishing shots of each movie.  We worked on this throughout the lesson and despite quite a lot of technical difficulties, we ended up refining our videos and like them a lot more.  We’re planning to workshop our idea over the mid-session break and find a direction to take the work in and experiment with that in week 10.

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Steph also found this really interesting video on YouTube that looks at Blade Runner and the genre of ‘Future Noir’ – exactly what we’re looking at.

I found it really interesting to look at the way the movie was constructed and how it fit into the genre we are looking at.  The narrator also uses an interesting quote from A Panorama of American Film Noir by Raymond Borde, “In every sense of the word a noir film is a film of death” (Lessons from the Screenplay 2017).  The Narrator goes on to say “The entire thematic foundation of Blade Runner is built around life and death, not constrained to simply mortality like in classic noirs, but expanded to examine the nature of life itself” (Lessons from the Screenplay 2017), which I think is a really interesting concept that we could look into.

How does it make you feel? How do you feel about particular aspects of the work? What do you like/dislike?
At the moment, our work isn’t portraying the emotional and cultural link that I want it to have.  This is what we need to work on.

What is working?
I think linking the two clips contrast yet complement one another well, I think we need another element to create understanding in our audience.

What possible paths could it develop along?
I would like to see the work turn into more of an installation, not just a screen work.  I want to incorporate elements that help the viewer understand and appreciate the issues we are discussing.

What needs work/clarifying/or discarding?
At the moment we are using found footage to experiment with our idea, but I would like to end up using only things we have produce or combine the found footage with our overall theme needs to be clarified.

What needs to be done and how can we get it done?
We need to find a way to present our concept more clearly to the audience.  Steph and I are planning to brainstorm and research during our mid-session break in order to come up with an avenue to explore in week 10.

References

Lessons from the Screenplay 2017, Blade Runner — Constructing a Future Noir, online video, 26 September, viewed 26 September 2017, Lessons from the Screenplay, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tbvMzqk3F4

Week 8: Development and Discussion

Last week was postgraduate week (week 7), so we were asked to look at the drafting and presenting project proposals questions:

ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY OF PROJECT
Using the genre of tech noir as an influence, we aim to investigate the effects of climate change and how it will shape our future.

INITIAL CONCEPT 
What is your idea, and how do you see this project relating to your practice?
We would like to create an installation/screen based work.  Our investigation started with my interest in science fiction and Steph’s interest in noir and how these two genres overlap under the name of tech noir.  We then started to look into the techniques and characteristics that make the genre what it is.  From there, I started to think about how many of the films that we were looking at address some kind of dystopian future and how this aligns with our exhibition topic.  It made me think back to the research I had done on Hayden Fowler and his practice and how he creates dystopian versions of the future he foresees.  I’ve always been equally interested and terrified by the impact we are having on our environment, so I thought that I could try and bring all of these ideas together to create one work.  We are planning to create a tech noir inspired dystopian future that showcases the effects of climate change.

AESTHETIC/INSTALLATION
What will your project look like? What type of equipment and installation processes do you imagine this project would require? Would the work be able to be shown in a variety of spaces?
I envisage some kind of immersive space, not unlike the work we created last semester.  We haven’t worked out the exact type of installation that we would like to create as I would like time to properly research (through the films we were looking at).  I have ideas of creating an icy space, which inspired by Olafur Eliasson’s work Ice Watch.  How exactly we would execute this, I’m unsure but I am picturing an atmosphere like that of an ice bar, where the lighting is limited, dim (and in our case red).

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT 
How do you envisage people engaging with this artwork? What sort of experiences do you hope to inspire in your audiences?
I would like to present an idea where the audience, at first, doesn’t understand the context of the work, but through engaging with it, their understanding will grow and they will appreciate the message we are trying to convey.

LOGISTICAL NOTES 
How will you make the project happen? Would you need additional skills to help the idea happen? Would you need to find contractors/collaborators to assist you to realise this project idea?
We obviously do not have a clear idea on what we would like to present and I feel like we need to sit and discuss our idea with one another, but also with our tutors to gauge how they interpret this idea.


In class, we were told we had to present a piece to show where were we up to and to receive feedback on the idea and installation.  Steph and I spoke to Jo to start us off as we were very lost as to what direction we should take our idea.  She suggested that we create two videos, one which showcased the look/eye line contained in films and one which showcased the establishing shots from the films we were looking at.  With a place to start, Steph and I spent the class finding the portions of the films, editing them together and exporting it as a clip.  Steph made the video of the facial shots and I did the wide, establishing shots.  We were quite pressed for time and it took a while for us to actually find the clips to edit, so our export was very rough, but it was a starting point.

We wanted two videos to play side by side, but we didn’t have time to install two screens, so I put our two clips into iMovie and used a tool to play the clips side by side, then I played the clip directly from iMovie onto the screen.  As the videos played, I explained to everyone our concept and the direction we were looking at going in, but I noted that you probably wouldn’t be able to get that concept from the work we presented – which was the main feedback we received.  Next week, Steph and I plan to refine both the videos we created, but also finding a way to introduce the ideas that weren’t shown in this first iteration.

 

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