Prototype Work and Research For my final project I have worked through many various ideas and having researched each one I have finally come to the conclusion of what I am going to make. During this document I am going to show the work I have produced during each stage of my research and exlplain why I persued it and why I changed the focus of work and moved in a different direction.
After I arrived back from India after the summer I had a question surrounding alienation and isolation. Whilst away I felt that even though I was thousands of miles away from home I still had people around me of whom I was able to speak to freely and there no stigma attached to that action. Upon my arrival back in London I seemed to have this feeling of being isolated, where if anything I shouldâ€™ve have been feeling more comfortable being home. The first thing that struck as a visual concept was the image of everyone sat on the tube not communicating in anyway, simply sat there with their heads buried in a paper or with their headphones on in a very solitary state. From this idea I made a short film which I have posted below.
After making this video I started to think I could persue this project using the idea that people alienate themselves from there daily commute in a way that they have no choice over the fact they have to use public transport and because of this people simply shut off by either reading a paper, listening to music or actually shutting off and sleeping. I decided not persue this as my final project would have ended up being a longer version of the video above just using footage from other form of transport.
After my first attempt I rented a book called â€˜Art and Alienation - The Role of the Artist in Societyâ€™ (Herbert Read, 1967, London). One excert I found really interesting from this was the story of Van Gogh and how he spent his life travelling around europe from relative to relative due to mental health issues that aflicted him, ultimately alienating himself from his family. At the same time of reading this I was also going through some problems with a family member whom has been diagnosed with bipolar from some years and I was having a lot of contact with due to some problems they were dealing with. From what I know about bipolar from my personal experience I made this brainstorm.
From what I know about bipolar from my personal experiance I made this brainstorm to the right. From this brainstorm I then made two images that represent some of the points.
Once I had gone through my initial ideas and visualisations I started to research online. The start of this was watching various interviews with Steven Fry. I felt he was an excellent spokes person for the condition as he is well educated and articulate so can explain how he copes with bipolar very well. After learning a bit more about how someone with bipolor deals with the condition I came in to trouble with what to make for my final project. My first idea was to look at possibly doing some sort of viral advertisement in line with a charity. When looking for charities that deal with bipolar I came across a very interesting viral advertisement by a charity called Time to Change that had apparently caused a lot of complaint because it seemed to make light of the condition.
I thought this advert was really well made and the fact it was interactive really brought it into its own. From what I had learned about bipolar so far it was clearly going to be a difficult subject to deal with tactfully so not to offend anyone. This advert tackles what could be a very real life situation and plays on what would go through most peoples head if put in that situation but ultimately brings you to the same end point of that you shouldnâ€™t feel the need to treat anyone differently if youâ€™re aware they have bipolar. After seeing this advert I thought it would be a good idea to contact the charity and see if they had any representatives or information that might be useful for me and my project. Unfortunately I got a fairly rude response that was very unhelpful that insinuated I as making a short film as some sort of joke.
After doing the above research I had a tutorial with Katrina and we discussed where I was with my work and also how i’d hit a brick wall when approaching a charity. I was at a bit loss with what to do next so Katrina suggested I look at video portraits as I seemed to be veering away from making a short film. I had never heard of video portraits before so thought this could be a good direction to go in. The first thing I did was search ‘video portrait’ on both Youtube and Vimeo, there weren’t any responses for Youtube that looked professional but in Vimeo there was one.
This was the first time i’d ever watched a video portrait so I wasn’t sure what to expect. My first thoughts were that it wasn’t anything too impressive but I could appreciate how the portraiture worked with the music to purvey a sense of who the person is. I was aware that I really needed to reference and as this was on Vimeo I had no idea whether it was made by any videographer with any significance, for all I knew it could have been uploaded by somone in their bedroom having shot this in the living room. In light of this I scoured the interenet for a professional in this field. It didn’t take too long to come across Robert Wilson and Dissident Industries. What made this even more interesting was Robert Wilson had made video portraits of many large hollywood stars and instead of them moving like the video above all the subjects were still and also dressed within a scene. Below there are links to some of my favourites.
What I found interesting about Robert Wilsons work was that his portraits were obviously very high budget and being so he is able to create some fantastic scenes in which to place his subject. This combined with the approprate music and in some if not all cases, a bit of slight movement, really made it possible for him to portray the subject as he wishes. This being said I did find these portraits particulary hard to watch, as interesting as they are, in my opinion they would have been shot better as a still. Admittedly this would not allow for the music to help enhance the scene but in some cases, such as the Brad Pitt portrait, the soundtrack is really quite weird and though it may enhance what the R Wilson wishes to portray I didnâ€™t think it is wholley necessary. After watching almost all of the portraits on this site I decided it would be good to creat some myself and see If I could get a better understanding. I did not have any budget to make these so I used what I had laying round the house to make 3 videos which I have posted below with explanations.
For the first video portrait I found a Mexican Wrestlers mask that we had in our flat and set myself up in the living room using the curtain as a backdrop. After it was filmed I upped the hue a little to make the shot a bit more colourful and added a soundtrack by Rodrigo Y Gabriela called Vikingman as this had a very Mexican feel and I liked the way it builds up. In keeping with this build up I edited the footage so the slowly zoom in which also worked well as I unintentionally held quite an intense stare during the shot. I wasnâ€™t quite sure what I was trying to convey with this video portrait but found it useful as a starting point.
For the next video I this time asked a friend to be by subject and provided them with a fairly odd looking Charlie Chaplin mask that I aquired on Halloween. I asked my subject to sit still but at sompoint during the shot to move her mouth so to animate the portrait slightly. Once it was filmed I graded the footage black and white and also added a piano track of some old music that would have been used in silent films. Once this was complete I was a lot happier with the outcome but I stell felt that I wasn’t really grasping what video portraits were about. I did make another of myself under a blue light but I didn’t upload this one as I wasn’t happy with how it looked and it really didn’t say anything either.
After my research and experiments with video portaits I was not satisfied that these would be a useful route for me to persue for my final project and becuase of this I was at a complete loss of what I would do if I carried on trying to work with this topic of Alienation and Isolation. At this same time I was also having trouble with research paper and what my question would be for that and it came back to the question of doing something that relates to what I do and what I am interested in or else I would have a really hard time next year completing my work as I would be struggling with the subject matter. Once I decided on a new research paper question related to ‘How social networking has effected the music industry’ I also decied the change my final project to a music video that I have been working on since June. The track is one that deals with arguments in relationships and how men usually don’t understand or appreciate the cause of the argument. The storyboard and script I worte for this is very entertaining and is something very different to what usual UK Hip Hop videos portray. This is a point of the video that I have focused on to break the mould of making videos of a rapper simply staring at a camera for 3 minutes and portraying them with a ‘bad boy’ persona with bling and nice cars, my video is very real portraying the vocalists as normal people who semm to get into arguments with every female they come across whilst walking through London to meet each other.
So far for my video I have found all but 2 locations and have also held one casting from which I have found 4 of the female actors. I have enlisted the help of a steady camera man called Doug Walsh to film on a Red Cam and also have a Director called Joe Mannoin who will be keeping track of the shots on the day. I myself have taken the role of Creative Producer as I have scripted the shoot and organised every aspect, as well as editor once everything has been filmed. Below is a link to my proposal for my video which contains the script, timings and crew and cast list.
Final Project Proposal Below I have posted images of 3 of the locations iâ€™m using, the first being my firends house in Wood Green, second is a corner shop also in Wood Green and the third is a street location at the end of my road in Hackney.
Finally the track
Bibliography * Art and Alienation : The Role of the Artist in Society, Herbert Read, Horizen Press, New York 1967 * http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUh76xjQPjQ&feature=related * http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3MT59zc6Ms * http://vimeo.com/5155698 * http://www.dissidentusa.com/robert-wilson/subjects/