Monday, 6 January 2014

Yr2 Week 9 (Wed 11 Dec - Film and Innovation & 2 Screen update)

Today's session saw the return of Guy, who, in advance of our screenings next week of our two projector pieces, gave us a quick tour back into the depths of film history, with two early art films (in part, undoubtedly, to help fire up our visual skills and imaginations): first up was Return to Reason (1923), which was a sort of visual experience, using a series of contrasting symbols and shapes on the screen, along with dashes and flashes of light. It almost sort of felt hypnotic, in sense, like one of those entrancing kaleidoscopes, with its constantly shifting and moving imagery. The black and white also gave it a nice sense of atmosphere, which has helped it not age too badly, and not feel as flat or stagey as some silent films can.

Next up was a true sensory experience, a sort of David Lynch of the early 20th century: Ballet Mechanique (1929), complete with a score composed in 1999 (worthy of mention, both because of the score itself, a sort of storm of noise made up of clanging and clinking and ringing, like machines in a factory, and because this was actually the score the directors, Fernand Leger and Dudley Murphy, originally desired, but it was too complex for their time). As the title implies, the mechanics of various machines are on displays (engines, clocks etc.), often refracted/reflected within the same shot to create strange images of say, two pendulums swinging into and fusing into one another. This is intercut with images of a women looking about, heavily made up, as well as images of people at play outside in a park, sort of implying a connections between the mechanics of movements in a human, and then the ones in machinery. In fact, the woman takes on the aspect of an automaton (a robotic puppet, most famous in the 19th century, like the chess-playing Turk.). Mixed together with the noisy soundtrack, and you just get sucked in and mesmerized by the strange combination of imagery and sound.

Moving along after that mind-melt, my team met up after class and we went over our ideas, bringing in drawings, plans and sketches of what we wanted to do. We settled on a merging of two ideas: screen A would be devoted to the front, while Screen B would be devoted to the back, and we would sync them up via two camera rolling at the same time. Why? to track what goes on as we walk, turning the screens into 'windows on the world'. We settled to shoot on Monday, and I and Hana agreed to supply cameras, with Andrew playing our 'guy. Fingers crossed...

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