Posts Tagged ‘contingency’
The obscure Renaissance scholar Athanasius Kircher’s fabulous system of magnetic divination: “The World is Tied with Secret Knots”
Hidden in sun-drenched Culver City, The Museum of Jurassic Technology is a hoax, an art installation of intimate and metaphysical magnitude, a labyrinth for the scholastic imagination and anything else you can dream of or wish for. Founded by the enigmatic David Hildebrand Wilson in 1989, susbequent recipient of a Mac Arthur “Genius” Grant in 2001 for this puzzling and original endeavour, the Museum is a cabinet of curiosities that tantalizingly frames tidbits of historical minutiae in a fabulous context, very much in the spirit of Mark Z. Danielewski’s legendary House of Leaves, also an ironic mise en abime of scholarly critique folded into an impossible (alhough imaginary) geometric space. Minuscule steroscopic projections visible through copper-articulated glass plates, documentary films with convoluted mystical narratives, whimsically lit diaoramas and glowing orbs: such is that place of perfect delight and incomprehension, the Museum of Jurassic Technology
The micromosaics of Harald Henry Dalton, visible only through a microscope
from the exhibit Lives of Perfect Creatures: Dogs of the Soviet Space Program
from the exhibit Garden of Eden on Wheels: Collections from Los Angeles Areas Mobile Parks
from the exhibit Rotten Luck: The Decaying Dice of Ricky Jay
Drawing attention to Karen Pinkus from USC’s Comparative Literature Department and her latest book, Mercurial Alchemy: A Theory of Ambivalence. Quoting Gilles Deleuze from an interview I saw on Youtube, in which he was (apparently) addressing filmmakers: “filmmakers invent films. Philosophers invent concepts.” Extrapolating theorists/critics from philosophers, then weaving alchemy and ambivalence together seems (at least the suggestion of it) to open up delightful new fields of theoretical imagination…interdisciplinary is the word.
“How can we account, in a rigorous way, for alchemy’s ubiquity? We think of alchemy as the transformation of a base material (usually lead) into gold, but “alchemy” is a word in wide circulation in everyday life, often called upon to fulfill a metaphoric duty as the magical transformation of materials. Almost every culture and time has had some form of alchemy. This book looks at alchemy, not at any one particular instance along the historical timeline, not as a practice or theory, not as a mode of redemption, but as a theoretical problem, linked to real gold and real production in the world. What emerges as the least common denominator or “intensive property” of alchemy is ambivalence, the impossible and paradoxical coexistence of two incompatible elements.
Alchemical Mercury moves from antiquity, through the golden age of alchemy in the Dutch seventeenth century, to conceptual art, to alternative fuels, stopping to think with writers such as Dante, Goethe, Hoffmann, the Grimm Brothers, George Eliot, and Marx. Eclectic and wide-ranging, this is the first study to consider alchemy in relation to literary and visual theory in a comprehensive way.”
Allan Kaprow: “Happenings” in the New York Scene
Andy Warhol's "Exploding Plastic Inevitable"
“In both cases the interactive method comes from outside the community, and because the organizing principles are not within the audience’s sphere of influence, one might next ask whether interactivity of either of these sorts actually goes beyond what Jean Baudrillard calls “reversibility” – processes like sending letters to the editor to the newspaper – and rearranges communication in a fundamental way”. What if participants designed their own game and own rules as part of the game?
“…when bang! there you are facing yourself in a mirror jammed at you. Listen. A cough from the alley. You giggle because you’re afraid, suffer claustrophobia, talk to someone nonchalantly, but all the time you’re there, getting into the act…Electric fans start, gently wafting breezes of New-Car smell past your nose as leaves bury piles of a whining, burping, foul, pinky mess”.
“…they appear to go nowhere and do not make any particular literary point”. Because instead they create experience.
“First, there is the context…that is, its “habitat“, gives to it not only a space, a set of relationships to the various things around it, and a range of values, but an overall atmosphere as well, which penetrates it and whoever experiences it.”
Soke Dinkla: “participation is located along a fragile border between emancipatory act and manipulation”. where do I stand on this?
Sartre in Nausea on the construction of human situations
gallery: taste :: happening: dirty
“…a flimsily jotted down score of root directions”
“chance then, rather than spontaneity, is a key term, for it implies risk and fear (thus reestablishing the fine nervousness so pleasant when something is about to occur)”
(People having to waddle through a room filled with garbage)
“But it could be like slipping on a banana peel or going to heaven“
“The physical materials used to create the environment of Happenings are the most perishable kind”
“they reveal a spirit that is at once passive in its acceptance of what may be and affirmative in its disregard of security.”
“A STATE OF MIND”
“A simple example will clarify this: the beginning of Le Chiendent. A man’s silhouette was outlined, simultaneously thousands. A realist novelist would have written: Jules came along. There was a crowd. But in writing this, the realist novelist would only have shown that he was confusing the concreteness of things with literary concreteness, and that he was counting on quashing the latter in favor of the former. he would have claimed to have rendered his sentence wholly transparent to that which it designates.That is literature according to Sartre, and transitive language. In literature, the smallest combination of words secretes perfectly intransitive properties”.
“Language doesn’t manipulate notions, as people still believe; it handles verbal objects and maybe even, in the case of poetry, sonorous objects.”
“Nine or ten centuries ago, when a potential writer proposed the sonnet form, he left, through certain mechanical processes, the possibility of a choice.”
Jean Lescure, Brief History of the Oulipo
Herzog on the documentary and the concept of “ecstatic truth”
Herzog’s voice-over is an interview in disguise. His comments on Treadwell’s footage engage Treadwell in philosophical conversation more than they explain or expose. His privileged role as filmmaker is a position he takes in order to better participate as a subject of his own documentary – the scene in which he listens on camera to the audio recording of Treadwell’s death and advises Treadwell’s colleague/ex-girlfriend to throw the tape away is a telling example of the intimacy he cultivates with his subjects / subject-matter. The dialectical relationship the Herzog persona establishes with Herzog’s filmmaking (the interviews that frame Treadwell’s personality, the editing to which he submits Treadwell’s footage) make for both a curiously solipsistic and rhetorically persuasive documentary – actuality indexed to a personal vision.
This auteur set-up functions so well because Grizzly Man is a mise en abime: Treadwell as documentarian not only of bears but more importantly of himself mirrors Herzog’s endeavor to document a part of himself by documenting Treadwell. When Treadwell exits the frame of his camera / Herzog’s camera, Herzog lingers on the palpable absence that follows Treadwell’s departure, elliptically commenting on the unintentional poetics of Treadwell’s filmmaking; Herzog then “copies” this strategy in his interview of Treadwell’s coroner, lingering on the silence that accompanies the coroner’s clenched fists after he has finished the story of his own interpretation of Treadwell’s audio recording of his own death. In moments like these the interviewees appear to actively collaborate in Herzog’s attempt to decipher the Treadwell enigma (another example is the early interview of the pilot, whose contemptuous take on Treadwell sets the hermeneutic ball rolling). Treadwell’s footage of himself, with its multiple takes and performative element, constitutes the linchpin of the puzzle, the final piece to be understood/uncovered once one has dismantled the outer shells of interpretation, the whole stack of Russian dolls.
On certain dialectical games going on in Jean Vigo’s elliptical A Propos de Nice:
* the well-dressed tourists, members of a leisured class, gently snoring in the sun, even when a street band interrupts: the city where one comes to be entertained, the destination of leisure becomes a hothouse for boredom. Sandbox flaneurs already exhausted. A crisis of pleasure resolved in a way by the carnival, when upper-class stiffness is put aside. The carnival goers let go of class consciousness: tourists and locals (who service the tourists) seem to forget where each stands in terms of the other _Nice is temporarily liberated and justified.
* carnival participants throwing flowers back and forth at each other: a joyful sending boomeranging in a parabolic gesture of surprise, accidental violence, and laughter as passerby and members of the parade are struck by flowers. The camera captures a rare moment of essential actuality/spontaneity: that look of surprise – that air of nakedness and vulnerability on a face, looking towards another beyond the frame. Like the sleeping cafe-goers, photographed in a moment of unconscious innocence, we are touched by a moment that is only permitted to us by the sans-gene of the filmmakers. Tom Gunning mentions the discourse of reproach that surrounds the advent of the concealed camera and the fear of “stolen” representations, of images capturing their subjects in a state of unreadiness. Here the pleasure is derived from this privileged access into the intimacy of the everyday, an everyday that passes us by; the camera succeeds in closing the gap between us and the present (here, our past). We feel fortunate that there remains an imprint, a record, an index of spontaneity: like the trace of time in the process of its vanishing. We really feel something has been salvaged, wherefore its pinprick tenderness. Who, after all, were these people? Vigo and Kauffman lay out this enigma for us.
* one impossibly tall smokestack dialogues with a jocular old woman. One of the more cryptically intellectual bits of montage. The carnival is winding down, the woman’s laughter remains as a legacy of the fun had. In the parallel universe of the industrial Nice (and the juxtaposition of all these disparate indexical traces of the city does seem to create a patchwork of cities – Nice is a multifaceted black box) an abstract composition of verticality and wavering movement (the smoke and the stack) perpetuates a cycle of joyless labor. And yet the resultant impression is not one of senseless, fruitless antagonism but of aesthetic complementarity: the smokestack would not look so inhumanly fixed and still (incontrovertible) nor the woman so lively – smile creasing folds of skin touchingly marked by the passage of time – were they not conjoined. The montage here functions as a distillating algorithm – not so much metaphor as concatenation, from which a diffuse sense of reality emerges, not so far from the “truth” revealed by Vertov’s kino-eye. Rather than utopian, the camera here is merely curious, the “merely” functionning as an ambitious goal of subversive / subtle / undercover intrusion. Nice has just been ruffled by the camera – and laid bare with a concupiscient look.
still in the room. player squeezes a knob when he hears a prompted word (s) a voice speechifies on possibilities
determines which set of footage from the database will be edited into another set of footage (not completely haphazard) or running simultaneously on different screens??
editing algorithm, blackout, obeys a subterranean rhythm, cuts words in midstence, faces in mid-expression
cutting between this, this, and this ? CLOUD OR SHAPE, SPECTER OF SENSE – sampling of the cultural whirl – not quite arbitrary drops (it’s all water)
Peter Greenaway – Prospero’s Books ; David Bowie ; Jem Cohen: sea change, becoming, wishing, wish fulfillment, riffling through, collecting books, collecting memories, collecting personalities. databases all.
Jennings’ “Listen to Britain” (1942) – the documentary as a form that allows one to tune in on actuality the way one tunes in on a radio station. We are presented with motifs of the everyday from the singular time and place that is Britain (London?) during World War II. The un-trumpeted meaningfullness of communal and cultural gatherings such as dinner-concerts, dances, or civilians and soldiers eating lunch on the steps of a museum appears more relevant to the idea of actuality as testimony or evidence than recognizable historical events. Far from the storied decision-making of national administrators, the sense of “a people” emerges from the film, a national sentiment tightly woven around the life of “the people”, the working-class, the petty bourgeois, the soldiers. The film achieves a fine balance in its desire to address both the viewer’s individuality and his or her identification with a group – people are shot as groups of dancers, spectators, museum-goers, factory-workers but close-ups effectively personalize and humanize the crowd, bringing to the fore the notion that the subject/the film spectator is a unique and valuable being (irreplaceable because historically grounded, situated in actuality) who is thereby necessarily implicated in the greater effort to preserve their common humanity.
The concept of humanity that “Listen to Britain” worldlessly argues for is both evidence / a fact to which the film bears witness and, an ideal to be defended. Here the document nature of the footage appears to organically justify the representation of these people, to bring proof to a properly indexical relationship between the two. From a contemporary perspective, it appears that the film is not only bearing witness for its own contemporary audience, but for the future as well, self-consciously remembering themselves in the moment, “embalming” themselves in time in Bazinian fashion: this is who we are, we lived here, we did this, we were here. We are struck with the photographic image’s capacity to resurrect the dead, to bring back something of the substance of life in the imprint of faces and familiar gestures.
I find Renov’s list of the four tendencies of documentary (Theorizing Documentary, 1993) to be a useful starting point for examining Watt and Wright’s 1936 documentary “Night Mail”. At first glance, “Night Mail” appears to be an elegiac drama about the success of the British postal service and the teamwork spirit of post office employees. Through lyrical imagery of the trains carrying the mail overnight and their dawn arrival in different Scottish cities as well as suspensful reconstruction of the workers doing their utmost to process the mail on schedule, it offers us a rewarding vision of the British nation. It is difficult not to feel a tug at the heart-strings when confronted with the skilled and jocular labor force, united in a common goal to maintain meaningful connections between British citizens, an impressive, state-of-the art railroad network, the flow of goods regulated and organized to the best standards of modernist efficiency, the homely beauty of the Scottish landscapes and the comforting twinkle of lights as the mail train passes through the night, confident in the value and usefulness of its mission.
Of Renov’s four aspects of documentary, “Night Mail” seems more interested in persuading and promoting an idea of the government – via the case study of the Post Office – as reliable (it can deliver mail on time), powerful (it can deliver mail anywhere), and benevolent (mail is a benign and useful service). The expressive qualities of the documentary, particularly the sense of familiarity and warmth the subjects and cinematography convey are instrumental to this promotional purpose. Although one could accept “Night Mail” as an example of a documentary whose didactic, inspirational, even propagandistic mission eclipses other documentary values such as the desire to reveal, to inform, or to abet analysis and leave it at that, I find the tension between the film’s pretensions to show us “actuality” and its promotional purpose problematic.
According to Nichols in Introduction to Documentary, “documentary re-presents the historical world by making an indexical record of it; it represents the historical world by shaping this record from a distinct perspective or point of view. The evidence of the re-presentation supports the argument or perspective of the representation“. In “Night Mail”, I find that the re-presentation of actuality does not serve the function of evidence for the representation offered us. Actuality is utilized in order to constitute a story, rather than a story constituted in order to represent actuality.
On a final, whimsical note – “Night Mail” metonymic representation of society as a valiant machine (or at least as an efficient, happy system) brought to mind worker bees and hives. This excerpt from the children’s show Sesame street about bee-keeping treats (reconstructed) actuality for didactic purposes, using creative expression to do so. Is “Night Mail” cut from the same cloth?
This film opens up a world, another level of “reality” that is more than the sum of its parts. Emerging out of a vision of other time – time mechanized, measured, dislocated, arrested, superimposed – is the vision of a other way of life, a life energized by the fullness of the juxtaposed moment, a society aligned with Vertov’s and the communist project’s ideal of a union of the activity of communal / industrial daily life and the vital élan, the joyful exercise of each individual’s humanity. The world invented / discovered by Vertov’s camera erases the division between labor and “one’s own time”, between citizens and the city, between the producers and the technological means of production, between products and their consumers. Every element that is captured by the apparatus meshes with a multiplicity of analogous moments or rather analogous vectors, snippets of temporal trajectories in which the world and all its inhabitants seem to freely throw themselves into each others’ paths.
Brecht-like, Vertov pulls down the wall between the screen and the audience, allowing the subjects-spectators possession of their photographed selves, assigning the camera (and the filmmaker) to be as much a participant in the buzz as its privileged observer. This move is incredibly satisfying and startling at the same time: I do not feel I am presented with an object, a result, a work out of or beyond actuality for me to consume but that the windows of actuality have been blasted open all around me and that I find myself almost on the same ontological plane as the (human, technological) population of the film. Rather than bringing the world to me, it brings me into the world – as a spectator I feel simultaneously transformed into an actor, an agent, part and parcel of the aliveness of the kino-eye. It’s the first time I’ve seen “Man with a Movie Camera” . I cannot remember having ever been so engaged (as opposed to engulfed, enchanted, immersed) by a work of art.
How is “Man with a Movie Camera” a documentary? Grierson’s “the creative treatment of actuality” seems too indeterminate a definition to characterize Vertov’s utopian project. Actuality here is certainly treated, openly, visibly mediated by a community of agents : by the apparatus (which eerily and comically becomes an animate character of its own)_ by the camera operator, the camera’s appendage or transport device whose main task seems to be to enable the camera’s heroic phenomenological agency_by the editor, who, in a sequence showing shots of frames on a film strip followed by shots of the same frames projected at their proper speed, finalizes the machine’s God-like powers to set time in motion. This candid mediation takes the sting out of “creative treatment of actuality”: we are informed as to the “how” and encouraged to jump into the project ourselves.
The filmmaker does cease to be a conjuror and becomes an epistemologist – rather than doling out a spectacle (even a spectacle structured by an argumentative, informative or ideological purpose, on the non-fiction side like Grierson or on the fiction side like Eisenstein) the kino-glaz (a gaze that is simultaneously the filmmaker’s, the spectator’s and the camera’s) inscribes a map of actuality, in fact writing by the exercise of looking / scoping /projecting.
Argumentation becomes problematic at such a level of investigation into the actual, not least because we are placed in a realm beyond language or discourse into something that is purely cinematic – if we are mobilized politically it is on a poetic level, where social issues cannot be divorced from their embededness in an entirety of human meaning.
Another epistemologist – phenomenological camera in Chris Marker’s “Sans Soleil”. “Sans Soleil” also takes actuality as its material, but is it a documentary? When does not the poetic treatment of actuality but the poetic purposes of the filmmaker diverge from a “documentarian” purpose. “Sans Soleil” is about actuality, although a highly subjective one. Does it count? Or must a documentary necessarily address some form of consensus reality – must it necessarily inform in addition to express?
Playing with the idea of a haunted portrait _ the ghost appears like the absconded presence of the camera, staring out from the double mirror of the photograph. The idea of the dead coyly sitting in on the poised, posed family pictures of the living – unheimlich at it’s most potent, what is buried won’t stay buried but leaves secondary evidence, leaves tangible traces of doubt.
The inappropriate sneaks up behind your back, the camera becomes the eye in the back of your head: new weapon against the uncanny or projector of hidden horrors?
The fake spirits accusing the photographer of fraud – first betrayal of the photographed image’s promise to reproduce reality. William Mumler in the 1860s already destroying the metaphysically automatic/newly automated line between reality and metaphor, conjecture, phantasie. The sought for and unwelcome guests usher these bourgeois families into modernity.
Don’t these apparitions look TRAPPED? Their imprint gelled, their first effort at substantiation caught in the middle. Nothing left to do but appear, put on an appearance without the evidential accoutrement of an indexical relationship…ontologically exiled, phenomenologically virulent. First clue that the photographic apparatus is a creative as well as a reproductive machine: “documentary is the creative treatment of actuality”, according to Grierson and these spirits are products of an indexicality machine, they document the ghostliness of the apparatus, they rise out of the machine, immanent smoke that manufactures a referant for the new photographic sign…
Doane argues that early film showcases “time becoming visible as the movement of bodies through space”
Mary Anne Doane, The Emergence of Cinematic Time: Modernity, Contingency, the Archive
Mark Shiel, Cinema and the City in History and Theory in Cinema and the City: Film and Urban Societies in a Global Context, edited by Mark Shiel and Tony Fitzmaurice.
Mary Anne Doane and Mark Shiel make arguments for opposing conceptions of cinema as escape valve for modernity’s alienation from “lived time” and as a postmodern transformation of simulacra into “lived space”.
According to Doane, “the technique of metropolitan life” implies the development of a consciousness regularly leached of meaningful experience by the systematic “shock” of paradoxically both the excessive presence of the present in the form of a barrage of urban stimuli and the alienation of subjectivity from its own present by the logic of capitalist labor. Doane’s essentially psychological (Freudian?) argument is that this constant condition of collective trauma is the origin of a schism in our conception of time – between a time characterized by “the most punctual integration of all activities and natural relations into a stable and impersonal schedule” (the time created by railroad logistics, punch-cards and wrist-watches) and the time that takes shape in the experience of cinema, which offers “the technological promise…of immortality, the denial of the radical finitude of the human body, access to other temporalities” and, contra the traumatized time of daily modern life, can be archived, re-captured, indexed, “rematerialized”. Cinema in this case become a collective prosthetic imitation of memory, a mechanized algorithm for the production of the lived time that has been lost in the business of a modernist logic that “spends” time instead of holding onto it.
This new or other cinematic time is constructed around a double absence: the phenomenological gap resulting from the fact that cinema is a juxtaposition of still frames, and therefore fails to reproduce (according to Bergson) true time/movement, and the diegetic gap constituted by editing, which dislocates the linear flow of time. This phantom, uncanny time, resurrected/ “relived”, “haunted” by its own fabricated past, becomes a site for experiments in fresh meaning-making, for the presentation and representation of the kind of life that “results from immanence and embodiment”. Out of perversity or driven by a utopian desire for the impossible, Doane argues that photography/cinema, or at least their proponents, seek to transform the contingent, the arbitrary (the non-contextualized moment, “that which is beyond or resistant to meaning”) into that which is most authentically (because instantaneously) meaningful. From a classicist point of view, this reconfiguration of time into a present of memory (and nostalgic memory of the present) is equivalent to attempting to achieve a sort of alchemy – in spatial terms, to conflate surface and depth.
This argument that cinema exists in a time of its own is curiously echoed (or produced in a postmodernist reverse/mirror effect) in Mark Shiel’s argument for the understanding of cinema as its own “spatial system”, a space that is present/constitutes a present rather than merely a “textual system”, a system of representation. Using the city as a metaphor for cinema as well as the site of (Hollywood) cinema’s very concrete expansionist/imperialist practices, Shiel points out that film has long ceased to be a factor amongst many in the progression of globalization, but constitutes its basic engine – that in a sense globalization is about the colonization of ‘real’ urban space by the space of cinema, by the imaginary of the cinematic presence / present.
The city we walk through everyday is not necessarily the city we experience. The urban landscape we experience is colored by our goals and projects, subordinated to the destination we are moving towards. We tend to blank out or forget the real space of the city, a often inexplicable space created by the various forms of infrastructure that are the bare bones of our urban lives. This short film recreates our sensation/perception of these “forgotten” spaces when we chose to focus on them, to really feel the contours of their existence. Although these different urban landscapes have different moods or atmospheric connotations, they all share the same capacity to both suck in and repulse our attention. Both omnipresent and indefinable/unnamable, this infrastructure-landscape creates a sensation much like falling down a well or becoming lost in a maze, as the mind loses all points of reference and is engulfed by/trapped in undiluted space.
Photographic stills of urban spaces representing freeway underpasses, unidentifiable buildings, passages, unplanned-for vegetation, pipes with no immediately visible purpose, walls, fences, or placing in the same space elements that are physically contiguous but semantically unrelated, such as a row of windows in a building and the tree growing in a parking lot next to it, or the sidewalk corner that randomly unites two structures are woven into each other in an editing style strongly reminiscent of Amy Kravitz’ piece “Trap” in which patterns of light and shadow alternate and flow into each other in order to create (for me, at least) an abstract, mysterious, elusive space that hypnotizes the viewer and thwarts/encourages her attempt to find a form of fragmented meaning in the seamless changeability of the images. The infrastructure space I aim to create is not as abstract as that, since the shape of the elements that are represented will be visible, although, in the spirit of “Trap”, cut up and disjointed, thrown out of physical/topological context. However, the nature of the spaces represented i.e. the fact that no clear “object” of representation but only shape, line and texture will be truly identifiable in the frame should contribute to the viewer’s same sensation of being lost, even dizzy, that she gets from watching Amy Kravitz’s piece. In addition to using Kravitz’s technique of blending/ fading in and out frames to create this effect, I anticipate using lighting effects in After Effects, for example, having stripes of light or spotlights flow over the images, much like in Pistachios’ “Curare Bulgari” piece.
To add dramatic buildup to the piece (which Amy Kravitz’s piece perhaps lacks) I will interrupt the flow of photographed infrastructure with short segments of live action (5-10 seconds), in which a mime, using a combination of gestures (mostly upper body) and facial expressions will introduce to more jarring and explicit effect the sensation of mental distress/discomfort that one feels when confronted with the emptiness and “semantic insufficiency” of these spaces. As the piece progresses, these interludes will become more frequent, more brief and the gestures and lighting will become more intense. In terms of the gestures, more intense does not necessarily mean more contorted or frightening, but less controlled, perhaps even more passive, as if one had finally surrendered to the space represented. In terms of lighting, this will mean a gradual stepping up from flat to very contrasty (the mime mostly in shadow, along with the background, except for part of her face brightly illuminated). The progression of the “mime” sequences should culminate in a cathartic release from tension, as if the mind, after putting up resistance against the flow of incomprehensible space, after having tried to imbue it with meaning / decipher it, had decided to flow with it, to follow it where it lead, even into an unknown territory where the city, where lived space, ceases to make any conventional sense. Ideally, the viewer will be brought to the point where this release will be a desired thing, something that needs to happen in order to reconcile the insupportable tension between the space and the viewer’s mind. The final mime sequence would be, in sharp contrast to the visual/editing buildup of the previous sequences, longer (10-15 seconds) and would involve completely flat, very bright lighting and a passive posture on the part of the mime.
The mime will be shot against green screen. Ideally, I would like to create a background that resembles the “luminous cube”. The walls of the cube will be a different color in each sequence to match the color palette of the previous photographic sequence. As we progress in the piece, we will be able to see less and less of the cube, however (until the final sequence), as the lighting recedes from the background to focus more on the mime, and becomes more contrasty – as if the person were “losing space” and losing their footing in a black emptiness. The mime will be dressed in textureless, close-fitting black, their body gradually losing visibility with the change in lighting, until only their face can be used as the expressive element.
The soundtrack will be atonal and electronic, incorporating sound effects and feedback, in the style of noise artists or industrial electronic music artists such as John Cage, Throbbing Gristle and Venetian Snares. The music for the sequences involving the photography of infrastructure will progress to become more and more monotonous, to include less and less variation. The music for the sequences involving the mime will progress to become more varied, faster, and will start to incorporate harder and harder beats (perhaps even morphing into a drum n’ bass sort of sound). The final pairing of a photography / mime sequence will have both soundtracks merge again in a common soundtrack, a more melodious, more “beautiful” sound (something like the way the soundtrack I used in my exercise piece earlier this semester climaxes/dissolves into a more ecstatic, slow movement) to express the release or relief, the sense of liberation at the end of the short.
I’ve decided to use only one screen – although I am playing with the idea to have the final climactic sequences “explode” across multiple screens.