Posts Tagged ‘infrastructure’
New edits for my animation short “NO/PLACE’, still using proxy music (mixes of Aphex Twin tracks) – this time adding sound effects.
The clips look better if you chose the HD option on the Youtube toolbar!
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.
First go at photography and walking around my neighborhood with a little low-grade Kodak consumer camera. Fortuitously for this project, I live a few blocks away from the knot of freeways near Downtown – a lot of sprawling infrastructure. In terms of Photoshoping, I am still searching for the right look. Some pictures feel too busy…