Exam Week 2: Summary and Critical Reflection

Over the past 15 weeks, I have gone through multiple ideas and my project has taken many different forms. For this project I wanted to explore something that I have taken notice of since the beginning of the year. There are major developments going on in every suburb surrounding where I live at the moment (Sutherland Shire), and it got me thinking about what stood before these mega development sites. Interested by this, it seemed obvious to explore The Royal National Park. It is a shame to me that this beautiful piece of land and coastline is overlooked by so many people, especially as it is so close to home.

A national park by definition is an area of countryside protected by the state for conservation purposes. I began to find it interesting that we have these areas that are not allowed to be touched, that must be protected. But once stepping out of the national park, it seems to be free reign to do as you wish with the land. Among discussion with a friend of mine, we through around some ideas and proposed that maybe national parks are a means of justification for big property developers, and the general public. It’s almost as if humans can do whatever the like to the land and not feel guilty, because we will always at least have the national parks that are untouched.

I began toying with the idea of creation and destruction, and discovered that these two definitions side by side speak to each other in a very powerful sense. This led me to the term Creating Destruction which ended up being the title of my work. I was able to portray this in my film through the juxtaposing images of nature and development. Whilst the development is creating something, it is destroying what stood previously, in turn, creating destruction.

I went through many different stages of how I was going to execute this idea. I knew I wanted to make a documentary style film, however I also wanted to include photography. Through research I came across cinemagraphs, a combination of photo and moving image, although the cinemagraph did not make it my final work.

The film was going to take form as a multi-channel video installation, portraying two screens. One showing nature, and the other showing development. I received some great advice from Matt which led me to rethink my choice of the multi-channel video, allowing my project to progress.

Matt’s advice led to me create a single-screen video work which I was much happier with the results. Jo provided me with some very insightful feedback that I will be able to incorporate in to my projects in the future, and it definitely played a big role in making this clip turn out the way it did.

Ideally I would’ve like to have been more organised throughout the semester. If I had my idea set in concrete early on I think I would been able to compile much more footage, and possibly some better shots. However, the project probably would not have been able to reach this stage without all the different iterations and experiments along the way.

Overall I am happy with how my film turned out, and enjoyed the experimentation and research along the way that got the project to its final stage, and I am so grateful for all the feedback and advice I received from Matt, Jo and my peers throughout the semester.

 

 

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Week 13: A Final Chance to Test

Now a few weeks out from the project being due, I now know how I am going to execute the film. I am able to use some of the shots I have already taken but in the next two weeks I am going to have to go out for some last minute shoots.

I have taken on board advice from both Matt and Jo and it has helped me a lot in knowing how to achieve my end goal.

I need to keep in mind the long, tightly composed opening shots, and to establish a slow rhythm in my editing. Slowly begin to include some wider shots, showing the surroundings and the diversity of the environment. I am going to keep the idea of using glitches in the film, and once they start to show, so will shots of development. Once the development shots take over the nature shots, I will need to change the rhythm of editing, making it look chaotic with quick cuts.

I am happy with how this film is starting to take shape and am looking forward to finishing it in the coming weeks.

Week 12: Dark Night of the Soul

This was a slow week for me in terms of physical project development, having other major assessments due, and starting a new job on top of that as well. I was unable to get out to shoot some new footage. The little time I did have was used for brainstorming and story boarding for new shots.

In this week I also began briefly discussing with my friend, Sam, who is an audio engineer, about what sound I was going to include in the film. I pitched the idea to him, and we both agreed that there would be no music as that would take away from the message of the film. I showed Sam some of the shots I had already taken, as well as what I was planning to shoot, and in the coming weeks we would go out and get some location sound and sit down to do some post-production sound together.

Week 11: How we organise ourselves

Your media art project piece asks questions (your research question) about stuff you notice. – I have noticed the excessive development around my hometown and have realised that it is easy for people (including myself) to forget what the land was like before the development. Once realising this you are able to really appreciate the land and nature once you get out of major cities.

There are many ways to do this and a question may take different forms. For example, this may be a documentary, a short film, an installation, a photo series, an interactive experience. Your work asks a question – it is not to solve a world’s problem – it simply draws our attention to that problem. – My project is on the border of documentary and short film. I am not trying to “solve a world’s problem”, but bring to the viewers attention the major developments that are taking place around us.

This week I showed my progress to Jo and received some feedback on where to go next.

My film began with relatively quick nature/lifestyle shots, some wide and some tight. My previous knowledge of film meant that I was beginning with wide establishing shots and then honing in on the scene with tighter composed shots.

Jo gave me some very helpful advice for my film. Jo made a point that I need to establish a rhythm with my edit. For the nature scenes, use long shots and really drag it out. Long shots allow the viewer to deeply engage in the work and take in everything from the frame. Jo suggested that for this film I start with tight shots of the environment e.g leaves, trees etc. and then work my way out to wide composed shots, showing the diversity of the environment. Once I begin to incorporate the development shots, I can change the rhythm of editing to suit the style of the shots.

Jo suggested that I look in to a film called Baraka. Baraka is a non-narrative documentary film released in 1992. Baraka consists of beautifully composed images, most of which are long tracking shots. Being a non-narrative film, you are able to truly experience the amazing cinematography of the film. After watching this film, what Jo had said to me made so much sense and was a big step forward for me in completing my project.

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

This week I showed my progress to Matt and we discussed what direction I need to now head in to move towards completing this project.

Matt’s feedback: Matt really liked the titles, having the definitions of create and destruction next to each other, and agreed that it sends quite a powerful message. However, Matt pointed out that having two screens, one being nature, and one being development is not very strong. I hadn’t thought of this before, but what Matt said made a lot of sense to me. He said it was too obvious. We know that green is good and industrial and development is bad. We’ve been told that a thousand times and it is not a message worth portraying, at least not that blatantly.

I now began to brainstorm ways in which I could incorporate this idea in to a single-screen video. Once I started to edit the film as a single-screen, the message immediately became more powerful. I was still able to include the two definitions of create and destruction, the footage of national parks, and the footage of development, but now on the one screen.

I started to mess around with some visual effects such as glitches. I would create a glitch effect on a clip of a national park, which would then cut quickly to a shot to development, and that cut straight back to the national park. As the video was progressing, I created more glitches, till eventually it would just be purely shots of industrial areas and development. This concept linked back to my initial aim of wanting to create an experimental documentary/short film.

Whilst I’ve shied away from traditional documentary techniques, and have decided not to actually interview anyone, the video is still taking form as a documentary. However, instead of telling a story through words, it is telling it purely through the shots.

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Two of my first glitch tests.

Week 9: Iterate and Collaborate

I was unable to attend class this week as I was moving house. It was a busy and stressful week so my project didn’t develop much. However, I was able to get out and shoot some more footage on the weekend.

I continued my approach to the multi-channel video, and edited a short 30 second rough cut of my project to present to class the next week.

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Multi-channel video test.

 

I experimented with some text in the video, and was happy with the results. I think the two definitions placed side by side really speak to each other and powerfully portray the message I am aiming to get across.

Week 8: Development and Discussion

This week was our first chance to put up the first iteration of our projects. I was unable to present anything this week, but it was good to see how the rest of the class’ projects were coming along. It was good for me to see how helpful it can be to get feedback from your peers, no matter how little or how far your project has developed.

I spent the rest of the week developing my own project. In previous weeks I had considered including cinemagraphs and photographs as another element to my video. However, the more I thought about it, I didn’t think it would add much to the project, and could actually take away from the project.

Instead, I progressed with the idea of a multi-channel video.  I undertook research into multi-channel videos and came across some installations that inspired my project.

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Non/Phenomena, Multi-channel Video Installation, Edyta Stepien and Margaret Noble, 2012. https://vimeo.com/75974852

Non/Phenomena is a seven channel video installation, created by video installation artist Edyta Stepien, in collaboration with sound artist Margaret Noble. The multi-channel video installation is very effective. When viewing, you are completely immersed in the installation.

I would like to incorporate this immersive idea in to my own project. As I think it would further emphasise the idea of being surrounded by and immersed in nature.

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My second multi-screen video test.

Week 6 Iterative Practice and Critical Reflection

This week we discussed what it is that we want to do for our project. We were asked to think about what our aim/motivation was and what questions we are wanting to ask by making this work.

What is it I want to make? A short film/documentary.

I am motivated by the concept (human impact on our planet), but also motivated by the craft of documentary film making (craft), but motivated in the way that I don’t want to make a typical documentary (experiment). I am not motivated by the technology.

So..

What it is? What is it about?

It is a short film about the human impact on our environment. In particular the way in which we see it as okay to undertake major developments of cities, because we have our nice, untouched national parks.

Your rationale: Why do you want to do this? What questions are you asking?

I want to do this because I have come to appreciate getting out of the city and spending time surrounded by nature. It is easy to forget what was here before all the development took place. Rather than asking a question, I am trying to bring this to the viewers attention, and hopefully they can appreciate our natural environment the same way as I do. 

Some rough ideas

Interview people in the national park, interview people in the city. Ask how they feel in national park, ask how they feel in city. Show the difference of how people feel when in a city as opposed to national park.

Multiple screens?

One screen showing shots and interviews of people in the national park, the other showing shots and interviews of people in cities.

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My first multi-channel video test.

MEDA302 Week 5

For my final project, I had been considering including a video work as well as some still photographs. I have recently started taking photographs again after a few years of being focus purely on video, which is why I was wanting include both in my project. After discussing this with Matt, we thought that it could be interesting to combine both video and photography to create a cinemagraph.

“A cinemagraph is actually a still photograph created to contain a small moving element while the rest of the image remains perfectly frozen… Most cinemagraphs present a loop movement of that chosen element, tree branches moving with the wind, steam coming off the street vent or eyes blinking.” (Vera Mevorah).

Here’s an article about cinemagraphs: http://www.widewalls.ch/cinemagraph/

I thought that this could be an interesting technique to incorporate in to my final project. Whether it would be entirely made up of cinemagraphs, or only a few throughout my film, I’m not sure. Some ideas of cinemagraphs that I could create for my project are: tree’s blowing in the wind, water flowing down a river, cars driving through the city, clouds moving in the sky.

I found a tutorial on how to create a cinemagraph, so before going out and trying to create one for my project, I tried to recreate the one demonstrated in the tutorial.

Below is my attempt at recreating this cinemagraph

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MEDA 302 Week 2

The piece of writing I chose that might act as a seed for thinking about ‘futures’ comes from musician Father John Misty (Joshua Tillman). I have taken some lyrics from his song  Ballad Of The Dying Man, 2017.

“Oh, in no time at all
This’ll be the distant past

Eventually the dying man takes his final breath
But first checks his news feed to see what he’s ’bout to miss
And it occurs to him a little late in the game
We leave as clueless as we came
For the rented heavens to the shadows in the cave
We’ll all be wrong someday”

I think this is an interesting piece of writing that makes us think about the day in age we live in, one that is dominated by technology and social media.

For the major project I am going to be creating a video work. I have recently rediscovered a passion for photography after leaving it alone for a few years to focus on video, so I may possibly include some still photographs into my work. These may be printed and hung on the wall next to the projected video, or there photographs within the film.

I have spent the last few months brainstorming ideas for a concept for the film. I have been inspired by our planet and also inspired by the way humans poorly treat our planet. Because this is an extremely broad concept to try and tackle, I then dug deeper to try and focus on a specific topic that comments on our planet and humans relationship with it.

I came to the conclusion that I was going to make a video work about the way in which we preserve designated spots of land, such as national parks. I also want to draw on the fact that whilst this is a good thing, it’s a shame that because we have a piece of land that can’t be touched or developed on, humans feel more than happy to do whatever they like with the rest of the land. Cities are polluted, busy, and new buildings are constantly under construction. However, it is still nice to have the national parks to be able to escape the hustle and bustle of the cities, and really appreciate the land. “The human imprint on the global environment has now become so large and active that it rivals some of the great forces of Nature in its impact on the functioning of the Earth system” (Will Stefen, 2011). Humans have become a force of nature. We are the first species to actively transform our planet. By transforming the land we also transform the Earth’s climate and we have made irreversible changes to the Earth’s system. Whilst we are creating, we are also destroying our Earth. We are creating destruction.

Create: bring into existence

Destruction: the action or process of causing so much damage to something that it no longer exists or cannot be repaired

This is the topic I want to portray in my final project.