The artefact that I’ll be focusing on in this critical analysis is my imagination piece, which I’ve titled ‘Reality is overrated’ from the audience watching this video they should interpret from the title of the video that what they are about to witness won’t be the a traditional beginning to end narrative. Ideally I want individuals that see the title of the video to interpret their own opinion on what the video will be about before they even click on the play button, with those who see the thumbnail for the video on streaming services like YouTube or Vimeo that they will see a red and yellow distorted figure standing in front of a black backdrop which doesn’t give anything away which will lead individuals to click on the video out of intrigue and curiosity.
In regards to how my piece relates to today’s society most individuals seek to escape the reality they are currently in for a list of different reasons that could be affecting them on a personal level, for example the introduction of cinema in the 1890’s. All though films in that time period were around a minute long it took the general public who went to cinema’s for a short brief of time to experience a different perspective of life that they haven’t witnessed before, in relation to how this incorporates to my piece is that I want my audience to watch the video and be temporarily taken out of their mind-set’s and surroundings through the visual and audio effects I’ve applied onto the video to give individuals a insight into how surrealism can momentarily take society and reality away and create a different universe with alternate laws and reality.
The main inspiration behind my artefact was a video from the Tate Modern called: How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File 2013, a fourteen-minute, single-channel video projection. It consists of five chapters or lessons, each proposing ironic and often humorous ways in which an individual can prevent himself or herself from being captured visually by digital technology (Tate.org.uk, 2016). I also looked at the aspect of ‘the unconscious mind’ and how art and literature were the founding formats for surrealism when it first started in 1924. In my personal opinion I’m glad video has become a cemented format as well as the endless amounts of different techniques and videos media practitioner can come up with in the 21st century and still have a original idea is one of the exciting things about how the media world operates and how it can influence and effect others to go out and make something.
I also discovered a website called ‘Trippy.me’ http://trippy.me/ (Trippy.me, n.d.) which houses all the latest videos from the internet that individuals would best describe the videos along with some form of psychedelic music alongside as well as user submitted content for individuals like myself that like to create such videos and can upload it via a platform for others to see and gain feedback on. When it came to start making the artefact and how I should interpret it to others I decided to consult with a friend of mine that does graphic illustration and how utilise the colours to capture the audiences attention along with it’s effectiveness level to individuals that have never seen this type of video before.
What I gained was critical feedback about my original idea and how to make it go from pre production to post with him stating to me that it would be a very effective piece if it was done in an animation sense and not with real time footage, with the timescale of the project and only having roughly around a week to get each creative artefact uploaded and complete animation was not a viable option at the time but is something I will defiently look into for any future projects.
Developing the first initial idea was to take footage filmed in a student flat and make it feel very unorganised with random bursts of dialogue with no context. With over six people being on camera in the one night the amount of different dialogue exchanged between individuals gave an interesting insight into how people react to being under the influence of alcohol and how it can effect dialogue and action towards others and how it can be taken and put into context with a surreal undertone. From this idea I gained positive and critical feedback from lectures with the use of colours and audio effects to make the experience a very unsettling and unpredictable video for individuals to watch. Although it gained high praise from others I didn’t think personally that it was substantial enough to be a creative artefact so I decided to go back to the drawing board and do elements slightly different.
The first change I made was the amount of colours that appeared in the first draft artefact was almost placed randomly with no purpose and consistency, so with the second draft artefact for imagination I decided to keep a consistency of blue and red as my primary colours as they were the most occurring colours throughout the filming process. I also decided to change visuals with myself making different facial expressions to add to the surreal element of the artefact transitioning in every fifteen to twenty seconds, along with an echoing and repeated synth of a drum, which I created via music software added to the uneasiness of the visuals being displayed on screen.
When it came to the researching my subject matter I decided to look at the roots of ‘surrealism ‘ and how it originated, which I discovered to be art and literature with many at the time believing it was the only way of being able to take dreams and thoughts and showcase it to other peer groups or individuals who might have experienced something similar or wanted to interpret the thoughts in their own way. Alongside looking at the origins of surrealism I also decided to reach out to art students from the university and ask them what surrealism means to them and how they would incorporate it’s theme into their work, with many showing me rough drafts of images they’ve taken from the internet and how they would edit the image to make it fit into surrealism’s codes and conventions with them simply taking a individuals eye and moving into a position that it shouldn’t be in e.g. placing the eye into the individuals palm of their hand.
“Surrealism seeks its values by an exacerbation of subjectivity and imagination. It therefore proceeds from the imagination and speaks to the imagination by way of dislocating reality” (Earle, 1987) looking at the facts/stats about surrealism this quote basically sums up surrealism in one, taking a bad situation and taking it out of reality, as its based around individuals subjectivity and imagination and how each persons opinion on a surrealist piece of work would be interpreted differently. With a video being shown in one the lectures which contained three shapes and we were asked to interpret what was happening on screen with many people replying that it was a displaying signs of domestic violence with other saying it was a robbery, the human mind always looks for a context even when there might not be any need for context our minds always try and attaches itself to a logical answer from different images and text in similar events from the past or from film/television society themes. I’m happy that I decided to do extensive research into the surrealism movement and how I can take the codes and conventions from the movement and incorporate it into a creative piece that I’m proud of, if I didn’t research into the origins of surrealism I wouldn’t of been able to create an effective artefact and not get a full understanding of it’s origins.
In regards to the context of my creative artefact the reason I made ‘Reality is overrated’ was to show individuals how by adding colours and pixilation to a standard 1080p 25 frames per second video that it can give the video an entire different meaning and outcome, from me pulling a variety of different faces along with a Canon being plugged in directly to an interactive white board reflecting what’s being recorded directly through the camera added a delayed natural effect while moving the camera left and right. I want the audience watching my video to interpret the surrealist piece how every they think see’s fit whether it be contextual or not making the individuals watching the video think and be confused by the end was always the end goal.
Looking back on the module overall in term of the knowledge I’ve learnt its greatly improved my understanding of surrealism and how many artists take the codes and conventions of the movement and make it into something they see that others might not. Not only the knowledge helped me but the skills I’ve gained have given me an insight into the different approaches I can take with my practical filmmaking and the amount of equipment the loan shop houses that I hadn’t used before will no help me further with creating my final major project. Improving this creative artefact is something I want to revisit later down the line with me approaching the filming aspect in a different manor e.g. using a different variety of lens and settings on the camera to create effects before being edited in postproduction.
Developing the current artefact to become a more substantial piece I would make a narrative but incorporate different sub plots throughout that throw the audience off the main storyline. Where individuals would have to pay close attention to what’s happening on screen and how they tie in together to form a story and give insight into character backstories without having to build it up from the beginning, not only that but also make the surreal piece a multiple platform experience e.g. start on a YouTube video then progress to a website with hidden text on the home page.
Also as I’m looking at improving the piece over time, if budgets weren’t an issue I would start to create 3d/4d figures/items that hold a secret meaning or Easter eggs to my previous work to fit inside the creative artefact but won’t be the main focusing point. So by having them camouflaged into the background of scenes only individuals that pay close attention to details will be able to spot them and take on board whether or not it’s hold any reference or hidden meaning behind the narrative.
Overall I’m very pleased with the outcome of this artefact and it’s something I will defiently learn and improve from in my future works, opening my horizon to the endless opportunities and pathways surrealism and other movements can give to inspiring film makers across the world including myself.
Earle, W. (1987). A surrealism of the movies. 1st ed. Chicago, Ill.: Precedent Pub.
Tate.org.uk. (2016). ‘How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File’, Hito Steyerl | Tate. [online] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/steyerl-how-not-to-be-seen-a-fucking-didactic-educational-mov-file-t14506 [Accessed 30 Nov. 2016].
Trippy.me. (n.d.). Trippy.me – Reality is Overrated. [online] Available at: http://trippy.me/ [Accessed 30 Nov. 2016].