I haven’t been on here in forever. I feel a little ashamed. I’m going to try and update this thing in the next couple of weeks.
Check out my final Videography project, Holding On.
This is a picture of me on the set of Paper Turtle, directed by grad student Jon Stutzman. I’m taking notes for the camera (an Aaton A-Minima), while actor Jonah Proepper takes a break before the next shot. http://www.paperturtle-thefilm.blogspot.com/
I watched an experimental documentary called Obsessive Becoming, directed by Daniel Reeves. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure that I followed the film; I know that it was about the filmmaker’s family, and that his father was named Milton, but I’m not sure if it was Milton or Milton’s father or the filmmaker’s other father (apparently he had three father figures… or was that Milton?) that bribed an official into performing a hoax wedding for him and his “wife”, who found out later that they weren’t really married but that he was married to someone else. It was a very confusing film, especially since halfway through the film, we were torn away from the story of the family and dropped into a world of war scenes and other happenings in the world at the time that the family’s story took place. However, beside the content being very hard to navigate, the imagery of the film was absolutely brilliant.
The images began at first as a collection of photographs and video clips of the family, narrated by several threads of interviews with various family members. The filmmaker made extensive use of photographs: sometimes they were animated to look as though they were crumpling and then straightening out; sometimes they looked as though they were floating down a river, a “sea of memories”, if you will; and for a good chunk of the film, the photographs morphed into other photographs, showing the change in the characters and the differences (and similarities) between the family members. Some of the video clips were imposed over others: there was one clip of a woman sitting down on a rock, and later we saw the same clip, except now the woman was sitting down with a different background. The shifting, fading, ethereal style of the images gave us the idea that these memories were pieced together, and a compilation of these thoughts and rememberings might not be completely accurate, but was still mysterious and interesting. There were also some crazy images, like bears dancing, and an image of a man twirling, imposed over another background so that it looked like he was floating. These things added to the ethereal, other-worldly feel.
I realize that it was supposed to be an experimental film, but at the end I felt as if I was missing something. I watched it with my friends, and as we were watching we were trying to keep track of who was who, and yet couldn’t do it; and then the film switched topics, and when the credits started rolling, we wondered why we didn’t go back to these characters that we had met in the beginning. I think that if I had time to watch the film again, it might make a little more sense, but in the time that I had, I just got this feeling of sadness and mysterious intrigue that left me jarred. And perhaps that was what Reeves was going for: perhaps he wanted to make his audience feel as if this was a family that was cluttered with all these memories and surrounded by this feeling of sadness and disconnected meaning.
For any of you who would like to read a really long but really interesting take on cinematography, you should definitely read this article. It began with an introduction to the film camera as a tool, something concrete: a photograph shows the object that is there, and nothing more — and yet the photograph is not actually the object, but just a representation of the object. This relates to the near-end of the reading in which the author describes slow motion and reverse time as not existing in a film — it is just our minds tricking us into thinking they exist.
Reading this, I understood that in this way, film becomes less of an art than it is a series of technical decisions — and yet it is the artist who can put the object in front of the camera in a certain way, and create the image that they want their tool to capture, in order to put meaning behind the representation.
The reading described how the motion picture medium can relate to every other artistic medium in some way, yet many filmmakers only show a few correlations to these mediums when making film. I think that those who are able to mix all of the mediums together in the process of a film are those who are really creating art.
I loved the idea that we are able to believe a film because its content is not physically present: we believe that, though in this world it may not be possible, in this other separate world (the world of film) the content is very, very real. The whole concept of a “controlled accident” is very beautiful to me, and gives me more even more respect for film than I already had.
This was the Termite TV project for my Videography class. My group focused on phobias. I realize it’s not the greatest, concerning production quality, but it was one of those things where we just wanted it done and over with… so, enjoy what we made of it.
This was a project for my videography class, in which I took various clips from the Internet and mixed them together to make my self-portrait. Because of my writer tendencies, I aimed to make the piece about story. None of this footage is shot by me, I simply edited it.
For our screening assignment for videography, we had to choose at least two short videos from a list that our professor gave us, watch them, and respond. Here is my response: I wish I had chosen a different artist to watch.
Don’t get me wrong… the videos were interesting, and probably got a lot of hype when they first came out… it’s just that I’m still not entirely sure what the point was for either short that I watched.
I watched “Media Burn” and “Off-air Australia”, with a group of friends in the class so we could get it all done with in one swoop. These videos were part of a compilation by Ant Farm, its members being Chip Lord, Doug Michels, Hudson Marquez, and Curtis Schreier. When we watched the first video, “Media Burn”, we were not sure what Ant Farm actually was, and so the content of the short came as quite a surprise… It was a documentary of a media event, in which mass amounts of people waited for two men to drive a Cadillac into a stack of televisions. Pre-crash, a faux-JFK gave a speech, giving his approval of the event that was about to occur. A good chunk of the footage was shot with a vignette, and it was never clear what the motive behind that was. I think the theme of this short was that our lives have become enveloped in the media, so we should rebel and “stick it to the man”, so to speak… As if to say that the media shall not have control over us… And crashing into a large pile of TVs apparently illustrated that point.
However, immediately after this event, the video cut to news stations that had been covering the “media burn”. The newscasters gave statements that indicated they didn’t understand the point behind the event, or that they didn’t really care. Basically, the members of Ant Farm thought they were sticking it to the man, but, in the words of one newscaster, it was “over our heads”.
Perhaps that’s why the video included the footage of the newscasters: to portray that Ant Farm has some form of logic that normal people wouldn’t grasp right away. I will say that as the credits rolled, my friends and I kind of just sat and stared at the screen, as if to say, “What the hell?”
Next we watched “Off-Air Australia”, in which the members of Ant Farm visited Australia. Simple enough. They went on various talk shows, and were described as architects and artists, and cultural commentators with “unorthodox ideas about changing society”. One host explained that they were pretty much anti-anything that went against individualism — illustrated by the props that Ant Farm brought with them, such as the hats grown from yeast that changed color (just add water), and their electronic pet, which lit up occasionally. To be honest, we probably should have watched this video first, since it explained a little more about what Ant Farm was all about. But it didn’t explain the strange “Car-men Opera” that followed… Performed at the Sydney Opera House, it consisted of a semi-circle of cars, their owners beeping their horns and slapping the hoods as one of the Ant Farm members, dressed up like a kangaroo (because they were in Australia… get it?), conducted them.
I… I seriously don’t know. If Ant Farm was supposed to be all about individualism, you can certainly see that the acts that they performed were unique… but the question then follows that, if such a large crowd is coming together to do such a “unique” act, merely for the purpose of being unique, how unique is it, really?
As for aesthetic decisions, I enjoyed the fact that it was simply someone with a camera instead of a strictly planned out shot list. It was a laidback documentary, and if the shots had been constructed in a more, shall I say professional manner, then it wouldn’t have fit the style of the Ant Farm. But then, I wouldn’t want to be a conformist and label their style…
second-order volition… a film I made on 16mm last semester.
I read an article about Craig Baldwin labeled “Craig Baldwin - a Visual Essay” by Patrick Sjöberg. Craig Baldwin was an experimental cut-and-paste film artist, to put my own label on him. His films consisted of recycled bits and pieces of other films edited together to create a meaning completely different from the meaning that the original clips intended. Though this is technically illegal unless you have the authorization of the original artists, it proved to be an interesting (some would say compelling) form of art, and was a critique of the media that surrounds us daily.
I tried searching for some of his work on the Internet, and it was pretty tough to find anything. But the bits and pieces I did find were intriguing, a mesh of images that by themselves claimed to be complete opposites, but when threaded together, caused me to think. There was clearly a message behind the clips that I found, and I found it amazing what someone could make from something that he had “borrowed”.
Interestingly enough, our first project for our videography class follows the same methods as Craig Baldwin’s work. We are to take multiple clips that mean something to us, and edit them together to make a Remix Portrait of ourselves. This leads me to wonder: were the films that Craig Baldwin constructed a piece of himself? Did he think that these “remixes” described or reflected him? I suppose an artist’s work always reflects some part of him- or herself… it is just a matter of how closely you have to look to see that connection.