For our final Specific to Site project we have been given the task of creating a presentation for Signal. Signal is a youth recreation and arts center located on the north bank of the Yarra River. The most significant feature are the e-glass projection screens on three faces of the building, and the 40 speaker sound walk. Since it is in a public space it has the potential to impact many people and will be quite a powerful space to work in.
Today a few of us met at signal to survey the site and get a basic idea of how it could be utilised. We spoke with the sites artistic director and she gave us a lot of the specs of the site. These ranged from technical details to the past projects which have been exhibited.
As a group exploring site, our challenge is going to be using the space to its full potential and location; not just another projector screen. For example, im thinking we could place sensors and have the work respond to the adjacent train tracks or river. However, before we draw conclusions we will gather the full group at the location.
Here is the official signal website:
This evening our class met up at “Testing Grounds”, which is an open air artistic space in the heart of Melbourne. Located just behind the arts center the humble plot of land is disposable to any artist bold enough to utilize it.
Currently the Artist in residence/curator of the facility is a man who I only know by his codename “Joseph”. Joseph himself is currently developing a number of concepts based around projection, one of which is the Projector Pack™. Basically they are handheld projector and speaker systems which connect to iPods to create portable presentation devices. Our group was quite excited at the idea of being able to try these devices ourselves an taking them for a test run around the city, so that is what we did. Prior to the meeting at testing grounds we collected digital material which we desired to project, it was then loaded onto the iPods.
I personally opted to project an extended version of the silhouette video I had used in “Bush Funk” . My vision was based on the principle that black does not project, therefore it would look like the person was either empty or the only thing being projected. Hopefully this would create the illusion that it is interacting with the surface onto which it is being projected. This concept was only partially successful, for it to have worked the actual video should have been designed for it. However, it had been created as a dance clip, which made the shots too short and erratic to actually place properly, although it worked as a proof of concept.
For the evening I was on the documentary team, therefore I took video and still photos of the event, i have attached a small selection of the photos below.
One of the presentations I found particularly interesting was Rose’s. She played with the idea of eating in bathrooms. She placed together two things which we are taught should never associate with each other; food and bathrooms. The whole piece was done in a highkey-whiteish lighting, something which im noticing is part of Rose’s style of photography.
To add to the idea of unease the soundtrack of the short was an ominous clicking and panning. It varied very slightly, sometimes becoming unbearably loud and obnoxious.
I personally found this video to be extremely professional and quite enjoyable.
After the submission of our Project brief last week, we moved on to the in class screenings today. My project, titled ‘elevators’ can be found here:
Before I begin to discuss feedback i would like to acknowledge something. I had not watched the video fully until class this morning, so it was only once it was being screened that i realised i made a mistake. The photographs of from inside the lift looking out were supposed to occur only once, after the relevant title had been displayed. However, I realised later that they had been shown twice, contributing to the massive overtime
My feedback from the class was relatively positive. The shot of peoples reflections entering the lift was a favourite as it was ghostly and suspenseful an effect which was extenuated he music also added to this effect. The multiple lift door opening and closing edit was also appreciated, being described as “Very well done”. Finally it was pointed out that the elevator perspective looking out at the different spaces was quite intriguing. This is good as i had specifically intended this to happen; because this was in fact the argument of that shot.
Finally, there were also things which had been opened for improvement. The main thing was issues with the text, firstly I had multiple grammatical and spelling mistakes which was a massive oversight. However, secondary to that was that the text could have been not necessary at all. After giving the initial prompt about the philosophy of ‘elevator still existing when closed’, i could have left the rest up to peoples imaginations and reflections. The sound being ‘drony’ or not fluctuating enough was also something where there could have been improvement. It was suggested that if i had it stopping and starting it would have had more of an impact, giving people time to ponder things. Lastly, the ‘character’ or the observer of the piece was quite confusing as we see the camera early on, but then we see me later. I explained that the idea was that the camera was there alone with the elevator, one machine to another. It was commented that if this was my intention i should have reoccurred this theme.
Overall, the project seemed to have been a successful exploration of both my own artistic expression and elevators.
For Project brief 2 i decided to use Elevators as a Non-Place and explore the ways in which we interacted with them. The idea was that elevators are not unique, they all have the same features and are not strictly very defining as a place. However, once i started to photograph and film them i realised that i was wrong. It soon became apparent that the elevator is infact quite unique. Although every elevator has buttons, and sliding doors they can vary quite a bit in their appearance, the sounds they make and how quickly they work. This was an observation which could only be gathered through conscious engagement with an elevator. This is interesting in itself, because usually we dont pay any attention to the elevator, because we subconsciously consider it as a non place. However, upon inspection and elevator can be quite interesting.
My core assumption was once again proven wrong when i observed the frequency at which an elevator was used. During lunch time i was unable to find time alone in the elevator. I ended up travelling the 13 floor journey of building 8 approximately 7 times to get a clean photo. Thus the idea that elevators were not places was further challenged.
Lastly i settled upon the train of thought that an elevators function is what makes it significant, it is not a place but its ability to deliver us into a place defines its existence. Thus I decided to include photographs from ‘the elevators perspective’, which essentially looked out into the space the elevator delivers people too.
Due to the overwhelming changes in my original assumption i was unable to make a final statement on whether or not an elevator is a place. I decided to leave this up to the viewer of my 3minute video. It opens with the idea of an elevator only existing when it is inhabited by a person. The video goes black and white to show non existence. When the elevator then opens the colour is restored as the elevator now has meaning. The video then cycles through a series of photos taken from six different elevators on RMIT campus. The photos were all taken from the same relative positions inside the elevators, and while intending to show the similarities, the result is the contrast and uniqueness of elevators. This is also in a way what happened with the video of the doors opening and closing, the idea was to show that all elevators use the same sliding door mechanism and they are bland and similar. However, it ended up presenting me with a challenge when they were all so different and there were even one-sided sliding doors. Once again this only emphasised the uniqueness of elevators.
The soundtrack of the piece was all audio that was recorded inside the elevators, however it was manipulated to fill the piece with a very numbing and constant tone. Only occasionally when the video presented a question or when a certain action took place did the audio itself alter to enhance the change.
In conclusion, the exploration of place/non-place regarding elevators, is once which left me quite indecisive and in awe of the process of creating. It showed me that detachment from a desired artistic outcome is important, and there is not a solid line between place and non-place. This serendipity and flexibility is something which is becoming more and more apparent with my Media studies, something which has started to occur more frequently. I did a post about it in semester one: Which can be found here:
Today was the final tutorial of the week and it was mainly dedicated to editing Project Brief 2. While this was in progress the class consulted about which programs for editing we would like to learn. It seemed that the majority of interest was in learning Adobe Audition for sound editing. I personally have worked with Audition for most of my recent video projects, and thus have a working knowledge of its features, hopefully this will be useful in helping the class also learn.
The actual headway on project brief 2 was quite minimal. My laptop was freezing and was unable to properly render video. I had shot all my footage for PB2 the day previously, and was forced to work with a Nikon Camera. This in itself was an interesting experience, since i am only familiar with the operation of Canons. However, it can be seen as an opportunity, this is how i looked at it… and now… I can sorta use a Nikon!
Here is a picture of me taking a selfie with a 14mm Lens!
We opened the tutorial today by listening to this ominous little number by Alan Lamb.
The main theme was the manipulation of sounds. It was interesting to explore the idea that even the tiniest sound can be amplified and modulated to create a larger effect. For example, we took the sound of a guitar being slapped and manipulated it. The original sound alone was less than a second, but after
It sounded nothing like the original. Have a listen for yourself…
Everybody in the class meanwhile was working on their own sound. While I used a guitar slap others used bells, footsteps, key sounds, anything they had. We then played all our manipulated sounds at once and walked into the buildings elevator.
We created a strange symphony of sound which was interestingly disturbing…
For project brief 1 the idea was to explore our own spaces. Immediately when we consider our own space our eyes are drawn to the things which make it ours. In my case my focus became my belongings. However within this train of thought I considered the ways in which my belongings in the space are ultimately subject to the ways in which I choose to animate them. To translate this into simple English – my space is full of my belongings, and they are where they are because I put them there.
In the past I have reflected on my tendency to like order, I am by no means obsessed with it, however I have a tendency to place things in grids, rows and perpendicular lines. I decided to explore this tendency through the photographic sequence for the project. I decided to use high contrast photos with 0% colour saturation. The idea behind this was to draw a focus on the lines and shapes I had created with my belongings. In some cases I would slightly reposition the items in order for the photos composition to work. However I did not in any situation remodel the natural position of the objects.
While taking the photos I soon realized I was subject to an ongoing clash of personalies. I am on one hand orderly and squared while being opposed by my procrastinatory lazie self which leaves things in a mess. This inspired me to take the second installment of images. These are hastily framed, off kilter, highly saturated images with an overall feeling of claustrophobia. The idea was to contrast them as heavily as possible with the neat alignment of the initial images.
I know what you are thinking – Why is the title of this post “Summertime” – ITS FREEZING IN MELBOURNE!
… I agree…
But i was lucky enough to be overseas for the last six weeks. Long story short my parents live in the Czech Republic, this meant that i went to visit them in June. So while everybody in Melbourne was freezing – i was in 36 degree heat trying to stay cool. At the end of my stay i was asked to help mentor the Transformation for Peace (TFP) program. Ive been involved with this program for the past 4 years and was super excited about helping, even if it meant missing uni… Ooops. The program lasted 10 days, during which 86 Junior youth between the ages of 11 and 16 from all over the world came together to deepen themselves on making positive change.
I personally was involved with the “Stop-Motion” program, where the youth put together this small clip and then presented it at the end of the week to their parents.
Here is the clip:
The idea was to explore our control over our gifts and talents. In the clip the man who is able to control clothes looses control and decides to use his powers for evil and not good. Where in reality this is a choice.