PROJECT STATEMENT

Prismatic flares surge his mind’s 

Rivers; obscuring hellish

Memoirs with gallant veneer.

Real war, his war: at war. 

Kaleidoscopic Reverie explores the inner turmoil of a returned soldier as, erratically, he reminisces on his experiences in the war. The fast-paced rhythm of the piece reflects the rapidly chopping and changing rhythm of his memories, as they bounce, like streams of light, throughout his imagination. Thus, explosions of colour, and the patterns created through rhythmic editing contrast with moments of decay; which slowly come to consume his hyper-real memories in order to depict a duplicitous remembrance of war: the glorified and the actual.

A detailed outline of my artistic process can be found underneath the video below.

WARNING: This video contains images of war, which may be distressing for some individuals.

EXPLORATION OF CAMERALESS FILM 

 

In the creation of my experimental film project, I used a variety of cameraless film techniques; including:

  • Scratching
  • Bleaching
  • Coloration (by painting, and using felt-tip pens)

My process of working with the physicality of film is outlined in blog posts here and here.

CONCEPT

For this project, I experimented with 16mm film using cameraless and digital techniques. The content for this project was sourced from the university, and the meaning of the project was shaped as the footage was edited together, resulting in the work above.

EDITING

The physicality of the film influenced my style of editing, as I aimed to imitate the cameraless techniques using the digital process of post-production editing. Some of my main considerations when editing are outlined below.

I aimed to explore irregular rhythms in juxtaposition to a regular rhythm. I did this by editing my clips to music (so that a regular 4/4 time could be established through the length of the clips). I then listened for the irregularities within the music (off-beats, back-beats etc.) and began layering clips which aligned with these moments, thus creating an irregular rhythm. Overall, this rhythmic editing style came to reflect the rhythms of the soldier’s thoughts as they rapidly chopped and changed. I also utilised discontinuity editing to structure the piece – as it temporally progresses to appear more alike to a Surrealist montage than a narrative-centred cinematic piece.

I used layering in order to create complex images within the piece. Most predominantly, I utilised a double exposure effect, and experimented with rotation, flipping, and blend modes. In addition I utilised repetition of clips in combination with a reverse effect to create the illusion that moments were being replayed in real time.

INFLUENCES

Tacita Dean – FILM

Something that was characteristic for me when viewing Tacita Dean’s FILM was her use of vivid colours. For me, this contrasted the array of sepia and black and white found footage I was using for my project, thus, giving it a modern-edge. So, colour became one of the main components I explored through my editing process.

Another thing that interested me was Tacita’s discussion (see the video above) of flash frames, and how – although they are traditionally discarded – she embraced them within her work. I reflected this within my own work by using flash frames at regular intervals (pictured below) to create a regular rhythm.

The Kuleshov Effect 

My use of discontinuity editing was heavily influenced by the idea of placing different images ahead of a recurring image in order to create new meaning. This is reflected in the repetitious use of the profile clip of the man, combined with various clips of war footage to connote that he is reflecting upon memories and re-experiencing them.

Bill Morrison – Light Is Calling

The effects achieved by Morrison through his cameraless techniques produced visually stunning decay which I wanted to replicate within my own work. What interested me was that often, the decay was shaped around the central point of the image – allowing the viewer to still comprehend what was happening in the clip itself. So, throughout the progression of my piece the digitally-created decay allows images to be seen through it at first, but, slowly takes over the entire image, like a parasite devouring its host. And, as such, the soldier’s thoughts are symbolised through this decay, as they slowly consume him.

 

Martin Arnold – Passage A La Carte

What interested me about Arnold’s piece was the meticulous repetition of short frames. I applied this technique to my own editing process, repeating short frames to create a rhythm that was visually representent of the digital-noise-like audio that resulted from Arnold’s experimentation. Thus, creating a subtle digital decay which complements the organic decay I created in response to Morrison’s work.

The Trip 

The fast-paced, repetitious editing style of the scene from 50:29-52:05 in the clip below heavily informed by vivid, ‘trippy’, and psychedelic aesthetic.

 

Edwin Starr – War (What is it good for?)

As I edited my work in relation to its thematic concerns, I felt that Edwin Starr’s lyrics “what is it good for?” were highly applicable and decided to incorporate them into my work through the use of text (pictured below)

4 Comments

  1. I’m curious about one thing: relative to the extensive discussion of your aesthetic method, there’s less said about the source of your images, and the ethical framing of your generic soldier. So if I want to know for example why you chose a male soldier, I’m not sure if I’ve missed a kind of “content statement” somewhere? Or what literature on trauma also lies behind this work, because I feel sure it does.

    (Another little thing related to this: did you consider a content warning, in case someone who sees it has life experience in this realm?)

    The film is beautiful and really absorbing, especially in its references to other filmic traditions. But I wonder if I can say this because what it shows is nowhere near my own life experience. With all this in mind, what’s the next step for your interpretive work, in terms of relationality?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kate,

      Thanks for your feedback, I really appreciate it.

      The video I produced was for an assessment task where we were to experiment with 16mm film and digital editing. So, the content of the clips was sourced from film reels provided by the university and it just so happened that a majority of the celluloids I ended up experimenting on contained war footage. So, in combination with the clip of the man, my meaning was shaped as I edited the footage together. The work, for me was more heavily focused on experimentation with the physicality of film, rather than producing a conceptual work. I.e. I didn’t begin the project with the thematic concerns of representing a ‘generic’ male soldier reminiscing on his experiences in the war in mind, but this meaning was formed as the work progressed. I am considering adding in a short clip which shows the original footage in comparison to the final product so that the artistic process of experimentation which drove my project can become clear for readers.

      I will amend my post in consideration to your comments. As I feel that a paragraph about the content itself could be useful so that readers outside of the subject are able to understand where the content came from and why. I will also add a trigger warning, as it does contain scenes of war which may be traumatic for some individuals, I should have done this originally, but admittedly I forgot.

      I do intend to add this project to my Portfolio, and use the skills that I gained in creating it to inform my future works. Later on this semester, I will be producing another experimental media arts project, and I want to experiment with an installation work for this project. I am really fond of the aesthetic that I was able to produce for this project, so I will allow that to inform the next work that I produce, so that they are able to form a connected body of work.

      Kind Regards,

      Jasmyn Connell

      Like

  2. Oh thank you so much for this explanation. I do think it’s a good idea to put it in the post, along with a content warning.

    And I like the aesthetic too. As I watched it I found myself thinking about really imaginative art work I’ve seen co-created with service users in health and mental health projects. The opportunity that opens up for you as a filmmaker beyond this is to think about working with life experience, once you’re technically confident in working with found footage. (The difficulty always with found footage is that accidental importing of both stereotype and trauma that goes with it. But the relational challenges of working with life experience are a step up again.)

    Your pigeonhole project is also very much on my mind at the moment as I’m beginning work in a local health context to understand how patients see themselves, and how they negotiate the often stigmatising labels that diagnosis can bring. Creating agency in self-presentation for people whose experience is managed inside complex systems is so important.

    Thank you for this terrific response. I’m learning a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kate,

      I very much agree with you – the stereotypes and trauma attached to my found footage ended up shaping its meaning.

      Maybe it could be beneficial to implement a personal reflection in the form of a Pigeon Hole style exercise. As someone who has experienced the diagnosis of a mental health issue, I understand the importance of steering your self-reflection away from stigmatised labels in order to be able to overcome the challenge that the diagnosis presents. This was actually a major contributing factor to my creation of the Pigeon Hole project, and continues to influence a lot of my media art works.

      Not a problem, I appreciate your continual support and feedback very much!

      Liked by 1 person

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