Thursday, December 3, 2009

Performance 12/2

The performance on Wednesday, to me, went as close to perfect as I could have imagined. The illusion that we created through Don’s presence was believed seemingly undoubtedly by all to be true. The whole performance began with the screening of the film, which seemed to have a general good response, and just as it seemed that the audience began to feel somewhat bored with both us performing and the film on loop, Jill walked in a began a new layer to the performance as a whole. I noticed that a lot of people noticed Jill’s dissatisfaction and watched her walk out. This worked perfectly to solidify the “truth” of the situation. I thought Jill’s subtlety in her performance worked very effectively. As far as me, Andrew, Natalie, and Wesly’s performances, I think we never broke character and did a good job portraying the confusion of the situation. Many people commented that our reactions to Don was very “real”, with very one portraying a state of stoic confusion, apparently Natalie’s face was even blush red the entire time. As we walked out of the room, we could literally feel the tension of the people who questioned whether they were going to be kicked out of school, and what would inevitably happen to us.

For the Lecture next week, I would like to discuss the entire process that went behind this project. I think the most interesting point to expand upon is the evolution of all the ideas from what they began as, and what they have become. It will be important to discuss all of this in relation to our overarching concept, and the ideas we are commenting upon. I think people will be interested in hearing our reasoning behind both performance’s and the film itself. This project has a lot of depth, with two performances, a film, and a lot of theoretical commentary.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Fill in the blank/s

I will consider this event a success if – We are able to make the audience believe without question the illusion we have created. Holding the belief that what we, for the most part, believe and classify as “reality” is simple a construct of illusions and misconceptions,

Is success the right word?

How do you as an artist deem a work successful?

I feel like the word success carries a lot of baggage along with it. Saying there is a success inherently implies that there is also a failure, which in this case there could be none. If we are able to make the audience believe without question the illusion we have created than great. Exemplifying the theory that the belief that what we, for the most part, believe and classify as “reality” is simple a construct of illusions and misconceptions, our success could be measured in the weight of ideas transferred. This could show them that within the planes of their reality, there lays layer upon layer of illusions.

If they see through our performance and never believe a word it, than the message will still be engraved into their minds. Transcending them out of the realm of basic performance, into that of “meta-performance”, showing the process and naked truth of the illusion and how it has been constructed. This could lead the viewer to question the constructs of illusions engrained within our world, deconstructing the very notion, within their minds, of what is real and what sails fluidly within the world of apparitions.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Performance Review

I feel that the performance was an overall success. It was effective to establish interest in these four characters by forcing the audience to question the relation to our characters to each other, but more importantly to the viewer themselves. We've now engraved ourselves within the subconscious of all who viewed the performance, which when it comes time for the movie screening, will work in our favor.

It was important that we did not have any sort of interaction with the audience, r to stimulate curiosity, and as a whole, we did this very effectively. We all managed to ignore people speaking directly to us, avoid direct eye contact, and create a general separation between "us" and "them". The most effective point in the performance, to my mind, was when Wesly did his scream. Just as the audience had accepted what we were doing, and the general confusion (or curiosity) had subsided, Wesly's scream silenced the entire room (even for just on moment) and drew our performance back into the center of attention.

The audience seemed generally confused, many of them asking us what was going on, which, yielded no results for them. The audiences reactions to our non-responsiveness varied from "Oh, this is a performance" to being angry that they were being ignored. We successfully created an illusion that we did not exist on the same plane as them, as if what was occurring in the reality of the situation was not occurring to us.

Personally, I was pleased that I managed to look no persons in the eyes (excluding those performing with me). Going in I was afraid that I may break character and laugh at the situation, but generally, I feel that I managed to keep it together. I wanted to stare through people, not at them; I guess to me, it is far more unnerving to be completely not recognized rather than ignored.

We documented the event through still photography. We had a friend lined up to show p as we were performing and take photos of us, the audience, and all surroundings of the scene.

I have always been interested in incorporating performance in my work, but have always had inhibition when dealing with staying in character effectively. This performance helped me get over that, I showed myself that If I really do concentrate on getting into the psychology of the character beforehand, that I can remove myself from myself and live vicariously through said character.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Meaning of Wine stunt/ entire performance

Comment on marketing using edgy tactics to appeal to teens. Television is loaded with imagery and symbols to create an image of the cutting edge, when in reality, they are simply selling false ideals. The realization that the wine bottle are filled with colored water will hopefully force the viewer to question the illusion of the television to which they invest their time. These images are not real, they are all illusions, the very idea of television is a marketing dream. All persons sitting still, captured by projected light plots, waiting patiently for the next stream of advertisements.

We would like the idea of FREE! FREE! FREE! Everything to be the main reason people show up to our screening. We will serve them half eaten, left over food, and Fake wine, destroying their illusions of their American ideal. We wish to show that within our consumerist economy, all that is truly bought and sold are false illusions of a family (or personal) ideal.

Rather than watching programming or marketing ploys on the television screens, we will be watching ourselves existing on the screen. People should look deeper into their motivations behind investing so much of themselves into a consumer illusion. We must look into ourselves. There is nothing for us upon this screen, only the flickering of dim specters, which propagate our ideals for us. We must take agency upon on our own minds, we must combat the circulation of a system which dictates what it is that we desire. We can’t live these false dreams. Let’s breath in the sun, Exhale the moon.

If your mind could be projected upon the television screen, what would appear? Would you bathe in the shimmering light of enlightened hearts, or drift helplessly upstream through a river of “have” and “have not’s”. To which have you been placed?

Watch TV, it is easy. spoon feed what is right and what Is wrong, what you need and what you don’t. Lay there awaiting the dawn of the next Sun sale, 20.00 dollars off! NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE! There’s no motivation, needn’t be any.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I’ve been thinking of absurdity in the sense of it’s use as a noun, “quality or condition of existing in an irrational world”. To develop a character from that Idea, I would like to view the character’s actions or situation as more of an absurdity. I feel that in a lot of ways, the way we view the world, or under which pretenses we accept reality becomes very irrational through means of logic and rationalization. We build constructs or prototypes of ideals in which we wish everything to fit, as we experience it. I think rather than placing the absurd within the mind of the human, one must see that the world, and it’s perpetration, is not based on an simple logic. The moon rises and it falls, we know this, and we know, in terms of it’s relations to our earth it has a purpose., but it’s logic in relation to us, metaphysically does not seem possible to reduce.

I see the way people react within the world is more of a response of irrationality and absurdity, rather than being absurd themselves.

How does your character think?

He thinks as a reactionary. He sifts through a world which he/she believes to be irrational in it’s logic and constructs of standard ideals, and responds to it in seemingly “irrational” ways. Reacting to societies irrationality by acting in ways Society deems irrational.

How does your character think he/she think?

He thinks that the way he/she is acing is not irrational. He doesn’t view people actions as irrational. He thinks that he thinks in terms of subversion.

What do they want?

He wants to subvert the idea of this irrationality of behavior. He wishes to point out through his actions that the

What do they think they want?

He thinks that he wants understanding. He wants for society to break down walls of separations based on material and idealogical preference, and begin building a stream of understanding.

What is their truth (mythology)?

His mythology lies heavily in a connection or oneness through a universal consciousness. A connection with the natural world and humankind. Believes in an undeniable connection between all ideas and existence.

What is their REAL truth or mythology?

His REAL truth, in terms of tangible properties of truth or mythology is that he is a human. He exists in the world. Outside of the world of science there can be no essential truth, aside from his biology or anatomy, he has no REAL truth.

What do they need?

Needs soundness of mind. Needs to feel that through his existence, he’s perpetuated the cycle of cognitive progression. Though he is flawed by thinking that one must consciously do this.

What do they think they need?

He thinks he needs to represent his ideals and build them prominently within the world’s consciousness.

What actions does the character undertake?

Very animated and borderline a typical, example (in first film having character eat and throw up flowers) not that specifically but surreal acts which could represent his connection within the world and humankind.

What does the character think they do?

He thinks he exists more in the world of ideas and symbols rather than the tangible/physical world.

What does the audience need?

To understand is way of thinking or his psychology, they must understand him in order for him to perpetuate his ideals.

How can you push them to understand?

Through symbols and actions. engulfing himself in symbols, and his reaction to them.

What do they feel?

How important are the acts undertaken by the character?

Very, they must represent his ideas. Ideas must be expressed tangibly in order for them to be exposed. Either through word, art, or action (all of which are interlinked)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Concept

My film will deal with the relationship between poetry and short film. More so, in the sense of the immediacy and expression of mood rather than narrative.

It will be composed of 3 segments, each representing an individual character.

Each individual will choose a poem they have written specifically to represent a specific land(dream) scape. The film will aim to portray the mood/atmosphere of these landscapes

the first part of each segment will show a portrait of the subject shot shoulder up. They will be in complete darkness only illuminated by projected light upon their face. The light will be "readymade" footage that relates to a tangible representation of the mood filling their mind. They will stare into the camera, seemingly mentally engulfed by the light.

Then it will cut to the same character existing within the world created through their poem, with them reading said poem. These landscapes will be decided upon by deliberation between me and the poet in order to tangibly recreate the mood of the poem.

LAst shot will be a landscape with nobody existing within it, but all 3 characters reading a poem that has taken parts of all of their previous poems, re contextualizing lines, and creating a new poem, which all 4 (characters and myself) will read in synch.

Film will ultimately show the loss of individuality in ideas (or ideals) once entered into the realm of the collective conscious, including them in a broader picture, effecting the entire shape of human knowledge rather than there own/.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Concept for Film 4

I want to work within the idea of short film as related to poetry. In terms of writing, poetry is the most immediate form, lending itself to an exploration of metaphysics rather than the world of the language itself.

I want to rework an idea that was the basis of a photo assignment in which I tried to document the idea of light (or energy) passing from the mind of the artist, through a camera lens, and surrounding the subject of the photograph, inevitably resulting in painted light upon film. I did not see the final photo series as a success because the medium made a large disconnect from the narrative of the piece. I want to try this idea once more, but through, what I feel, is a more suitable medium.

I’m going to create a metafilm of sorts. Showing the entire moment of a photographs conception from the mind of the artist all the way to the film in the camera, which forever engraves this fleeting moment into the universal consciousness.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Artist Statement

I am an undergraduate student at the Memphis College of Art, concentrating on Photography, and more recently filmmaking. Stalemate is an exploration of the psychology of two central characters. The first; a man who derives his knowledge of the metaphysical world through use of theory, sees the world through the pages of his book. The second derives his understanding from experience, throwing himself deep within the grasp of the natural world. The film attempts to study this split, depicting the two characters meeting for a game of chess, which results in a stalemate; showing that one process of cognitive progression does no supersede another.


Dichotomy between theory and experience. Two characters wander, seeking truth within their worlds. Each with opposing means of discovery. Each with a common destination; a game of chess.

Maya Derrin

I was most impressed with Derrin's play between the real and surreal, blending them together, forming a strange new reality. The moment in "At Land" where she is climbing the tree and them, she has climbed up onto the party where see discovers the man playing chess is a great example of this. As surreal as this idea is, at no point did I question that it had happened, or that it could. Also, in Meshes in the Afternoon, the moment where the shadow reaches for the flower and for a moment, it appears to be holding it plays with the same idea.

From a more basic film point of view, her camera angles are really great, especially the way she shows angles of doorways and walls (usually tilted, creating strange angels)

At land is also eerily similar to the movie that I'm turning in today. that was surprising!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Assignment # 2 write up.

As opposed to my first project, this one frame at a time assignment began in a far more specific direction. I had a fairly certain idea of what it was to be achieve in terms of aesthetics and concept. The main concept was an attempt to illustrate a flow of knowledge or ideas throughout the world. A book rises from it's shelf, places itself upon the grass, opens and suddenly the world (a flower; nature) rises from it. In this instance, the viewer of the film becomes the sole witness to this event. Through these ideas, a circular pattern of cognitive process, the passing of knowledge through the world's consciousness. The flower explodes, and then is closed into the book, forming a union between knowledge gained through study (book) and that of experience (flower/world).

Aesthetically, I thought the lush green of the plots of grass, and the brown of the book would contrast well, both being earth tones. At first, there was some thought of a different background for the piece, but inevitably, I liked the idea of the black background with some light reflecting from it (about every frame I changed the position of a piece of wood laying on the garbage bag to simulate movement of light. Also, almost every frame, the grass was ruffled to attempt to give it continuous movement.

In Postproduction, a lot was done in photoshop. All sequences of the book opening itself up required the removal of my hand from ten to 15 frames. After the removal of the hands, I drop all the photos into istopmotion to arrange the frames in the appropriate way. The scene of the flower grown from the book was done in reverse, actually being shot as if the flower were receding into the book, then later was reversed to show growth.

The music chosen is actually from a band named Comus (same as the book) which has an entire album based on the beast Comus, of which the book describes. The song is titled "Winter is a Colored Bird". Comus was originally chosen for their sound which typically comes of as medieval english witches, which this song being the most tame under those terms. I thought the lightness of the song added a nice airy flow to the whole piece.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Finalized idea for stop motion project # 2.

The camera will start on a stack of books (as they would appear on a shelf). One book will slide out from the shelf and open itself laying out on the floor. a flower will begin to grow out of it, and as each frame progresses, at the very bottom, the stem will start to become covered in text from the book (each frame will hold a growth of the flower itself, as well as the text moving up the flower, eventually covering all parts (pedals included)). A hand will come into the frame, and pick the flower from the book, and as soon as the flower has been detached from it's roots, the text will begin to cover the entirety of the arm shown. But, as the text progresses through objects, eventually the bottom of the flower will begin to become uncovered, as if it's a specific amount of text running a course through many different objects.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ideas for next film.

Idea # 1

A frame by frame animation documenting the entirety of a chess game. Have two players (myself and one of my friends); neither of which would be visible in any of the shots, play a real game, and photograph the board after every move. We would play until there was a game that occurred which could sustain a long enough movie. The frames would be taken from an overhead view of the board. All the pieces moving in somewhat fast time would, aesthetically, create a great flow across the board. PIeces would move very rhythmically and mechanically due to the strategic nature of the game.

Idea # 2
Also a frame by frame animation, this time of a book removing itself from its self, moving about the floor (or whichever space it would be in) and begin to create forms with the pages within. The idea of pulling pages out and cutting images from them, and having them grow out, or interact with the book seems like an interesting idea as well. The goal would be, in the end, to create a world purely grown from the pages of a book, existing on (or inside) the book itself.

Idea # 3

Based on the short part included in my previous film with the flowers flying backwards into the mouth of one of the characters. Experiment with similar imagery (natural) growing in and out of objects, probably ones around my apartment. Would show naturepersonal space, sort of a flip of the reality of the situation, in which, or persona infesting personal space impede nature. I'd like to experiment more with having these objects grow out of humans, I thought, out of my entire first project, that scene (stated above) was the biggest aesthetic success. I feel I should keep experimenting with the idea, flush it out.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Assignment #1 Write up

For this first assignment, my approach was purely experimentation. I based most of my decisions as far as scenes and shots based on aesthetics. I wrote out a few different images that I imagined would be particularly interesting, and came up with a sequence of images that all fit a particular mood. The overall tone of the film drove it toward the occult and/or mysticism. The piece was shot in my apartment utilizing things already existing within the space. The actors were my three roommates and myself. Each has a certain character they seem to frequent in performance, so, I let them decide what to wear and their actions. All scenes were improvised with little direction. I shot it on a handheld usb camcorder, shooting each scene as a different clip.

As far as postproduction, I edited the piece with after effects, a program I had never used before and just learned as I went along. I flipped through each individual clip (there ended up being about 20 of them) and found certain images that I found successful, after which finding a logical way to sequence them, and tried to create a story from there. In the end, It seems that each character has a certain story behind them. The white phantom and the other hooded apparition play a game, the phantom searching for knowledge, while the hooded apparition delves deeply in his mind, inevitably loosing control. The game they play is that of power. Introvert vs. Extrovert. The gypsy character sits back and tells the fortune (or misfortune) of each player. Lastly, the Christ figure (or anti) haunts the White phantom as he treks toward cognitive progression. In the end, they take their moves (in the game of chess); and let the world fall around them, going back to the beginning ( looking inside themselves for what it is they seek) and experience spiritual bliss.

The music was a last minute decision. I was inspired Kenneth Anger, in his utilization pop music of the 60’s as the soundtrack to somewhat cult like occurrences. I thought it would be an uncomfortable contrast in the mind of the viewer, possibly making them uneasy. I feel like it throws more and more emotions at them that way. I also did a version with the sound reversed with delay on it, I feel this is probably more fitting, but I think I am happier with the musical version. Hopefully, they won’t know what to feel. Though, I’m not sure if I think the music was a COMPLETE success. If I had more time to work on it, I’m certain I could arrange it more successfully.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


what is its value? is its withering away good or bad? neither or both?

In historical terms, the "aura" of a certain piece of art is a description of the divine mythology placed around the works themselves. Something that could NEVER be recreated, The artist, the genius, through their transcendental visions has created this masterpiece, never to be recreated, and accepted to never be fully understood. The value of this, is that of the masses fearing god, of firm believe in capital, of war; accepting something you have no hope in fully understanding. This allows for plenty of room for deception. With no hope of reproduction, art becomes susceptible to a hierarchy placing the most "divine" at the top, never to be reproduced; who would want to slap the divine in the face? The withering away of this concept is not only good, but necessary. "To pry an object from its shell, to destroy its aura, is the mark of a perception whose “sense of the universal equality of things” has increased to such a degree that it extracts it even from a unique object by means of reproduction." Once this divine "aura" has been stripped from art, the possibilities are endless. Mechanical reproduction allows for art and ideas to be streamed through the masses, and thus, a consciousness of cognitive progression is born. The destruction of the "aura" takes the art from the upper class to the low, allowing for ideas of revolution and progression to ensue.

how can today’s films (focus on one) be understood in terms of Benjamin’s ideas about the aura and mechanical reproduction?

Man Ray's "Emak Bakia Cinepoem" takes both objects of "aura" (The sea, flowers, eyes) and representations of a new, aura-less art and records them on an infinitely reproducible medium. This flower is no longer something divine, to be gazed at from a distance, it is no longer pure. It simply exists in this man's film. Nothing more, nothing less. Streams of photogramed nails fall through the screen, showing the mechanical advances of the modern age. Images of the mechanical and artistic progress of the days placed right alongside images blessed with the aura of nature, neither showing more significance, both simply existing equally next to one another.

what role does their “readymade” status play in this?

Film and Photography have proven to be the destruction of "aura". Strips of film are pre made, and ready to be used by ANYONE. Machines (cameras) have been made to record any images one desires to capture. This takes away all uniqueness, in terms of aura, away from the art. This art is not divine, it is man made, all of these images already exist. Man Ray takes readymade objects, then bends and refracts lights around them to re-contextualize them as nothing more than a part in the swirled nonsense.