Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cherries, collaboration, other things....

And, finally, the moment of truth: My video is inspired by the quote,
"The cherries had been plucked at
midnight, and
the coldness of the moon had entered into them."
Quite possibly the most beautiful combination of words that has ever been spoken or written in the history of the universe. I knew I must use these words for something the moment I read them in Oscar Wilde's classic book, "The Picture of Dorian Gray."

•Video will revolve around anxieties and depressive feelings about winter

•Set in a dreary winter day

•Will revolve around the feeling of absolute cold

•Not a literal interpretation of the text-more about the imagery of cold, winter, cherries

Partial storyboard/ line that I came up with:
1.Starts with quote being spoken 

2.Slowly pans/fades into an image of person (me) sitting on a chair

3.Long, straight-on, agonizing shot of me

4.Maybe views from the side as well

5.Would like there to be fades in and out throughout the shot

6.Ending- TBA

(I am very reluctant to give away too many details, as you can see.)

Cinematography that has inspired me recently:

"The Tree of Life," 2011 Terrence Malick 

Sounds that I find to be appealing:
Dolphins Into the Future for "Canto Arquipelago," 2012

For my video, here are some ideas I had for sounds and what each sound will represent:
Occasional attack to reflect anxious mood

•Some percussive sounds: anxiety

•White noise background: also anxiety

•Vocals: discomfort

•Low Bass: depressive mood

•Violin: melancholy

•Saxophone: discomfort

I have met with my two collaborators, and we seem to be on the same page. It is weird for me to collaborate with people, quite honestly. The only other person I have really collaborated with is my boyfriend, and it was less of a collaboration and more of me telling him what to do. This is a good thing for me to learn, and also for my composers to learn.

Monday, January 23, 2012

In(capable of)Design

Cover Image

So, I think I made an okay book in InDesign. I'm not totally sure. I found the program to be a bit confusing. But then again I thought Final Cut Pro was confusing too, and now I'm like, acceptable at it...I think. Anyways, I had to export my project as a PDF at least 20 times to get a sense of what it actually looks like. I wish there was a "Preview" button in InDesign like there is in Blogger so that I could see what I am doing. I have never really thought of myself as a designer, so a program called "InDesign" is relatively intimidating just by default.

Technical difficulties aside, I do like my concept. Like my video for this project I decided to focus on color and the idea that color (because color in food equals health) is just a mirage in the food desert. I grouped images together that I thought encompassed the ideas of scenery, water, health, growth, and, of course, color. The images were mostly horizontal, at first except for the last page where there was one page of vertical pictures, but then I reorganized and made everything horizontal. I tried to accurately portray a kind of relational aesthetic with this photo set. Although I didn't do much interacting with people on my walk, I think these logos and colorful images acted as a kind of interpersonal reaction, because it is people who made these signs, people who want me to look at them and think that they are selling colorful, healthy food.

I wasn't sure how to post a link to my PDF, but here is a link to my Flickr Set as a reminder of which images I used.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Is Food Just A Mirage in the Food Desert?

"Division to Badger Street"

On my journey through the Appleton Food Desert, I decided to focus on color. More specifically, I decided to focus on the idea that good nutrients and antioxidants are found in foods that contain a lot of color. I figured since there is not a lot of healthy food available in the food desert, there would not be a lot of colorful foods in my tract of the desert. So, what I decided to capture on my journey was pictures or advertisements of food in restaurants or stores that portrayed the food they sell as very colorful. This was my "event score," as mentioned in the article "Auto-Maticity," by Margaret Iverson, that dictated what my journey would focus on.What I found was a lot of colorful posters, pictures of fake fruits, and allusions to animals or wildlife. I didn't just want to capture the boring streets of College Avenue, so the challenge that I gave myself made it really fun.

In my video, I inserted a couple of these images of "color in the desert," but I wanted to focus also on the actual food that I ended up buying. I wanted to give the impression in the video that it was hard to find healthy food in the desert...because it was! Instead of documenting myself eating the food, I made a more abstract version of the journey by including some of the food that I bought in the video, portraying it as a sort of illusion or mirage. I was trying to expand on the idea of the "Journey Form" that Nicolas Bourriaud talks about in "The Radicant." Specifically I liked the quote that he mentions by Victor Segalen: "My journey is (...) a confrontation, in the field, between the imaginary and the real," because my video focuses on the idea of mirage. On my journey I encountered many mirages of healthy food: pictures of fruits and animals that made it seem as though there was a plethora of color surrounding me. But when it came down to it, finding actual healthy food was difficult, just like a real journey through a real desert.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Picturebook vs. Art Book

Cover of Jane Eyre by New York: Random House

I originally  looked through all the art books looking for a book layout that I liked, but in the end, decided on a classic, Jane Eyre, to serve as my book layout inspiration. I can use this book as an example of how images are used in books because it has beautiful illustrated pictures interspersed throughout.The front and back covers of the book are entirely taken up by a drawing. There is no title on the front cover of the book, which adds an element of mystery to it. The title is found only on the spine, and it is in a simple font with elegant embellishments surrounding it. The title page is my favorite page of the book because of the way it combines text and image. There is a drawing of a tree with a man on a horse underneath it and the title of the book with the author is placed right in the middle of this drawing. When images are used throughout the book, they take up the entire page, and there is only one image per page. The text on the page is divided into two sections, a left hand and a right hand section. At the top of the pages there is elegant text with the title of the book.

Even though this is not an art book, it is very artfully made, and the integration of text with images are what I will mimick with my book layout.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cook Crash Course

Nummer Twee by Guido Van Der Werve

Cathy Cook's visit was a gift that brightened a snowy day. Not only was she a great speaker, but her crash course on film-making techniques and use of text in video was invaluable to our film-making careers. I found all of her examples to be very relevant to our upcoming collaboration with Asha Srinivasan's composition class, but there was one in particular that stood out to me, and most likely to everyone in the class. Guido Van Der Werve's quirky, 2 minute 40 second video Nummer Twee (uploaded above in disappointingly bad quality), is a prime example of how text should be used in film. To me, text should not be used to tell us how should feel or what we should see when watching a video, but instead should be used as a part of the art itself. In other words, it should be used as a catalyst that sets the video in motion, not as a stepping stone that dictates how we feel at certain points during the film. Nummer Twee succeeds in posing delicate questions about life and death, motivation and purpose, all by using about four sentences that set the tone for the entire piece. It is eery and provacative, and has given me several ideas for our upcoming project.

Besides her examples, Cathy also talked about the importance of making storyboards when doing video. I don't think I have ever actually made a storyboard before, choosing to just rely on the chaos that's in my head to help me come up with a more interesting idea, which works sometimes, but not all the time. For this project I will definitely utilize the storyboard when making my video to see what comes of it. Not only is it a good organizational tool but seeing your thoughts laid down on paper can help you better articulate whether or not this is an idea that should be expanded on, discarded, or left untouched.

Cathy Cook's talk enlightened me to many of the things I should probably already know as a beginning filmmaker, and I'm so happy that I had the chance to hear her speak.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bernard Gilardi- Basement Visionary

Pink and Pallor, Bernard Gilardi

For the first time last night a lecture became a source of comfort on a Friday evening gone horribly wrong. As I headed back to my dorm room after many failed attempts to reach social competency, it dawned on me: I don't have to go out on Fridays. For 50 some years, Bernard Gilardi probably didn't go out very much at all, and the result was a basement of visionary paintings filled with references to counter culture, religion, and, oddly enough, Wisconsin. I don't think my Friday evenings, should I choose to spend them in pajamas rather than high heels, would ever prove to be as fruitful as Gilardi's, however, there is a comfort in knowing that a fantasy world, one created inside of your head, can be much more enticing than the world a couple of residence halls over, where the booze and loud music create a false sense of excitement into the late hours of the night.

By looking at Gilardi's work, I can easily tell that he was not tempted by the pull of cheap entertainment and frivolous interactions with people. In his head, people were strange beings, and he paints them thus in his plethora of assorted portraits. Maybe this is why he spent so much time in his basement: because he saw humanity as too strange to interact with. In his isolation he was able to discover more truths about humans than he could through interacting with them. His paintings, though often whimsical, offer fresh new takes on subjects that have been beaten to a pulp. The birth of Jesus, to Gilardi, could have taken place in Wisconsin, and Mary could have been wearing red heels at the time. His wittiness and secret messages in his paintings, such as the cleverly placed "WisconsIN RIbbon Company" above a burning cross, show that he was very insightful, and probably would have brought joy to many people had he chosen to interact with them more often. Instead, he left behind his paintings, and in this way he will offer insight to those who are lucky enough to see them. For this we can be thankful that Gilardi chose the basement over the real world. Maybe if more people chose to analyze life from their basements, they could save themselves from the strangeness of humanity that Gilardi so accurately portrays.