Friday, March 19, 2010

Wondering Aimlessly

My film is meant as a kind of walk through someone's mind while they are sleeping and dreaming.

I started off this video project doing a series of interviews with people, asking them about their dreams. After reviewing the 12 or so interviews that I conducted, I started thinking about how i could show those dreams in a film.

I introduce the film with some of the interviewees talking about how aware they are of the fact that they are dreaming. I did this in order to orient the viewer with the subject at hand, and I also thought it would be sweet for credits. The sleeping state in the film is symbolized by someone walking down a hallway and opening doors into different dream sequences.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Radicant, part the Third.

Thus, we move along representations of the world; we practice translation and organize the discussions that will give rise to a new common intelligibility. This is all the more important today-- amid the constant unrest caused by economic globalization-- since reification has never wielded its power so complete nor with such diversity. Faced with the challenge it poses to culture and art, we must therefore set things in motion again --start a counter-movement-- by beginning a new exodus. (Bourriaud, 182)

Crap Art
Lowbrow (includes what James Danky was talking about)
"Youtube is a great way to show your art" ...???

Sunday, March 7, 2010

James Danky and Comix

James Danky recently visited Lawrence University to give a talk on what was advertised as underground comics. He spoke a lot about the "trinity" of sex, drugs, and rock and roll which all inspired the different art movements including comics in the 60s and 70s.

I related Danky's talk to John McKinnon's talk on Andy Warhol a few weeks ago. This is because of how he spoke about his goal of bring the comic art form into galleries, and moving up how it was viewed from low to high art form. The thing that really emphasized this comparison of low and high art form for me was the juxtaposition between pictures from graphic novels and pictures of famous paintings and statues that Danky included in his slide show. I never really thought of comics as drawing from higher art forms, but I was able to see the connection when he placed the works of art next to the excerpts from the comic books. Nowadays, comics are regarded more highly than they used to be, and it is not completely uncommon to see something that looks like a comic in a museum.

Roy Lichtenstein is an example of an artist whose work is exhibited in museums, and who drew his inspiration from comics. He started this style as a comic inspired painter when his young son challenged him when looking at a Mickey Mouse comic, saying "I bet you can't draw as good as that dad!" And here is a painting displayed in Tate Modern in London that shows where he has taken his art since that statement:

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mass Market of Art

Nicholas Bourriaud talks in his book The Radicant about the rise in mass marketing in the 1990s. This was due mainly to the existence of the internet. In order to make up for this lack or original items based on quantity rather than quality, smaller shops like boutiques tried to emphasize an object's originality, "denying the existence of quantity, creating the illusion of scarcity, and playing on the obscure nostalgia for privation (Bourriaud, 105)." He adds the point that this all indicates that a product's uncommonness is more important that what it was made out of, or how it was really made.

This made me really think over what it is that we value in our culture and I believe that it is true that if something seems to be "original" people think it's cooler or more valuable even if it's technically not. This is also very relevant to contemporary art. Nowadays people seem to just be trying to do something rare, something that will shock people, something that hasn't been done before... and they aren't necessarily valuing anymore what the effort was, and the materials went into it.

Now I'm pretty sure that this video clip from Monty Python's Flying Circus is totally relevant. A lot of people loved this show, and a lot of people didn't understand it, or they didn't want to. It was something new and shocking at the time, yet it was fairly simple.

Beirut... the band!!

The other day I stumbled across a Beirut video on youtube, and I found myself completely entranced by it. I'm not sure exactly how to explain my current obsession, but it definitely has a lot to do with the creativity of both the music and the filming process. For example, not only is the following video set up in an unconventional way, but they are playing the music with random items like pool cues and ping pong paddles.

Each of the three full length albums evokes a different place. The first album found its inspiration when Zach Condon (Beirut started as his solo project) traveled around Europe after dropping out of high school. While he was there, he was exposed to Balkan folk music, which is definitely very evident in the music that he started playing after this. The second album has a heavy French feel because Condon was very into French chanson and the time. And the third album has a Mexican influence as Condon had just come back from a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. He even got musicians from a small village outside of Oaxaca to play on this album.

The way that Condon is inspired by his own experiences is very related to the project that I am working on now because it draws from the experiences of others (in the form of dreams), and my experiences with also play an important role in how I put it together. I'd really like to learn from the filming styles of Beirut's videos, because some of them are very dreamlike, and also because I would like to try to set up things in unconventional ways. I'm going to be posting some snippets of interviews that I have been working on some time in the next couple of days, as well as some excerpts from the storyboard that I'm working on.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Jodi Sedlock and more progress reporting

After hearing Jodi Sedlock talk this past week about how she went from being an art student to a biology professor I got to thinking a lot about contingency. It seemed that a lot of the reasons that she got to the place that she is today (being a professor and studying bats in the Philippines) was a big part pure chance. By "chance" I don't just mean coincidence, but also that there were people around her who gave her the chance to do something that she might not otherwise have had an opportunity to do.

Speaking of contingency... here's a link for a book that is all about contingency, and its role in history, specifically World War I. The first time I really thought about the role contingency plays in life was in a Soviet history class last year where my professor stressed how important it was, and that nothing is really inevitable.

This all got me thinking more about my film project that I'm working on now. I'm about to start the stage of making my own film based off the interviews that I have been conducting, and I want to make sure that the process itself as well as the product don't come off as being forced. When I work on editing, I think that sometimes mistakes end up leading down the most interesting paths. That said, I want to make sure that I remain open minded while working on this film, and that I don't keep myself limited to one vision.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Over reading period I was able to finish all of my interviews. I thing I have some pretty good material to work with. This week I am going to look at all of my footage and take notes on the themes that run between them all, and highlight on interesting parts that I can relate to, or bits that I think would be interesting to make into a film. I will also hopefully have time to cut the actual footage down so that I can post some snippets on here.

In the next couple of weeks, I will be creating my own film that combines my vision of dreams along with the visions expressed by those whom I have interviewed. The film that I will be making is extra important to me, as I will probably be using it to apply to film school next year. So it's time to buckle down!