Sound and vision: installation begins

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Matt Page, Moving Image Technician, and I built the Punch and Judy theatre on Wednesday in the photography studio before shipping it over to the gallery, in pieces, on a trolley. Today we put it together and I painted it white. My piece is in the space outside the canteen, which means a lot of people walk past it as it is being built. I feel exposed quite often.

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Sound and vision: back to Jung.

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I went to St Peter’s House Library with Justine to look at The Red Book again. I let the book fall open at this image and then turned to the text it referred to. I was hoping for some synchronicity but I couldn’t see how the text related. Justine pointed to the text a few lines above. It said this:

“Come to us, we who are willing from our own will.
Come to us, we who understand you from our own spirit.
Come to us, we who will warm you at our own fire.
Come to us, we who will heal you with our art.
Come to us, we who will produce you from our own body.
Come, child, to father and mother.”

Image 59 The Red Book, C. Jung.

I’d been thinking about how my original idea of using my experience of my father in my film didn’t tie in with emergent practice. I’ve been feeling like I should work with the stuff around my father but I don’t want to; I should because I stated clearly at the beginning that I wanted to. I don’t want to because I think these puppets will tell a different story if I let them. I don’t want them to be violent.

Jung’s verse resonates with me because it feels like it could be the puppets calling me to their story, rather than me fitting them to mine.

Sound and vision: test of animation

I tried animating the puppets today by taking a short shot, moving the puppet, taking another short shot and so on. In Adobe Premier Pro CS6 I pulled one frame from each shot successively in order to make this short sequence.

I decided to film the initial scene against the backdrop of the green screen with the intention of keying out the green and using a different scene behind but it didn’t work; I couldn’t light the green screen properly in my bedroom using two Dedo lights.

I like the bright green background that changes to duller lighting when the boy puppet hits the ground. The everyday mundane things like the radiator contrasts with the magical sense of the puppets moving.

Sound and vision: making petals

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I’m making petals that will surround the boy inside a flower pot. The idea came from a short story I wrote a few years ago in which a woman, Lilley, dies and her essence is contained within a flower immediately after in an afterlife. The flower petals open and Lilley’s essence becomes a point of light which arises from the flower and zips about with loads of other points of light. I’m imagining that I will place the boy puppet inside the flower pot and close the petals and then he will come to life when the petals open. I made the petals using bits of an old t-shirt sewn together with a petal shaped wire inserted and sewn into them.

Sound and vision: Jung mining

St Peter’s House Library obtained a copy of The Red Book, which contains writing and ink drawings made by Carl Jung during the years he worked with his inner visions, for me to look at. The book is beautiful and profound. The message that runs throughout is not to follow Jung’s path but to find and follow your own. If the way is planned out it is not the way (this sounds Taoist).

I’m letting go of my intentions (the road to hell is paved with good intentions), which were: to build in week one, film in week two and edit in week three. Now the film is showing me what it needs. It’s not so neat and tidy as the plan. The plan helped me start and now I have no idea where it will end. I only know when it will end.

I took a couple of photos of drawings from The Red Book:

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This relates to The Three Prophecies chapter: “to recognise and know your ambition and your greed, to gather… image 125.”

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This relates to The Gift of Magic chapter: “night sinks blue and deep from above, earth rises black from below.  Image 131.”

Jung’s method is to go inward and to stop being in the world. He talks about the spirit of the times and the spirit of the depths, which I translate into fashion/morality versus inner truth. He did his inward journeying at night and reconnected with modern times during the day, rather than follow the example of, say, Christ, by going into isolation for a month. He did this in order to achieve balance and to avoid complete breakdown. It makes sense to have balance in inner and outer worlds; my own experience has shown me that it’s very difficult to reconnect socially after a long period of isolation. It’s much better to keep the social muscle exercised.

The work Jung did on himself, that was documented in The Red Book, became the basis for his later work. He truly walked his talk and I value that immensely.

Sound and vision: shot aesthetics

All my shots so far are from above, looking down on the action, as I make the puppets. In The Filmmaker’s Eye: Learning (and Breaking) the Rules of  Cinematic Composition by Gustavo Mercado, it says high angled shots produce a sense of vulnerability and I suppose that’s because it’s associated with the subject being lower in height than the observer and, therefore, childlike in stature.

I do feel vulnerable as I make the puppets; I haven’t made anything like this before. I’m at the edge of my creative instinct and afraid of what I might produce – it might be so abhorrent and disgusting that I’ll be shunned and despised.

Sound and vision: body parts?

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I began playing with wire with the idea that it would form part of a puppet’s body. I didn’t know which part but as I twisted the wire I thought it might resemble an upper arm. I made another, slightly smaller, metal sculpture and joined them together but it didn’t feel right as a limb.

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After some time of doing other things I went back to the puppet work and found inspiration after handling objects I pulled out of my imaginatively labelled “stuff” box. Unravelled audio cassette tape gave me the key: I wound wire around it, encasing it, and had created a sort of upper body. I pushed the man puppet’s stick through the body part and realised I could attach other body parts to it.

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Turning back to the small wire sculptures, I pushed the female puppet sticks into them and they too have a base I can attach body parts to.

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Because the male has post traumatic stress disorder, the audio tape reflects the messed up way he communicates. I’m not sure about the wire sculptures on the females – something to do with inner strength and resourcefulness. I wonder if their bodies change during the performance after interacting with one another.