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Putting Pen to Paper

To get me started on the planning for the animation I firstly did a mind map thinking about the idea and what sparked off from it.

And then I started drawing a storyboard roughly figuring out what kinds of shots I want. Bearing in mind that each shot I take will be on a very slow shutter speed and there will be several taken for each one slowly edging towards the next part of the scene to get a gradual build up. Here are a few scans of the drawings.

The images aren't great as they are scanned but it gives a rough idea of what I want. These drawings show how I want to have a male figure sitting, opening his eyes and seeing me, the camera and following where I move. After reading in John Berger's The Ways of Seeing the quote from Dziga Vertov I'm an eye, I found this concept of the camera being the moving interacting machine that captures the world and demonstrates it, creeping under and catching you by surprise very inspiring. Its the way I feel about photography. Its this ever expanding medium that shows the truth but also can create a false sense of reality. It is a moving painting but a still film, it is a moment in time captured and held onto forever even if it is destroyed a piece of time is captured. This idea I find glorious and I feel it has been the foundation of the final major project. The camera being this knowledgeable eye that transports you to another place. With this piece it will be surreal and perhaps even false but it stands for an idea that is factual and true. I will have the camera creep into the eye but I am not yet sure what the inside of the mind will look like, how I will interpret it but I will draw more ideas and display them. 


I had initially struggled to think of what to create for my final media product. Actually, I knew in what way I wanted to create but not the subject. I know I want to create an animation using photographs, stop motion photography. And I knew I wanted to create it in the same lighting conditions as Floating Motion shown in an earlier blog. Which is dark if not no light using only a torch to illuminate the subject. I really like the darkness and the slow shutter speeds used. Its difficult and time consuming but also beautiful and I get to create something that isn't there. After thinking about how to relate it to the books we have been set I thought about which one I had taken to the most which was John Berger's The way of Seeing. I've always had the fascination with the senses and the relationships between them. I had previously done an animation again using photographs looking at the relationship between speech and the brain. How our minds subconsciously take in hearing and dissect the information and select what is necessary. So, for visual communication I want to investigate the relationship between sight and the mind. Our brains our intensely packed with information and are handling, processing and understanding what has been presented. As humans we question everything we see or think about and usually handle it flawlessly.  As I sit here writing this blog I am also listening to music and am able to hear other people around me, not listening to them but I here them and zone them out. With sight, and investigating sight we see and interpret like a camera but more sophisticated. Our sight is fixed, we read the world like its stopped, colours enter into the brain and most our vision predicts the colours to the side of our eyes rather than knowing for sure. We are like a pin hole camera seeing the world upside down but our brain flips it back to the "right" way. With a camera you can keep the shutter open and engulf all the glorious colours of the world and watch them appear on paper.I find it so interesting how mechanical yet creative our bodies work and I want to find a way to interpret that into a final major piece.

Writer Relevance

I recently read a piece from the book by Walter Benjamin "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" and there was a certain part of it that I found interesting. He talks about how the reader has become more and more confident and able to share their opinion. This is taken from the book:

 "At any moment the reader is ready to turn into a writer. As expert,
which he had to become willy-nilly in an extremely specialized work process, even if only
in some minor respect, the reader gains access to authorship."

He discusses how because of the media and press have grown significantly sharing and expressing views and opinions of the world, and how people's opinions have been encouraged to be brought forward about these issues to be presented in newspapers. Does it make an educated professional opinion less valid or as valid as someone who's opinion isn't educated? I found it difficult because I do believe in freedom of speech and feel that the availability to people to demonstrate their opinion is liberating. But, especially now and with the technological developments of the internet and social networking where people's opinions are welcomed, it can become a problem. Some people get a kind of power craze once given a facebook account and a keyboard and go crazy with their opinions usually socially but sometimes about political, religious views and so on. They join "groups" for these views trying to make them seem more unique and more interesting than others. Because its in this detached environment where you aren't discussing your views with an actual human being it can be translated and seen badly and also be unnecessary. For example, I had a friend who joined the facebook group for the British National Party. I as well as others were really quite offended by this because of everything that the BNP stood for and the fact she would join seemed out of character and shocking. On one hand she is completely entitled to her opinion as does everyone and she can choose whatever political group she wishes. On the other hand I felt like she was boasting about this and didn't consider other people's feelings and how it would affect them. I know this has gone of my original beginnings but what Walter said sparked off this memory and linked with today's society of ambushing each other with opinions that can be out of context and unconsidered. We are in an age where everyone and anyone can voice their opinions but sometimes at what cost? And do some of these people have the knowledge and understanding to be able to make these thoughts known? Do I know enough about what I am writing about to be saying its wrong? Maybe not, but when I write about something I am always considerate and careful not to preach my opinions but merely present them. Until next time...

Ways of Seeing

I recently watched the first episode of "Ways of Seeing" presented by John Berger which was made and shown at the same time the book was released in 1972. He discusses the assumptions people make when looking at a painting as it has changed radically over the years since the ability to reproduce the paintings has come about, via the camera. Before the camera and the mass reproductions of paintings there was you and the painting in a room, that's it. And then came along the camera which gave people the accessibility to look at paintings. John Berger discusses that because something is lost between the viewer and being able to see the original. When looking at a painting you feel its presence, its sense of history and place, a time unknown by many as it has longed since past but it brought back into your time. And in museums these painting are situated to make you look and become personal with the original, its context is within the museum. What I found interesting in the programme was this sense of place and context. Berger demonstrated how if a painting is placed in a church it holds a completely different feel if its hung on a bedroom wall. If you do have reproductions, it becomes part of the environment and its meaning therefore adapts radically. Appearances of paintings could travel across the world and you weren't the only one looking and interpreting them. When you look at a painting in a museum Berger describes the "uninterrupted silence" that is created which is soundless. I feel this too, recently I visited Paris and went to museums such as The Louvre, Orangerie Museum, Musee D'Orsay and one artist who is mentioned in the episode Vincent Van Gogh after seeing his work in "real life" at the Musee D'Orsay changed my whole view on him. In reproductions you get this tiny little JPEG on your screen that you print and stick in your book and write about and you don't get the chance to experience what the painter is saying. How they've painted. Why have they used these techniques? What are they trying to say? One painting I saw really changed my perception of Van Gogh.

The Siesta by Vincent Van Gogh 1889

Before I saw this Painting, I had studied works of Van Gogh before and hadn't really appreciated them fully. When I came to the section dedicated to his work I became lost in his work, everything surrounding me faded as me and this painting connected and I was seeing a production made by this man over a hundred years ago. There's nothing quite like seeing a painting and then seeing a replica of it, even looking at the image above gives you no where near the same feeling as what you get from almost being able to touch it. Context and this sense of place manipulates the meaning and makes it into something else. As you walk around this darkly lit room seeing his work you really got a sense of his life and the sadness that he unfortunately had to endure. When I came back I became so inspired by him and studied further and to me having that effect on a person is what an artist works for. All he ever wanted was acceptance and all he ever got was rejection. He was alienated and now there have been suggestions that his characteristics were something similar to someone suffering with Bipolar disorder but back then the understanding of these difficulties were not around. 
One last thing I liked about the episode was Berger's encouragement of being sceptical. Even about what he was saying.
"I Hope you consider what I have arranged, but be sceptical"

It is so refreshing to hear an artist and art critic say those sweet words! Art is subjective. Yet there is this massive pressure to please and understand and be right. Who knows what the real meaning of any work is unless the artist has actually written it down? Art is an interpretation of how the artist perceives the world and its issues. Its frustrating especially as you go through the education system having studied Art and Photography at A level, a foundation in art and design and now a degree how some teachers, not all, say your work is your own unique creation that must be thought out properly but its an interpretation, and then mark you down because you haven;t interpreted it "right". I get it, if the system was run like that everyone would be leaving with A's and I must have done something right as I did leave with an A and distinction but there is a hint of hypocrisy about art and art critics that say it is your interpretation, well who are you to tell me my work is wrong? I made it for me not for you, you are just here to sooth my ego and give me money or destroy my reputation and take it away. Throughout the blogs I keep coming across all the hardships that being an artist I have and will have to endure. Does it stop me? Never.
Overall, I feel I have related to significantly to what Berger has said and will watch further episodes to learn more. One interesting thing is the time it was presented in the early 1970's and yet how much it has become relevant to our time if not more so now with the rapid development of technology.Until next time...