Screenings: A Hunger Artist (2017)

This weird short film by Daria Martin follows a silent, fasting performer. They are part of a stage show, and although they seemingly have a torturous job, they are upset when their fasting is limited to forty days, and when the show closes; they are drawn to continue their horrid work. They then work in the circus, and appear to die at the end, after a lifetime of suffering with occasional slight positive feedback. Is it a comment on the difficulties of life as an artist, never being appreciated or making money? A comment on the artist being in the public eye and becoming the artwork?

A brief google search highlights that A Hunger Artist was originally a short story from 1922 by Franz Kafka. It apparently explores themes of ‘futility’. This comes across, as the story as a whole is quite pathetic. In fact, as the protagonist lies dying at the end, he undermines any heroism he may have been demonstrating by saying he only fasts because she doesn’t like food. The comparison of the person to the panther (his replacement) shows that the spectators preferred watching something more full of life, animalistic and hungry; the antithesis of the hunger artist.

The film echoed the circus in general, in the colours and excitement of the piece. It had a clear narrative and was a higher budget film than some of the others seen in screenings.


Week Six: London Exhibitions

This enhancement week I visited the Getty Images Gallery’s The Female Gaze exhibition. Some of the model’s images seen were recognisable from Instagram. I think that photography and Instagram are big platforms for this kind of thing. Below is one example:

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The images in the exhibition were all of female-identifying people, from a child in a towel, to older women from antique photographs from the second world war. It is interesting about who gets credit for the photographs in this unique case. Credit went to the director of Life magazine, I believe.

Some of the images were heavily edited, some involved dramatic costumes. In both cases, the photographs succeeded in making the images both intriguing and more difficult to look at, than the passive spectatorship involved in paintings that fall under the Male Gaze.

I attended the exhibition with a stylish friend who has modelled for photographer’s Instagram accounts in the past. We intended to draw the women in the photographs, but I found her style, and her gaze at the photographs more interesting.

This enhancement week I also went to see the Ferrari exhibition at the Design Museum. The Ferrari exhibition taught me a lot about car design and mechanics, and the Design Museum itself left a lasting impression; it is a very impressive example of architecture.


Week Six: Green Screen Workshop

The green screen workshop with Dave was very informative, and pretty inspiring for my project. I would feel quite confident using the lighting, which he highlighted as an important aspect of using a green screen, due to my Photographic Art Direction module that I completed abroad.

He spoke about how to make objects seemingly float by placing them onto chairs covered with the chroma key fabric. They can then spin or move, whilst floating. To do this, one must first film the scene without any ‘talent’ in the shot, so that the area covered by the chair can be overlaid later.

For my purposes, that is post-production works rather than live tv, I would just film the talent with the green background and props etc. and then edit that film in Premiere Pro to overlay a second video or image into the green areas. Or, I suppose, remove the green areas and have another video layered behind.

Other suggestions included green contact lenses, green areas painted onto people to show holes or missing limbs, green windows in cars, green paint in paintings. He points out that any colour would work, as long as the background is flat, such as the blue sky. Picking out one colour to swap to gifs or images could be fun.

I also learned that you can purchase ‘chroma key sets’. This involves an image of an environment, or multiple images of that environment from different angles if sensors and more money are involved, which you can then pretend to act in, as demonstrated in the video below, or in the news.

I am thinking that this could be useful in film making because it removes the necessity of finding locations and sets. It would also allow me to incorporate found footage etc. I am now  considering this in relation to my own film work.

He mentioned ‘vision mixers’ and an app that costs less than ¬£3. I will look into this on my iPad. The real version is used to switch between different video sources, for example when live streaming a sports match. Special effects can be achieved by mixing several video sources.

Artist Talk: Holly Pest

Holly Pest is a writer and poet who is interested in methodologies and metaphors. She spoke at length about Hannah Weiner, who hallucinates words. She uses her experience as a mode of composition for her works. As these hallucinations were best whilst hungry, she fasted in her flat, writing about her experiences. Holly Pest went to visit this writing; her research and archiving seems to be central to her practice. She spoke about understanding the nonsensical thought processes of Hannah Weiner simply by being so absorbed in the writing of her thoughts.

She has also created a soundscape, as part of the Common Rest project. It was a collaboration which involved sound on a CD and a CD design.

Artist Talk: Emily Pope

Emily Pope was a student in University of Reading’s Art Department five years ago. Since she has worked on live performances in galleries. She says that she was paid next for nothing and was just ‘being used’ to ‘inject angst’ into the exhibitions.

She says that she wants people to laugh at her, but that it’s a bit of a trap. She has most recently been working on ‘sitcoms’ which she showed us, inspired by ‘Lush Life’, a sitcom from the 1990s.

Her own sitcom, ‘The Sitcom Show’, seems very autobiographical, and self-deprecating. It is scripted, but seems spontaneous, including confessional vlog shots after nights out, for example. Filmed on an iPhone and a webcam and without the resources for a real sitcom, she aimed to make a project which is a contradiction.

She tries not to put too much of her work online. I suppose so that people have to seek out her work, and pay to watch it. Her films are being shown by touring film companies, which sounds great to me.

Coding: Projection Mapping

For our final coding project we were allowed to choose between three briefs: make a 3D model, make a HTML based code, or make a projection mapping.

I chose to make a projection, which uses the keystone library to make surfaces which you can then calibrate. When it is being projected, enabling calibration allows you to drag the corners of each ‘surface’ that you’ve created to different surfaces, in my case 2 sides each of 3 boxes. This distorts the surfaces to appear as though they are fitting to the 3D objects.

I used skills I’d learnt previously in this module to create an animation of a castle that moves up and down, and add sound effects at different times, based on the frame count. I also figured out how to make ‘fairies’ which move in a random sequence.

Below is the final projection. The video does not capture how it appears to wrap around the boxes very well, as the light of the castle was too bright and too contrasted for the camera to capture properly. It appears to glow and doesn’t show any shadow or shape.