It is important that you realise the aims :
1.To explore the aesthetic and political impulses behind certain experimental pieces from the classic avant-garde and from more recent sources.
1.Matters arising from the 'theoretical' material on surrealism, postmodernism etc., related to the essay tasks as well as to more general issues.
BLOCK 1 (Weeks 4& 5)
of 'taste' (see
Material from L'Amour Fou, Midnight Underground, Baby of Macon,White Noise, Animation Now
BLOCK 2 (Weeks 6-8) Realism
BLOCK 3 (Weeks 9-11) Surrealism:
(!) the Unconscious
BLOCK 4 Hyperrealism/Pomo
Defining postmodernism: the collapse of internal distinctions, the rise of historiographic metafiction, incredulity towards metanarratives (see file). The basics in Lyotard, Eco and Baudrillard (eg on the TV audience).The music video/MTV controversy (see file). Edutainment, and the heritage industry (see file) . Pomo as a commercial style and a response to an 'indifferent' audience.
Focus upon 'critical practice' and upon pre-production 'design skills' and/or post-production 'effects analysis' (in the broadest sense, and on your capacity to experiment with the equipment.
You are invited to produce a short experimental piece, in any medium, or a parody of one, or an ironic comment upon someone else's. Strictly considering the needs of the module, you are advised not to opt for high production values, even if they should prove appropriate. Of course, you might wish to exceed the brief for your own purposes. It is unsuitable, especially in this area, to assess the product directly: an aesthetic judgement would be the only basis for such an assessment, and aesthetic judgements are minimised in our agreed assessment regulations. You will be assessed instead on your individual report of the design processes you went through before, during, and after your project work. More details follow in the Assessment Guide below
Unlike your material, your write-up should be conventional and 'academic realist'. it should consider the following points (which you might consider as subheadings if you wish)
What was intended, what was actually done, and what part did you play? ( ie you need a brief summary of the project) Where did the ideas come from? How difficult or easy was it to generate unconventional ideas and why? What constraints affected the project and the implementation of the ideas? (including production and reception if appropriate) You will need to make reference to the material covered on the module in your discussions - eg on the way the best ideas tend to find their way into advertising which can blunt their impact, on the way tastes are shaped by economic and cultural capital, or on the specific movements or media folk you have studied.
What follows is an indicative list. Additional titles may be suggested during the sessions.
Camera Obscura Collective Camera
(special on Godard), 7-10, Fall 1982
EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA . I haven't
looked at this for a long long time, but the big new
stuff is of course Deleuze's work. There is a really good bit
on the French avant-garde in his second book on cinema, including a
discussion of Godard, and a short essay on Six Fois Deux here. The other news
(for me) is that lots of bits of Godard can be found
on You Tube. There is also a full length copy of Pravda
and several other major works (under Jean-Luc Godard
and Dziga Vertov) on the superb Ubuweb -- FREE!!
Aranda M Luis Bunuel: A
Arato A & Gebhardt E
(eds) The Essential
Frankfurt School Reader (Intro to Pt 11 and piece
by Adorno ‘Commitment')
Appignanesi, L (ed)
An example I wish I'd had time to do...
This example will almost certainly not be to your taste in terms of content. Try to isolate the principles, though. Strictly as an example, consider the following:
Dead Dog Productions (Family Harris) are asked to make a music video for a local community steel band. They review the options (including limited time, very limited budget, and a desire to work to the full potential their Hi-8 video camera, limited sound recording equipment, and limited access to facilities). At a brainstorming session, they make an early decision to abandon a 'realistic' video of the band actually playing. The members of the band are very ugly on the whole, and could be depicted only for shock value. Realism is suspect, both aesthetically and politically, for the reasons given in the Screen realism debate. All members of Dead Dog have viewed and admired experimental music videos and have noted their commercial success.
Dead Dog are well aware of the limits of their equipment. They decide not to hire steadicam or tracking or other devices, nor to use hand-held techniques, but to operate with a fixed tripod camera. They make a virtue of that by deciding to use only one camera position throughout - to give an effect like those famous 'art' movies of the 60s that showed one view of an office block for five hours. Analogies with ceiling-high security cameras are also tried (and later rejected). Sound dubbing will also be elementary - one number by the band will be dubbed, with no other sound. Limited possibilities of cutting to music will be explored at the edit stage. (The chosen number will be 'The Shadow of Your Smile')
An older project is revived and married with this one, following inspiration achieved by listening to the number (and playing it) in an unusual state of mind. A brief love story will be depicted using gendered objects only (hairbrushes, shaving gear, umbrellas etc) as metonyms and metaphors. Eg no actual people will appear. This saves lighting problems, make up and acting, and illustrates structuralist work on metonyms etc. Room signs (saying 'In' or 'Out') will indicate the course of the relationship (eg female in on her own, then joined by male, both are then in and out at the same times, then male out all the time, then female left in on her own again etc).
Thus the basic scenes are all variants of one or two people walking up and down stairs, changing their signs. Other metaphors of the relationship are added via objects placed on tables in shot - (eg flowers shoot, bud, bloom and fade, gendered objects come, go, separate and intermingle - umbrellas, tools, onyx eggs, cacti). Very modest attempts at animation can be explored as jars of shells (veiled - very veiled- refs to Svankmajer) rotate slowly between shots. Sets, lighting and camera angles are explored. A list of shots is compiled on file cards (a decision is taken to maximise time available in the edit suite by doing lots of paper editing), and a rational sequence established (eg shots are divided into 'day' and 'night', and items that change over time - like floral growth - are sequenced). Takes are timed (they will all be of the same length).
The musical number is recorded and timed (3:20 minutes), and the video is scheduled as 20 seconds of titles, and 15 scenes of 12 seconds each. Props are acquired (very cheaply). Continuity, of displays on tables, changes of clothing etc is rehearsed in a run-through, and the paper sequences are finalised. An interior is selected chez Harris. Domestic lighting is used. Given the simplicity of the fixed camera position, and the props actual shooting takes about 5 hours in one session. Editing and dubbing are equally straightforward and are accomplished in two sessions in the suite. A title is selected - Julia ate Jim (subtitle: ECSB plays 'The Shadow of Your Smile')
A subsequent discussion highlights technical flaws (briefly - what's the point if you can't afford anything else?) and expresses a collective wish for black and white film and a more French New Wave look, rehearses arguments about structuralism and the avant-garde (with reference to Derrida and the impossibility of controlling metonyms), generates more ideas, and discusses why audience reaction might be expected to be uncomprehending or hostile, with references to Bourdieu on the sociology of taste.