Imagine you are falling. But there is no ground.
Progression of the GROUNDED video.
It was only after talking to Ian that I realised that my GROUNDED video had clearly been triggered by the PRIMAL SCREAM video I had done in 2015. With 'GROUNDED' I had honed in on a specific section of that piece (people falling) and zoomed in on that for a new perspective and with a more specific intention and theme. I have created a similar fast-moving compilation video, but rather than looking at moments of elation I am looking at the falling motion. It could potentially be quite a frustrating outcome in that none of the people in the video ever touch the ground. It instead offers an ongoing loop of impossible flight. Is it frustrating that they are so often in touching distance from the ground but they never quite reach it or is it satisfying imagining the possibility of flight?
I am continuing to add to and edit this piece and the transitions between clips are becoming more fluid with each edit. A new technique I have acquired in relation to post-production is moving collage. Blending one shot into the next so that the character is moving seamlessly from one side of the screen to the other, growing gradually in scale, spinning upside down, towards the camera, away from the camera but it has consistently followed on from the previous shot. At times, as the shot is flipped in order to trace the previous shot there is an overlapping of the two, for example as a man slowly dives into a pool the windows of a building fly past behind him. I have started to treat the video process as a painting, constantly making myself aware of composition, scale and colour as I blend different contexts featuring an identical subject; a flying person. Chris Marclay with 'Telephone', Guillaume Paris with 'Fountain', Candice Breitz with MOTHER, Paul Pfeiffer with 'Jerusalem' - in all these pieces the appropriated footage has been merged, synced, overlapped, erased and looped to warp the original intentions. This is something I strive towards with 'GROUNDED.'
Rachel Rose - Infinite Mix, The Strand
Rachel Rose - ‘Everything and More’ - I saw this video piece at the Infinite Mix exhibition, it really stuck in my mind. In the video piece, US astronaut David Wolf narrates his experience of looking down on Earth from space and the sensory disorientation he felt on his return. Accompanying Wolf’s disembodied narration is a visual collage that mixes galactic imagery with scenes shot in a neutral buoyancy laboratory where astronauts prepare for zero gravity, and footage of ecstatic crowds at a music concert.
The video itself was projected onto a fabric screen against a window so you could see the London landscape behind as the projection became alternatively opaque and transparent, this was so subtle but really shifted the perspective and form. I like this idea of film collage, allowing the space in which you exhibit to be incorporated into the video, she used the London Landscape as a layer and it transformed the black video frames into something that hadn't even been considered during post-production. Her use of overlapping sound, music and narration was also effective at creating a muffled and other-worldly atmosphere, this is something I have so far struggled with incorporating into the collage / compilation pieces ('GROUNDED' , 'PRIMAL SCREAM' etc).
Her use of basic materials: milk, food-colouring, oil and water manipulated with an air compressor, to create the Film's Galactic scenes, resonate within previous video pieces of mine. I would film a pot of boiling soup, frying egg or a pair of hands stuffing a Turkey to give an everyday encounter another dimension; in this piece she managed to take milk and turn it into a Galaxy. This piece actually restored my faith in video work, it had been a while since I had seen something that struck such a raw chord. It's length wasn't asking the viewer to invest their whole afternoon; the experience (for me) was short, sharp, simple and striking.
James Richards - Requests and Antisongs, ICA
I saw James Richards' exhibition at the ICA and it's the first time I've come across his work. The multi-channel sound installation piece downstairs encircled the viewer with speakers emitting different layers of sound; sound has always been quite a challenge for me to combine with video but this piece really convinced me that sound is just as powerful on its own. The video piece upstairs 'Radio At Night' coincided with my making of 'GROUNDED' and it really made me think about sound again and its impact. Something that David Gryn mentioned in Angel's den was the importance for sound, for him, when drawing him towards video art, he suggested trying 'GROUNDED' with sound and this has been something I have contemplated. I am still in two minds whether adding sound would make the piece too frantic, I quite like the silence in combination with the idea of flight. Richards' piece, however reiterated its effectiveness at creating a mood in the room. Another way to immerse the viewer.
Much like the other artists, films, installations, music videos mentioned on this page the video 'Radio At Night' collaged bits and pieces of various appropriated and primary images, in this case to question the act of looking itself. The video showed flying birds, hairy human skin, forests, abattoirs, trains, hospitals, eyeballs and eyelashes but still remained quite beautiful. For me it was a visual beast, the perfect length and I stayed and watched it several times.
I have been watching a lot of Adam Curtis' documentary work which often follows his intense and all-encompassing political dialogue and further imprints the message via relentless visual collages. Curtis manages to inform the viewer on extremely heavy subjects but does so subtly by mixing heavy and light imagery with heavy and light sound, like video art really. This extract from an interview with Curtis by Nathan Budzinski explains his methods quite clearly :
"I'm serious about it but I'm also playing with you. I'm not a preachy, John Pilger-y I- believe-this-deeply. I'm saying we live in a very, very, very rigid, conservative time and am just asking have you thought about reconfiguring it and looking at it like this? And I do the same with music. Have you thought that I could put silly dancing music over Islamist terrorists? See what that feels like." I reply that it feels ridiculous. "Well then, you're not that frightened of it anymore. So it has a serious point."
Kate Tempest brought out a new politically charged song recently 'Europe is Lost' and I saw the video for it and it made me excited. I have always been more interested in art for the masses, rather than art for the art world - there must be a reason why art hasn't reached its arms out as wide as film and music but little nuggets of gold turn up now and again, in this case disguised as a music video. Matching Adam Curtis' techniques the video flicks through a relentless collage of imagery. Tempest has used spoken word here and combined it with video art to attack our senses and leave something behind in our conscience.