‘Making toast’ – initial film experiment.

After doing some research on Mark Wallinger I found my self particularly inspired by his film piece ‘Angel’, a clip of which can be seen here. In this clip you can see that the footage has been reversed, but it takes a while to tell because the main focus of the footages composition is Wallinger who appears to be talking to the camera. Once you start to notice how the people in the background on the escalators are acting in very strange ways you come to the realisation that Wallinger is actually the one acting in reverse, but because of the way the footage has been edited it appears that he is acting normally. This created huge confusion in me as a viewer, as you naturally tend to focus on the foreground it is assumed that there is nothing unusual about the film, but when you realise that you have been deceived you begin questioning every other aspect of the film itself, creating tension and anxiety in the audience as well as shock and confusion. This technique had the exact effect on me that I wanted to create in my own audience, so I then decided to create my own film using this technique to try and create an optical illusion with film. I wanted to use it in the context of an everyday situation to show how people with a mental illness perceive normal everyday life so I started planning the footage around making a cup of tea but then realised that when pouring liquid it would flow backwards and give the whole set up away. I then thought that it maybe interesting to film something just as trivial and have something else, for example running water, at the end to indicate to the audience that the whole clip has actually been in reverse. I then decided that I would simply film myself making a slice of toast but without adding any spreads like butter or jam or cutting it in half as these are things that can’t be undone and would have to be done at the beginning of the footage. Planning this was very difficult and I had to make several lists working out how it would be filmed and then how the audience would see it when the footage was reversed. I found that there where a lot of complications to this process as I started thinking about the logistics of it such as how the toast will appear not toasted before it goes into the toaster and how I am going to get the toaster to ‘pop’ up. In my first experimentation with this technique I ran the tap at the end of the clip to show the water running backward to give away the fact it is reversed footage, but in practice this did not work as I had planned as you couldn’t really see the water running. So in a later experiment I poured juice in the foreground of the shot, which worked much more successfully. After being cut this clip came to just over a minute long, which I was pleased with as this makes it more accessible to an audience and more likely that they will watch the whole thing. This also allows enough time to build up tension within the experiment, especially when very little action is happening whilst I am waiting for the bread to finish toasting, which is relieved in the last few moments when the juice behaves in a way that defies nature. Although I had to overcome many complications I feel that the final outcome of this experimentation was successful as ultimately this is meant to be about how everyday life and routines can be perceived as confusing and hard to comprehend when lying in bed facing a mental health issue that complicates simple tasks, which I feel is the same experience we get from this film clip.

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