Blind drawings

I was concerned that my final film, which will be all of my experimentations with kaleidoscopes and maggots, would not completely portray my ideas about different perspectives from people living in different mental states. I started experimenting with ‘blind drawings’ after initially doing some in my smaller sketchbook, as I thought this may be a relevant piece of work to include in my installation space as I felt that these blind drawings where a literal representations of how everyday things can be perceived differently with a disability, as the outcomes of these experiments where completely different to what would have been produced if I had been looking at the paper aswell as the subject. Because I was focusing only on my subject and avoiding looking at the paper the outcomes of using this technique where completely unrefined, and therefore showed my most basic translation of how I perceive things onto paper. I experimented with this technique at first in only black pen, I then went on to experiment with it on bits of rubbish as I felt this would represent the ‘horrible feelings’ in my mind, just as Martin Creed does in his film ‘sick and shit.’ I felt though, that my most successful development of this technique was when I began doing the drawings in different colours, this made it easier for the viewer to identify each drawings, whereas before they overlapped and combined with one another. Using different colours helps to guide the viewer through the drawings so that they can identify each individually, I felt that this was most relevant for my project as it showed multiple versions of one subject, drawn from different perspectives, but each perspective can be seen and appreciated wholly because they are easily differentiated due to the different colours. Although it could be argued that there is no real skill to these drawings I am pleased with the way that they came out completely unidentifiable from the subjects they were drawn from as they successfully show how our perspective can be altered to make the most simple things seem completely different, when living with a disability.

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Example of blind drawing from my sketchbook

Show set up ideas

The original presentation for my final piece has changed a lot due to space restrictions. In my sketchbook I explored 3 different ways that my final piece could be presented, in the first I imagined that there were no restrictions to the space I could use, the second I imagined that there was very little space to present my work and in the third I found a way to incorporate both into a reasonable space. The third idea is the one I carried on to develop for the final show, and consisted of a small triangular space that would allow me to create a claustrophobic but comfortable space by placing it in darkness but setting up the installation space with homely furniture to lull the audience into a false sense of security by trying to create a universally familiar setting. Initially I had designed it so that it would be in complete darkness with the TV facing the corner of the room so that only one person could physically see my piece at once. Unfortunately the design of my final set up changed because of the space restrictions which forced me to turn my set design around so that the TV and cupboard where in the corner of the space, this means that more than one person is now able to view the piece at once, as any passer by that walks by will be able to see it easily.

 

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Current exhibition set up.

This was disappointing for me because I felt that by making the space so small it would control the foot fall and limit it to one person at a time, and I felt that by having only one person viewing the footage at once it would make for a more intimate experience for the viewer and would be more overwhelming than viewing it openly in the exhibition space. I also planned for there to be a curtain around my piece to cut it off from the exhibition, this was largely so that no light would creep into my installation space, but also because I wanted to have this contrast between the light of the rest of the exhibition and the darkness of my corner which is literally tucked away as I felt that this physically describes my day to day experience, where I am prepared to hide myself away in a dark corner than be apart of the class that I was in. Unfortunately my piece will no longer be in darkness, as instead of a curtain I will now have a single board separating my work from the rest of the exhibition. This means that the piece will be in the same amount of light as the rest of the show which is a shame because it weakens the comparison of my installation to the rest of the exhibition, which I think is one of my most successful ways of showing how mental illnesses work when in a social situation, as this is a physical representation of how people tend to lock themselves away into a dark, horrible space. In this sense the darkness is a metaphor for the effect that mental illness has on the brain and the TV is the effect that these feelings have on our mind, and is a representation of the horrible imagery that these feelings can create, in this sense the maggot footage is a metaphor to thoughts of suicide and self-harm. I chose to present all 5 versions of the kaleidoscope footage instead of only one because this shows how differently one single situation can be interpreted by different people. I felt it was important to include the original footage as well, not only to signify the fact that 1 in 5 adults suffer from depression at some point in their lives, but also as a comparison between the edited footage and the original, to concisely show the different perspectives. The original footage stands for the way that I perceive everyday situations, whereas the kaleidoscope versions not only show how differently something so simple can be perceived but show how anti depressants work and also show how I believe other people manage with everyday situations, as I believe that they do not see the horrible things I see, but instead manage to take these horrible things and perceive them as something beautiful and worth watching. Although these changes have been made to my exhibition space, I still think that this is an effective way of displaying my piece. Although it is no longer in complete darkness, I feel that the layout of my final piece will cause awkward encounters within my installation space as people will go into it and not realise that someone is already sitting in the seat and I also feel that people sitting in the seat will feel uncomfortable as they will be conscious of people being able to see them interacting with the art. The board cutting my piece off from the rest of the exhibition will be used to display other peoples work on so I feel that anyone in my exhibition space will be conscious of strangers standing behind them and talking too.I also considered putting some of my blind drawings around my installation as I felt that these tied all the ideas that I have about perspective and disabilities together. I found it hard to document my experimentation throughout the project as the most crucial development was done on computers so I had to take a lot of screen shots of my work to put in my sketchbook but felt that it did not look like traditional development and experimentation. This was also difficult when developing more complex techniques in the film editing software I was using as I found there was no way of showing the technical skills I had used apart from using screen shots on my computer to show what I had done, but I do not feel that this evidence of my development does justice to the work that I did. Ultimately I hope, despite the changes to my installation space that my final piece will cause the audience confusion at seeing something classically grotesque displayed in a way that makes it seem beautiful, and I hope that the final set up is well thought out enough to create feelings of anxiety and discomfort in the viewer as ultimately this will be them physically experiencing what I, along with many others, experience everyday. 

How to make a Kaleidoscope in Adobe Premiere Pro

Earlier on in my project I considered looking at kaleidoscopes after watching the film ‘Media Magica’ as this film demonstrated how successfully mirrors could be used to make optical illusions. After my experiment with maggots and food and the feedback I got from it (which was mainly or disgust) I thought that it may be interesting to see how a kaleidoscope would work with maggots as kaleidoscopes are often seen as beautiful calming sequences. To do this I watched a Youtube tutorial on how to create a kaleidoscope in Adobe premiere pro, which was rather complicated and difficult to follow at times. For anyone looking at how to do this here are the instructions that I used:

  1. Apply mirror effect to your footage (which you should have dragged into your timeline) with an angle of -45 degrees and a centre point of 1525, 1080
  2. Right click on your footage in the timeline and click the ‘Nest’ option (the clip should show up in green in your timeline)
  3. Copy the footage and paste it but make sure that the timeline marker is not in the middle of your footage because it will paste the footage where the timeline marker is (both should still show up in your timeline in green).
  4. Next drag the pasted footage on top of the original and make sure they are the same length and start and finish at the same time.
  5. Then apply the following to the pasted nested sequence (the one you have dragged on top of the original nested sequence):
  • Horizontal flip
  • Crop at 50% on the left
  • Mirror at 90 degrees angle and a 1544, 540 centre
  1. Then apply mirror at 90 degrees with a centre of 1544, 540 to the bottom clip (you may also want to apply a 50% crop to the right but it is not necessary unless you are planning on changing the opacity of the kaleidoscope sequences)

All of the effects I have mentioned such as mirroring, horizontal flips and cropping can be found in the effects tab in the bottom left hand corner, and these effects can be edited in the ‘effects controls’ tab which should be in the top left corner.

I hope these instructions are helpful for anyone that is looking to experiment with this process in Adobe premiere pro, here are some of my own results from using this technique:

Maggots and food experimentation and problem solving

During my project I have been keeping a smaller sketchbook inspired by Tracey Emin’s book ‘One Thousand Drawings’ where I forced myself to draw memories as quickly as possible in order to keep them unrefined and raw. When flicking through this sketchbook for inspiration I came across a drawing that included the sentence: ‘THERE ARE MAGGOTS IN MY BRAIN/ EVERY TIME I THINK OF FOOD/ I AM ROTTING AWAY.’ This led me to start filming with maggots, as well as inspiration from the boat scene in ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory’ where we see a centipede crawling over a mans face, which is something I found particularly disturbing. Inspired by the fluid scene changes in ‘Enter the Void’ and the constant use of zooming in and out, I decided to try and make short piece of footage which zoomed into something pleasant and then zoomed out of something that looked similar but was actually maggots. I wanted to do this with food because the idea of having maggots in my mouth makes me feel physically sick and can completely put me off food, which I think will be the same with the majority of people. So I set up a plate of spaghetti bolognaise and zoomed into it so that the shot was completely obscured, and the set up spaghetti in the same bowl at the same angle but instead of bolognaise I seasoned the spaghetti with maggots and took several shots zooming out of this set up. I then used Adobe Premiere pro to put these two shots together, the problem I faced with this was that the bolognaise was much darker than the maggots when both shots where completely zoomed in. This caused problems for me because when I put both of the clips next to each other on the timeline, when watching it through, it went from the brown hues of the Bolognese to a flash oh white, which made it obvious that the clips had been cut and changed. This was a problem because to make this footage work the two clips needed to integrate seamlessly so that the audience would assume that the clip was about to zoom out again onto the bolognaise, so that the juxtaposition of the maggots was much more shocking. I tried many different ways of solving this, firstly I tried re filming the zoomed in bolognaise shot to see if I could focus the camera on spaghetti instead to make the change seem less obvious, this still didn’t work because there was still an obvious change of shots when watching it back through. Next I tried turning the opacity of the bolognaise shot down at the end and at the beginning of the zooming out footage of the maggots on the spaghetti so that the footage would go completely dark when the shots where changing. Although this got rid of the flashing problem between the two scenes, this made the audience suspect that there was going to be a change of footage as it seemed like a proper cut, whereas I wanted the audience to be constantly looking at the texture and assuming the shot was staying the same. Next I tried using the ‘change to colour’ tool to try and get the bright whites in the second shot to match the colours in the first, but this only made the second clip go a strange colour and took it further away from merging fluidly with the first shot. I then watched a Youtube tutorial which showed me how to overlap films, so I turned down the opacity where the clips would overlap and then merged them together by placing one over the other. This worked perfectly and I finally had the outcome that I was aiming for, as the two clips merged fluidly so to an unsuspecting eye it does not seem that the footage is changing at all. This clip is to show the different perspectives of someone living with a mental illness and someone who is not, as it is meant to demonstrate how everyday situations such as sitting at a table to eat a meal can be a struggle for people who suffer from a mental illness.