Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Practice film

I copied the first section of my practice animation using FinalCut to create a repetitive effect which emulates daily routine. I think it's an improvement, but a lot still needs to be done!
I want to reuse this idea of repetition/monotony so it seems like a big, dramatic shock when I break away from it.

I need to think about WHY I'm using dolls - is it just convenient or have I carefully chosen them as found objects and considered their history and connotations to add something (what?) to my animation. I can look at other artists who use them, like Hans Bellmer, Viktor & Rolf, Jake & Dinos Chapman...

I also need to play around with pace - what would the effect be if I made the whole thing much slower (like the hypnotic 'Im-perfection' animation I came across in my research) - I should consider this idea of imperfection and masking or enhancing beauty.

I can change the camera angle to give different perspectives - I often need to take a step back and evaluate what I'm doing as well. It was pointed out that this practice film was shot from above, making the doll appear more vulnerable, which was purely accidental, but needs to be considered!

I could also experiment more with repetition and attempt to incorporate human body parts alongside dolls'.

I need to think back to concepts of psychological dependance on make up and the disturbing artificiality forced upon baby beauty queens.

Everyday: experiments

I worked all day on editing the images I took last Friday as an experiment for my final piece. I was looking at things like composition, lighting, how quickly/slowly to move things, how I can give an inanimate object lifelike facial expressions, and general pacing of the animation.

These experiments caused me to think hard about what I want to achieve aesthetically with my outcome and what I want it to say as a finished piece.

1 - flickering light/mascara wand
This was just really to see the relationship between the doll, the mirror and the camera. I had to angel the mirror so as not to accidentally appear in the reflection. I also tried not to have my hands in any of the shots. The flickering light was unintentional, and I quite like it/ it reminds me of the Quay Brothers. I wanted to dwarf the doll with this big mascara wand to show a send of overwhelming and premature pressure to wear makeup.

2 - first attempts at moving mouth
This was fairly unsuccessful - the lips I made were too light in colour and too small.

3 - doll's head - mouth movements

This is the experiment I did before the longer animation at the bottom of this post, I was seeing what effects I could achieve with only 4 different mouth shapes. I like the balance of obvious artificiality mimicking real life. I'd like to film/study human facial expressions in more detail, for example that funny face people pull when they apply mascara.

4 - doll's head - eye movements
As with the lip movements above I have shown the video at normal speed and then slowed down to half the speed afterwards. Here I tried to creative the effect of blinking, but was less worried about making it appear realistic - I was going for more of an unsettling/sinister effect.

5 - longer animation attempt

I talked to Jason and Alejandra and they both mentioned that it might be better to zoom in more, so more of the screen is composed of skin; it would be better focused instead of having a lot of useless white background.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Jason also made the comment that it would be interesting to discard the mirror and have the doll facing/confronting the viewer. This will be my next experiment as it would be interesting to have the camera as a kind of mirror.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Gabriel Orozco

Instead of working in the lab on Wednesday we visited the Tate Modern to see the Gabriel Orozco exhibition.
If you don't feel like reading all those scribbles, here's a summary:
  • Orozco reinvents everyday objects, taking them out of context or manipulating them slightly, to make them seem more unusual (I plan to do this!) examples: abstracted washing lines/laundry in 'Lintels', collected and laid out pieces of tyres, spat-out toothpaste turned into patterns...
  • In his famous piece 'Black Kites' (from the exhibition poster)  he has pain-stakingly drawn squares onto a human skull.*
  • In paintings like 'The Eye of Go' the artist uses black circles to create a sense of the scientific, as well as emulating the strange bubbles in 'First was the Spitting' (paintings which use toothpaste/spit as a starting point)
*this could be relevant to what I am doing with painting on doll's faces with black ink.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Southbank sequence

We were instructed to make a sequence of images similar to the one we made at uni last week; I got a bit distracted by the sunshine so I only have a few, but here they are:

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sequence of images

To practice putting images into a narrative sequence, we were sent to the library armed with a camera, to collect images we thought linked together in terms of theme, shape or colour.

Grace and I started by simply collecting images of as many yellow things as we could find and putting them together.

Then we moved on to books of portraits and other art books, taking images we thought were related and would tell an interesting story. We started with just one image that interested us: an old movie still of Dracula. Then we took as many related images as we could in such a short space of time and put them in order. We were aiming to tell the life story of a vampire backwards, from rebirth to death to adulthood, childhood, birth etc.
Grace and I used FinalCut to play around with the order and timing until we were happy with the sequence; here's what we came up with:

Monday, 14 March 2011

Some comments on the everyday and makeup

"I don't believe in dressing up reality. I don't believe in using makeup to make things look smoother."
Lou Reed


What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?

Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

Philip Larkin

“I don't like standard beauty - there is no beauty without strangeness.”
Karl Lagerfeld


I watched this Greek film (the title translates as Dogtooth) during GIS week,
which made me think about how 'the everyday' doesn't have to be mundane;
for some people every day is unimaginably bizzarre.

Though this film is obviously not animated, actually focusing very strongly on traditional filming, I want to use these ideas to make my animation unsettling and unusual.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Kirsten Lepore

Just discovered this animator
she's been getting a lot of awards!!

Here's an everyday conversation about becoming a vegan...

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Make up/ body paint

I brainstormed 'the everyday' and daily routine
and decided to focus on the application of make-up as an everyday event that is often overlooked.
I found the following videos to start off my ideas, though I want to work on a smaller scale and with human-like objects rather than people.

This one from the early 60s is amazing as it also tells a story
I am considering also using prosthetics/ adding or subtracting parts of the face for a more extreme effect.

I need to begin brainstorming visually, for example sourcing objects, making models, and trying out effects and timing.

WHY MAKE UP? From a personal perspective and for many girls/women I interact with, make up is an essential part of everyday life and daily routine. A lot of people I know won't leave the house without make up, and shows like Snog Marry Avoid expose people who are so addicted to make up that it's scaring people away from them. I started my research with child beauty pageants, a perfect example of the unnecessary and horrific overuse of make up in everyday life. These 'living dolls' are barely recognisable under thick layers of tan, foundation, mascara, eyeshadow and glitter, looking more like mini drag queens than pretty little girls. I want to expose this sense of make up as a burden that congeals and conceals beauty instead of complimenting it.

Ruth Hogben/ other influences

I've been watching a lot of Ruth Hogben fashion films and, though not strictly animation, they have a fascinating contrast between fluid and jerky motion.

I also love her use of fast/slow motion, symmetry and repetition.

I watched an interesting interview where she said she starts not with the music, or a visual idea, but with the garments themselves. The rest of the ideas stem from this.

She has worked with Lady Gaga for her tour interludes and designers like Celine and Gareth Pugh, sometimes even replacing their catwalk shows entirely with her fashion films. This is the future!

I particularly like this Nick Knight film (edited by Hogben) which reminds me of the dark style of the Quay Brothers. It is inspired by Annie Chapman who Jack the Ripper killed on the site of my old workplace (All Saints, Jack's Place) so I feel quite a strong connection to it - we always said the building was haunted.

I have been re-watching films by the Brothers Quay and this has led me to consider using 3D animation - something i have not done since the first week. I might even use found objects/dolls as they have done, though I want a more colourful and updated interpretation.