FMP: Installing Work

Having cleaned the space I set about installing in the small darkened space.

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First I had this plinth cut to size and painted in order that the projector would sit on it. Then Adrian and I set up the projector.

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The projector used is the small hitachi projector that was used for the initial measurements to work out if the idea was feasible all those weeks ago.

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The film itself is on the memory stick going into the black box, which is a media player that allows for films to be shown on the projector.

I put the projector into place and used the projection on the wall to work out where the canvases would go as planned in my sketchbook.

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Using strips of velcro to attach to the wall the arrangement came out like this, quite similar to the drawing.

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Adrian then attached this speaker to the projector and media player to allow for sound.

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In order to hide all the wiring this V shape was cut into the back of the plinth and all the plugs and wires were pushed underneath.

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The remaining wires were concealed using this plastic tubing.

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My exhibition statement was mounted on to foam board and then attached to the outside wall with velcro.

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Finally this black curtain was put up to fully darken the room for projection.

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FMP: Wall Statement

“CINEMA UNDERGROUND

in new york city in the subway sometimes through the window a bit of stray neon will light up the graffiti, when the sweaty cars are delayed it slides past the windows, buried underground it’s a slice of the old city

or in the village vanguard jazz club under greenwich village when jimmy heath (age 90) the saxophonist is playing a solo you can hear the subway go past, it rumbles by and shakes the floor and the smashed light fixture destroyed by charles mingus

also where the artist brion gysin once descended into the dirty porcelain tunnels with a tape recorder the size of a suitcase

in the north of paris the metro rattles above the streets of barbes rochechouart, you can see it going over the tents on the bridge by the gare du nord when you’re crossing a six lane road on a little bicycle yelling with delight

in berlin on the u-bahn you can see everything as it glides above big empty expanses where the twentieth century used to be

the tube is very clean now and the buskers are auditioned, but sometimes you chance on a particularly dirty wall, a sinister tunnel lit up by harsh white tubes, an old lawyer hunched over the urinal in baker street station

and sometimes down there with a little camera you get the right mixture of fear and excitement from the filth that is being so quickly cleaned above.”

This is quite cryptic. I didn’t want to be too explanatory, I would rather the work spoke for itself. As a result this statement is more an accompanying piece of writing.

FMP: Preparing an Exhibition

We spent four days clearing and preparing the Richard Hamilton Building for the exhibition. There has already been a degree show here so it was already pretty clean, but there was still the usual list of jobs. These were painting walls white, filling walls, removing screws and nails, and painting plinths. There was also a bit of sweeping. For my own space there wasn’t much to be done because it is a darkened room. However I did sweep the floor and have a plinth cut down to the right size for the projector to sit on.

FMP: Reflecting on the Film

With the film and soundtrack now finished completely, I have watched it a few times and had some thoughts about whether I like it, and what would I change.

There are things about the film I really like, for instances I think stylistically the film works really well. There are black and white saturated shots that I really like, and there are moments with lots of unity where each shot is accentuating vanishing points and perspectives in underground tunnels really well. I also am happy with the capturing of the artificial light, which was one of my initial goals. The soundtrack is also nice, I think it fits really well with the mood of the visuals.

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If I could make the film again, or even recut it, I think I would make some changes. I would ideally like to have spent longer filming, but as this required going to London, I decided to limit costs and do it all over a few days. There are definitely things I would love to focus on and accentuate more as themes, for instance the isolation of figures reduced to silhouettes in tunnels that appears in spots of the film. The whole thing is quite scattershot, naturally, because I had to work quickly, not much time for deliberation. It might be better stripped back of a lot of some of the more outlandish footage, for instance I would like to lose any shot that doesn’t have some kind of tunnel perspective effect. The length isn’t necessarily the problem – the film is 15 minutes long though is really intended as a loop without beginning or end – just the variety of different ideas being thrown around.

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More of this.

I would also love to incorporate the visual style of the film into a more conventional narrative film, I think this would be more interesting although perhaps not as a gallery piece. Luckily these are all ideas I hopefully will be able to put into practice next year if I go to university in London as planned.

Now I am interested in seeing what the film will look like projected on to a big collage as planned. I hope it will all go okay as this has never been tested before, it will really be a case of seeing if it works when everything is set up.

FMP: Creating a Soundtrack

One problem with this project has been that I was unsure until the very last week whether there would be a suitable space for the work. As a result I decided not to edit the film with sound, I did it all silently. During this process the silence seemed like a good idea, it meant the images said more.

Anyway, it turned out that the allotted space for my work is quite suitable for installation, a very small darkened room isolated from other work in a larger room outside. I decided as a result that it would be interesting to at least see what effect a soundtrack would have.

I made a very rough soundtrack using audio from the footage I took in a music program called Ableton Live, which allows for the layering of different audio, sort of the sound equivalent of the video editing software. It was pretty difficult at first because I was working in a different computer program, so I had to check the times in the film where different things happen, and then go to the music program and put sounds at that point. It really would have been much easier to do visuals and audio at the same time.

I decided straight away that a soundtrack was an improvement, and decided to start refining more and more. Initially I simply added audio taken from the footage, so essentially field recordings. Working on the soundtrack more, I added complexity, layering different field recordings on top of each other, which matches the simultaneous four clips playing in the film. Then I thought to add a musical element, which would make the film more interesting to watch and add a certain expressive element. I added into the soundtrack some elements of recordings I made last year, re-cutting and changing them in the software. The music is generally jazz to link to the underground-night-city theme and also to link to the projects influences. Finally I added some snippets of recordings of speech by Cartier Bresson and Allen Ginsberg as a kind of pop art reference.

These are buried pretty deep in the mix. I treated the whole thing quite heavily with effects to create a more immersive effect, for example I added quite a lot of reverb, an audio effect which creates the illusion of a large space, to all the audio to mimic the larger spaces of underground stations. I also employed panning heavily, which is when the audio is put into the left or right speaker/headphone, which hopefully will create some kind of surround sound effect.

It was hard work making a soundtrack on such short notice, but generally I am pleased with the result, everything syncs up and the atmosphere is more or less what I intended.

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This is where I did most of the work. Along the right are all the different bits of audio, and then in the the large middle space is where I layered them all. The horizontal lines are markers for when different things occur in the film.

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This is where I added the effects. You can see the reverb at the bottom, and also EQ which can be used to increase the amount of bass or treble in a piece of audio.

FMP: Tutorial with Myfanwy 09.05.17

Me and Myfanwy discussed progress, and the project, still in the editing stage, seems to be going well, all in time for the deadline on 22 May. We decided it might be useful to do some test projecting in the photographic studio. I tried to sort this out, however unfortunately the studio and some of the required equipment was booked out. This means I will have to wait until actual installation to see the final effect, which is a little risky. However I have been keeping in mind the final effect, making the film black and white and the collage surface fairly neutral, so I think this will probably not be a problem.