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This video is aimed to depict our one week crash course adventure of learning how people utilize public spaces in Brooklyn, and specifically sought to interview and engage with real people that are involved with the urban gardening movement that is currently taking place there. We looked at this project as experience for our selves and attempted to translate that into an essayistic documentary for the public.
Artist Statement – “Untitled”
Brooke Bolding and Jackie Rosen
Our video explores societal attitudes towards mental health, and how those attitudes inform our relationships to people with radically different ideologies. Othering and mental health were our collaborative focus, both of which pertain to themes of justice. We collaborated through all aspects of our process, thinking to with a way to represent our topics. We decided to integrate a newsreel style into our video in order to historicize the treatment and misrepresentation of people with mental disorders. By then shifting to a more experimental approach, we hope to call attention to the way attitudes about mental health, while seemingly evolved, are still out of date. The attitudes about mental health inform the language people use all the time when describing people who think very differently from them. Our video is a radical adaptation of our combined essay. The modes of representation we employed are primarily performative and reflexive. We call upon the cultural icon of Nurse Ratched to establish a frame of reference for our audience, which we later challenge. The most challenging aspect of this project was representing our message visually.
The subject we chose is sustainable building. We hope this will encourage people to take extra steps toward moving into more eco-friendly homes in the future or making renovations to their current homes. The script is traditional because it does not stick 100% to the original essay and also involves interviews with people who have more to say than what was on the original paper.
It is both expository and performative. While there is a narrator reiterating what we said on our paper, there are also interviewees communicating with the viewer personally. The film is partially black and white and has somber music, setting a serious tone for a serious subject. The most challenging part of making this movie was trying not to make the same movie for the third time in a row. We sidestepped this a number of ways, but the interviews are the biggest change.
In this piece we primarily aimed to create a comparison between the urban sprawl and wildlife. To address the issues of coexistence between humans and nature, the film juxtaposes images of metropolis and forestry settings. We endeavored to create an “identity free” visual progression as this global issue applies to all humans. This silent film is a radical adaptation to an essay confronting complicity in regards to environmental awareness. The video piece takes an observatory and poetic approach at delivering its message. Visually the piece parallels patterns and ongoing events in both city and forest to define a connection. Due to a concise production plan, the making of this film went smoothly, leaving any challenges as simple scheduling constraints and remembering the variable shudder.
We met because Albert told Steve his old North Face backpack was really fresh.
“Fresh? You mean like it smells bad?”
“No man, it’s cool.”
Steve looked it up on the web. Origin: 1980’s NY hip hop, “highly approved by someone”. Cool, if outdated.
We talked. Albert’s a 20 year old Muslim who grew up in Yakima. Steve’s an agnostic who grew up in Ellensburg. He’s turning 70 a couple weeks after we write this Artists Statement and post it with our video on the blog. Neither one of us knows jack about blogging, but we guess we’ll learn, as with so much else in this class.
We asked ourselves: How can a committed Muslim and a committed agnostic work toward mutual understanding? The question wasn’t “Can we?” But “How?” The answer was: Make a film together about our beliefs. Do it with good will and respect and we’ll be working toward mutual understanding in the world.
Albert told Steve about Islam, took him to the Mosque, showed him how to pray, talked about heaven and hell. Steve told Albert about agnosticism—not always easy, because despite being one, he doesn’t often try to explain it in detail.
Our styles are very different. Steve’s a writer, Albert is a texter. Albert jumps right in, Steve gets nervous if he doesn’t have a plan. Albert doesn’t give a rip about recycling; Steve does. Steve doesn’t give a rip about Hell; Albert does.
But we both do art, we both make music, and we both try to follow the Golden Rule. We learned a lot making the video, about each other and ourselves. We spoke openly and listened closely, gradually fading out the debate impulse, cranking up the dialog. We’re not expecting any big conversions, in ourselves or in the other person, but we’re seeing changes we like.
Control the Food, Control the People
By Nik, Madeline, & Annie
Topic of collaboration: Genetically modified organisms and the potential health risks associated with them. It connects to our program theme of sustainability, as the health risks do not contribute to a sustainable life style.
Creative process and intentions: As a group we had an idea based off of textual information about genetically modified organisms. Because of this our intentions with the video and sound were to create a minimal and experimental housing to present the information through on screen text.
Nature of our adaptation: The adaptation of our essay to video was partly traditional to radical. The text information in the video is the traditional aspect of the video. But the audio and video are radical adaptations.
Modes of representation: For this video we employed multiple modes of representation. Uses of poetic, expository, and reflexive modes of representation are present in this video.
Stylistic approach: Our group approach to this video was to make use of experimental or abstract sounds and visuals, through editing and recording, to create more of an emphasis of the text information being presented through the video.
Challenges: Some of the challenges the group had were, time constraints, limited resources for filming, and deciding on what visuals to use in the piece.
Topic: Our short film Laberinto deals with issues of consumerism, over production, commercialism, and the resulting waste.
How we Addressed S and J: Our film mainly addresses the theme of sustainability. We paralleled this them with images of consumerism and commercialism.
Group Process: Using scripts and location scouting, we determined where we would gather most of our footage, but we hit our stride during digital editing.
Nature of Adaptation: Radical/Experimental
Mode of Representation: Reflexive, Poetic, and Participatory
Stylistic Approach: We decided to experiment with vertical montage, using both dialogue and music, to weave together a cohesive piece of video.
Biggest Challenge: Finding ways to work around time constraints and planning for the unexpected. Also, creating a final piece that makes sense and flows.
Our topic involves how a binary gender system is presented to us, and how this shapes our societal concept of a default gender.
In the terms of sustainability and justice, acknowledging that as a culture we have adopted a binary gender system in which males are portrayed as the most normal begins a process in which we can acknowledge individuals disenfranchised by that binary gender system.
The adaptation of our essay intends to present instances in which being given an assigned gender negatively impacts our emotional development as humans. In many ways, the disenfranchised become powerless toys for a society that does not care to acknowledge systematic abuses that might inconvenience day to day life.
The primary mode of representation we used were performative. We talked a lot about how to represent what we were feeling about our own involvement in sustaining a binary gender system, and we also talked about how to record the concepts of isolation, powerlessness, and compassion without taking advantage of anyone. We tried to incorporate instances of reflexivity to acknowledge our role as filmmakers, knowing that a lot of the rules we learn about gender are taught through media. Taking a more poetic license with the piece gave us leeway to experiment with video editing and conceptualizing the piece, which turned out quite different from our film adaptation.
The most challenging aspect of this collaboration was trying to pare down what we wanted to say, and figuring out how to say it with moving images. Finding a voice and learning how to use it effectively are two separate things.