Sunday, May 23, 2010
by Raul Garcia
Here's a clip of the sequence (shot starts at :57):
By combining this narrative reveal with the superbly executed long take and flow of visuals, music, sounds, and dialogue, Tarkovsky achieves that ebb and flow of action-oriented plot, pure contemplation and reflection, but also formless movement through the motif of the water. In examples like this it is more of a challenge to connect action and perception with time and sensation because the two extremes naturally remove one from the other. By condensing these opposing forces into small sequences/shots a filmmaker can really induce powerful affects in the viewer.
Password is deleuze
Here is the full video of what I showed in class regarding my project attempting to depict examples of movement-images becoming time-images and vise versa. This particular experiment is a collection of 9 frames arranged next to each other in a grid. Six of the frames I chose are examples of classical movement-images that are related not only to mobility, but also to modern transportation. I wanted to use the earliest known infatuations with movement such as distinct POV shots that embodied movement of character. In these types of shots the sense of movement is easily achieved through the changing scenery as it relates to the mobile unit; however, it can also be accomplished by showing a mobile object approaching the stationary viewer as is the case in the classical example of a distant train gradually approaching a station. These would be considered forms of perception-image, which is a subset of the movement-image.
Two of the other frames I utilized are images of household chores: a laundry machine and a sink of dirty dishes being washed. While these aren’t conventional action-images they do create a feeling of movement in the sense that the viewer/character is moving towards the completion of something (i.e. the finished load of laundry and the clean sink respectively). The final frame I used is the one most closely resembling a time-image. It begins with a close-up of leaves on a tree blowing in the wind and gradually zooms out to reveal a larger environment. Later on in the shot we see a character walk through the space where we get a sense of body as it relates to environment (a-la Antonioni), which again is a form of perception-image.
With this collection of movement-image frames I tried to morph them into one whole time-image. The key for me was to transpose the affection of the images into a cumulative experience. With the movement-images we are more concerned with perception, specifically optical perception, while with the time-image we are more concerned with sensation; a more tactile and visceral response from the viewer that evokes a feeling of time and duration.
As the piece develops and we introduce more frames I think the collection of familiar images creates a “new” image when viewed together as one. By doing this we do indeed take the movement-images of everyday perception (which we can relate to the narrative of our daily lives) and mold it into a future image (or the potential and the virtual) that allows the audience to construct some sort of meaning from them (which can be a more poetic interpretation of our routine existence).
Despite some success there were several problems with this experiment. To begin, the captured sounds required an investment of more time in the mastering of the sound to artificially smooth out the soundscape. The main problem was that some of the sounds stood out more than others and even though their audio levels were lowered accordingly, they still managed to pierce through the collective orchestra of clicking and clanging by nature of their unique timbre and high familiarity (the subway sounds were difficult to assimilate). The experiment also required more diverse environments/sounds. I think I overly used cars and trains in the different frames. I should’ve thought about using footage of boats, planes, and bicycles to provide more variation in the images.
In addition, this juxtaposition of movement-images would’ve been more successful had they been in context of a greater whole or narrative. If all the frames depicted a group a characters en route to rendezvous somewhere, I think this collection of images would’ve successfully taken the audience from an image of a sensory-motor schema to an image of pure optical and sonic sensation that lends itself to reflection and contemplation, which would’ve take the audience from an action-image to a time-image.
Password is deleuze
This is an example of one of the long take experiments I conducted for my project suggesting the interchangeability between action-image and time-image in a filmic setting. In this example I attempted to achieve this feat by seamlessly altering the audience's perspective from a vicarious viewer (through the eyes of the onscreen character) to an independent viewer. Deleuze mentions in Cinema 2 that in the time-image "the character within the film becomes a viewer".(1) This long take attempted to emphasize the vacillating perceptions/contemplations between both the viewer and the character (acting as both viewer and non-viewer). The main idea was to morph this continuous shot from a time-image (e.g. disjointed images, a contemplative character/viewer, etc.) to an action-image (e.g. the character reacting to a noise, eye line matches, etc.).
I think this particular experiment accomplishes the movement from POV perception to character perception within the space affectively. We get that sensation when the camera moves from the close-up of the book to a close-up of the character’s face looking off in the distance, which is then followed by a slow motion pan to scenery that is out of focus. I was trying to move from a action-image that directly reflects the perception of the character to a time-image where we see the character perceiving the space and also contemplating. The movement back to a quasi-POV by way of the pan was designed to visually display the change of perception as a result of the contemplative character. When our minds are meandering (or in a smooth state) we are less perceptive to detail; hence, the images become out of focus (both literally and figuratively in this case).
I think we also get a good sense of action-image becoming time-image when the character’s reading session is suddenly interrupted by the off screen noise of a car skidding. This aural disturbance triggers an action in the character that demands a different viewing experience from the viewer. Furthermore, the noise is sandwiched between two moments of reflection as the character views text and images evoking nature, while at the same time experiencing nature firsthand through time, duration, and perception.
(1) Deleuze, Gilles Cinema 2 p.3
Saturday, May 22, 2010
And what is not happening in most of contemporary art is the content. One of its greatest embodiments is the phenomenon of a "project in process" or a "work in progress" that is never brought to an end. Moreover, never intended to be finished. And for the big majority of them, this has nothing to do with Deleuzian becoming. Good art deals with the world's illness, its symptoms and sometimes even heals it. Bad art is just another symptom of the illness. Such is this type of "work-in-progress" art. It reflects the illusion of the movement in our control society. By constantly changing the names of the positions or multiplying their numbers, it creates the illusion of the actual change in positions or of their qualities. Our contemporary world is abundant with constant insisting upon "activity" – people's working hard, people's moving fast, people's working fast, and moving, moving, moving. No digesting. It leaves us doomed to the catharsis through the Hollywood film, which is carefully controlled. You are not allowed to take a pause and contemplate – possibly to think of an observation, impression or emotion thoroughly, throughout your being and from that come up with a genuine movement. Because that way you will create a thing with a content – with a meaning, a story, an emotion – a "human" element, that has changed yourself and then may affect the others, therefore is able of provoking a change. But the system has never desired a change. So it keeps (and this "it" is made up of us – it becomes you and I as soon as we agree to become lazy) spreading the word that we are moving – what it is actually is doing is pushing to the extreme until it reaches its opposite – a numb and mute immobility that is not even aware of itself. All that while "it" keeps patting us on the back for our pseudo-movements… as long as there is no content, no essence – in a word, no threat. And try protesting for real. Sooner or later you'll realize you've been bleeding, but internally.
But to bleed with a purpose and full awareness is a choice. It is Achilles' choice understood as a rejection of a comfortable and commodified life not for the sake of the name, but of the ideal mediated through a piece of art only to be re-embedded in an interlocutor that will further reshape it, play with it and carry it into some other space, time and dimension. It is for the sake of being alive and involved in this world. Because, you're going to bleed out anyway.
The form of an artwork issues from a negotiation with the intelligible, which is bequeathed to us. Through it, the artist embarks upon a dialogue. The artistic practice thus resides in the invention of relations between consciousness. Each particular artwork is a proposal to live in a shared world, and the work of every artist is a bundle of relations with the world, giving rise to other relations and so on and so forth, ad infinitum. (1)
I felt as though this helped to explain why my initial experience was not as interesting as my second visit to the exhibit. I realized that I did not fully allow a dialogue to take place with the art itself. I was too caught up in other things to have a full encounter with the art, and forgot to uphold my part of the relational art experience, thus was not able to fully engage with the work.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I appreciated the coverage of the exhibit on the MOMA’s website. It definitely serves as an extension of the exhibit itself. I found that I have watched the live stream of the performance from time to time, and am always immersed in footage. I appreciate how we are able to access the website in order to reunite with the relational experiences that we first encountered at the exhibit. It also made me wonder at which point the interactive aspects of the website were incorporated into the exhibit overall (was this first considered by Abramovic during the initial conception of the exhibit, or was it primarily designed by the MOMA?).
- Stephanie Class
(1) Bourriaud, Nicholas. Relational Aesthetics. Pg. 22.