reflection of group crit…

In the group crit this week I raised my ideas regarding the reassessment of my final piece.  I wanted to get some feedback on whether simplifying the work would benefit the viewers overall understanding of the piece, and although the general consensus was ‘yes’, the process of talking about it did throw up some interesting suggestions which I found quite enlightening.

Firstly, my refined final piece intends to only use the flowers that sit on central reservations as its main visual and methodological focus.  These flowers symbolise an event happened within that space, they embody it with a certain identity, they incite a narrative and change the space into a place.

There was a concern the work could be construed by some as some sort of memorial, which I can totally understand and is obviously not the works intention, but we talked about it and by adding some supporting text and to not personalise it in any way (i.e. a personal title) would be a good starting point for communicating the true idea behind the piece.  This still needs a little more thought though.

There was also conversation about what imagery I was intending on displaying.  To recap, I intend to use ultrasonic sensors to detect movement, this movement will trigger a change in video.  When there is no presence within the space the work will show accelerated imagery, which epitomises in many ways how we conventionally experience the motorway.  When movement is sensed, the work will flip to something more identifiable, the flowers in this circumstance, that show there are signals of events and identity affecting this space, and maybe because of our constant movement we often fail to see it.

Tim suggested that I could still use all of the material I was intending too, and have an accelerated version that plays when there is no movement flicking through all the videos at a pace that is unidentifiable.  When movement is sensed the video slows right down so the imagery can be inspected more clearly, offering the viewer to opportunity to comprehend it.  I have to say I really like this idea but I do still feel that, with the particular imagery I have (some of it being quite abstract) it would still demand a lot form the viewer to truly understand.  Maybe this approach would be most successful if all the footage was the same subject matter? I do like this approach  and I have a piece of work in mind for the future, beyond this M.A that will use this idea (thanks Tim…!) 

Katrin spoke of what the imagery would look like when the more accelerated footage was being displayed and raised the idea of just having one video that plays and is slowed down by the movement of people accordingly (kind of a singular example of Tims idea)  This idea, as simple as it sounds, made a lot of sense to me and in a way solved a few problems I have been having with regards to the visual presentation of the piece. Prior to this suggestion I had been thinking of using a completely different visual source for the accelerated aspect of this work, below I have posted an example of this:

I have been having a lot of problems combining this kind of imagery with the alternate imagery, this might have been because of colour and form but for the most part, it just didn’t feel right, I have not been able to get it to flow in the way that I think it could.  

To an extent, Katrins suggestion may iron out this problem.  With the flowers, I have been drastically slowing down the footage and using two effects in Final Cut Pro, they are ‘Widetime’ and ‘Trails’  I really like the result of the combination of these two effects as they stretch the time between the frames, note: PAL video has 25 frames per second, if you slow the source down to say 10%, FCP has to stretch the 25 frames over the time multiplied by 10, i.e. 1 second of video (25 frames) at 10%, the new duration would be 10 seconds, the way that FCP handles this is to blend the frames, and when you get down to really slow speeds like I am, this results on longer gaps between blending, which can look bad (depending on what your going for I suppose) but ‘Widetime’ and ‘Trails’ counteract this, kind of like Optical Flow retiming in Motion, yet I find the results of using these effects a little more interesting as the cars lights chase themselves across the screen in an abstracted blur.  The only downside to this process is that it takes about 35 hours to render 1 minute of video! but the results are worth it…..!? 

Anyway, back to Katrins suggestion, I feel that by extracting the moments in the video of when the cars pass the flowers (with the afore mentioned effects) compositing this footage and speeding it up could create this feeling of flux.  This would solve a lot of the problems I have been having with the flow of colour within the piece (my flowers and other footage had been becoming increasingly blue and yellow to flow in and out more smoothly with the video example I posted above) and also situates it more nicely, within one space.  Thanks to Katrin for the suggestion.  

More was asked about what connotations this simplification of the work has on what it is portraying.  Is it showing the manifestation of time within a space? or is it more showing how a space has acquired a narrative? I need to keep on questioning this over the coming weeks, but I feel that the crit helped me immensely in refining my final work further. 



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