Here are scanned pages from my notebooks. Although all the vital contents have been rewritten onto this site, here they are in their original form.
For the Interim exhibition, I presented a piece entitled ‘Breaking Bread’.
I had been reading about happenings, here and here, and was intrigued by the idea of an art piece away from the formality of art, and the structures of an Artistic movement, I was frustrated by the levels of complexity and layers of
faux depth the art world could present at times. I was yearning for art to be about genuine human connection. I wanted to create something as dynamic as a conversation between two wildly different people.
The participatory aspect of a Happening means you are putting value into the work via your presence – and the culmination of this same value being added by each participant of the group leads to something greater than the sum of its parts: a group rather than a set of individuals. The participation allowed for an immediately dynamic and shifting art experience rather than a static art object. The piece fed off the natural richness of social dynamics and inclinations to bond, and using the social lubricant of food and drink – the work created a framework for these interactions. In this light, the artwork has become more than a passive object to be to be gazed upon, it is something to be experienced and has a mechanistic feedback loop of organic social interactions.
I looked into other artists who also want to open up this communication stream, Lucy Orta and her collaborative piece ‘The Meal’ was a particular source of inspiration for this event but I wanted to go beyond that, using my prompts, to open up a harder hitting discussion.
On sitting down at the table, each person would be sat directly opposite another participant with several things on the table between them – a large loaf of bread for sharing, some hummus dip, a selection of drinks and some ‘conversation prompts’ in 4 distinct categories:
I designed these prompts to be hard-hitting, to delve further into social topics than polite conversation would normally dictate.
One of the key areas I’m interested in outside of my art practice is the intricacies and tension of politics. It’s a subject inescapable and ever-present. It rewards analysis and the building up of arguments, drawing on rationale and logic but also rooted in experience and worldview. This aspect is present in the work, but also acted as a catalyst – the divisive and fractured post-Brexit surrounding which the entire country found itself in could lead one to pessimism and isolation: this work was an attempt to fight against that urge and reconnect.
In another sense, the strength of this piece for me was how little it took for other people to open up to near strangers – opening up to others has been something I find incredibly difficult
Through this event, I reinforced an appreciation and understanding of how a simple act could prompt authentic connections; that I didn’t need anything overly complex to encourage people to share their intimate thoughts with another.
What I want to take forward the most is the forming of connections between people, and utilising the impact storytelling can have to connect to each other’s narratives. I want to explore how much people can project and reflect upon their own experience instigated by the smallest external stimuli. Going forward I want to focus on creating a dynamic sharing piece and have myself be the catalyst.
I want to explore the unresolved tension of unspoken thoughts and probe deeper into the audience’s consciousness.
According to Millie and Lorene’s schedule, it sometimes seems that they think the only thing that needs doing with sound is just syncing it with the footage and then dusting your hands for a job finished.
I guess this is a vaguely understandable belief to have if you’ve not worked with sound files or editing sound files before. However, I made sure that they do have access to exactly the same sound files as me. I know they are very focused on the visuals of the film and esp. the colour grading – which is fab, I love colour grading – but I wish they would stop treating sound as an afterthought.
This is very annoying. Especially when I had to fight so hard on set to capture decent sounds thanks to locals still being in the pub, and I had to pour so much work into Roll 6 (the main scene) in order to get the sound as crisp as possible with a controllable amount of background noise. To do this for every take will be a whole load of time thrown at it, which is something I don’t have while I still don’t have a cut of the film.
I’m sure they will realise once they hear the film synced with just the raw sound files, most of them completely untouched.
What I got from this:
I asked Lorene and Millie for a cut of the film as it stood so far.
I knew they were working on colour grading, but if the film needs the sound done sooner rather than later for the 1st cut, I needed to start before they finished colour grading.
I, therefore, asked Lorene for a full cut of the film as it was so far.
I asked what a “10 bit one” was. I then told her the stills would probably work, as it seems like it was causing her difficulties to sent them a render of the whole film.
This, as I learned later, was a mistake on my part.
She sent me a list of the shots:
so I made corresponding folders ready to receive the stills and dump the relevant sound files in the folder. It was labour intensive – for no real reason, and that labour could have been saved. That was a little frustrating.
As well, the stills were in DNG format! Large and unfriendly. I could turn them into jpegs, but that’s incredibly labour intensive.
The stills turned out to be a little useful, but only really for reference as to whether the sound was for the right shot, which it should have been, but as stills, they were not hugely useful even for this simple task.
I could not get to work.
This is why ‘Data Wrangler’ is a job, to separate the grunt simple file processing with the actual creative process of editing and mastering files.
What I learnt from this: