Monday, 11 January 2010

A Film

Just before Christmas - notably when I was writing my essay on James Bidgood's "Pink Narcissus" - I had a dream about a film set made out of tin foil and there was this woman that looked a bit like Elizabeth Taylor walking around it. She had a kind of wedding dress thing on and red lipstick and a beehive-ish hairdo. So I noted all this down and decided to keep the main ideas, which were to me of glamour (?) and tin foil. And that tin toil would look really nice filmed on 8mm.

Also I had been watching a lot of Captain Scarlet on the internet (another essay avoidance activity) because I adore Gerry Anderson programs. Actually I also watched some bits of The Secret Service, Joe 90 (which is shit) and Supercar. Anyway I love all the models, they're wonderful, and I decided I would get into making something when I started back. So I've been doodling some things in my notebook and the two ideas have combined and some sort of project is taking place.

Basically I want to make a film (shot on Super 8, obv...) that includes models, sets (plenty of tin foil) and costumes, props etc. As it'll be a bigger project than I think it is, as is always the way, my plan is to build and design separate elements week by week while I pad out the content of the film.

If it sounds ropey then I'm sure it is. Though having thought about it a little longer, I see it as a way of experimenting with different materials/mediums - model making, costume design, performance, sound, video etc. I just want to make all the things I've though of and then present them all in the context of a short film.

Anyway, below are some notebook images of the main ingredients so far:

Cherubs Descend Upon Chatsworth

Prior to the Christmas holidays, to help me avoid writing my essay I did some work on a series of sound loops made from recordings I had made of some of my vinyls being played by hand. I've found this to be quite a nice way to work because pre-recorded sound is a much higher quality and sharpness than most of the stuff I've recorded myself, for obvious reasons.
When it's played at the wrong speed and is only sampled for a second or so it can become pretty unrecognizable as the work of someone else, and you can use it to make nice new pieces of your own without needing to have a brass section to hand, for example.

I'll try to post this track "Cherubs Descend Upon Chatsworth" soon.
It was made up of four separate loop based pieces I'd made, that strung together quite well. Now the track doesn't really exist because I got rid of all the vocal samples and split it in the middle to separate a couple of the original pieces from each other. Now they're collecting dust in separate Garageband files but I'll get back to them in good time...


After the review I got out a macro-lens 35mm SLR to make these joiners using slide film, inspired by the artist Brion Gysin. In the left strip are frames of chocolate eclairs, which I had intended to run through the micro-film viewers at the Central Library in the hope of creating the illusion of a conveyor belt within them... I've not got round to doing this just yet though. And on the right strip as you can see is a joiner of my cock; of the whole 36-frame strip the one in the photo below was the best. I may re-do this as I find something about the aesthetic quite beautiful. Basically I just love slide film, it looks amazing against light and the detail in something so small has always fascinated me. I've got another roll so we'll see how it goes.

Throbbing Gristle/Amsterdam Zoo Videos

It's been quite a while since I updated, Nov/Dec were a bit of a downer for me but the new term makes me feel a bit fresher. So, I'll try and back track to where I was and continue from there...

I finished the Throbbing Gristle video I was working on and put it to sound I'd been making using cassette players. In retrospect it was fun to do and I did spend quite a bit of time doing it all, though at the time I felt it was half arsed and a bit of a failure. I think its ok though, with the ideas I had this is all it could have been, technically speaking at least.

Having re-watched it for the first time in a couple of months I realise I am pleased with it, I think the sound is good especially and though it doesn't fit so well in some places it does in others, and my intention was simply to put the sound on and see if some of it did sync. Having Throbbing Gristle as the subject matter makes any interpretation lean towards it being some sort of homage however. But I guess that's ok too because if it weren't for people that like I suppose I wouldn't have been inspired to make sound work.

In addition I also made a short video from Super 8 footage I took of monkeys in Amsterdam Zoo back in August. This was another video/sound experiment, and in all honestly I banged the video part out in an (ill) afternoon prior to our tabletop review thing. Again I decided that I didn't like it (though I did at first) and then grew to like it again... I don't know what I think about it. I know it didn't take me that long to make and that it was supported really by only one vague idea. I do like it a bit though. The sound is the best part once again i think.

I've had trouble getting the videos up this time but they are both on YouTube and here are the links, copy and paste please:

Throbbing Gristle Super 8:

Still -

Amsterdam Zoo Super 8:

Still -

Saturday, 24 October 2009

TG 8mm V.2 1000 200 10

The current state of my Super 8 video edit. So far I think there are some really nice bits, but I plan to work into it further. The video consists of footage from Throbbing Gristle's performance in London back in June, mixed with bits shot whilst exploring derelict buildings - St. Crispin's hospital in Northampton, The Saxon Cross Hotel in Sandbach and a large laboratory building, apparently a former paint mixing facility, in Holmes Chapel. But these really just serve as vignettes for the 'Gristle bits.

Friday, 23 October 2009

"England 'til I Die..."

So I've figured out how to embed my recent sound bits. The top one (No.1) is a kind of collage cut up and rearranged at random, though of course I've worked into it and tune-ified it in places. It consists mostly of sped up samples, including some clips recorded during a tour of the Bridgewater Hall's organ at the start of the month. The second (No.2) is a more tune-ish piece, with recordings made at a Violin performance at Victoria Baths - also at the start of the month - and a few samples from the cacophony of the "EDL" "demonstration" in the city centre a few weeks ago - police dogs, fascists, you know...

Sometimes I like the pieces and sometimes I don't. The quality of the original recordings is often far from perfect, and more often than not I can't resist the temptation to insert some sort of tuneful element. Pop musician at heart most certainly.

Do listen with headphones if you can.

They grow up so fast nowadays...

A small test semi-collage; actually I suppose this one is more of a diorama as there's a physical space for the characters to be in... But anyway, I'm currently working on some Super 8 footage shot over summer and trying to make something nice of it, though the afternoon's seminar preachings about having solid concepts and stuff in your work are bothering me somewhat. I don't feel it's always necessary, especially when you're still finding your feet.
We can't all be Joseph Kosuth after all, boring bastard.