I'm going to start this post by pasting an excerpt of an email that I sent to a music professor, Dr. Greene, about my project. It should catch you up on what I've been thinking about.
"Before going into what I'm doing I'll give you the why. One of my favorite things about art is the experience that you are put through whenever you view it, there is a mental participation. Even works of art one does not understand evoke a response out of the viewer because even not having a reaction is a reaction. I want to exaggerate that response out of someone, to place an emphasis on being unified with the art. This is partially why I have chosen to work with 3 dimensions. If done correctly, the participant is placed in position where he or she, maybe subconsciously, is forced to interact with the medium because there is depth...a visual saturation so to speak, and satisfaction. As silly as this may sound, an obstacle I find myself facing right from the concept is that I like the idea of being able to have my show appeal to the average person without feeling the judgments of the "artistically intellectual" and thinking I'm merely dealing with what Duchamp condemned the term "retinal art", eye-candy.
As far as the video portion is concerned, I'm depending on a few elementary concepts to achieve the appropriate results, all of which are equally important I think: narrative, visual depth, and auditory immersion. Combine narrative with audio and you have...a bedtime story. Narrative with visuals, a silent film. Take out the narrative and we have research, or some various way of dispensing information (which, to make interesting is tricky and requires an array of things on both the dispenser as well as the receiver), but I digress that because it's not my current focus. When the 3 are combined, we have what I think of as the "Trinity of Video Experience" (sorry, I couldn't resist making the reference). Through narrative, your mind is focused and off-balance. You're (hopefully) "on your toes" or "the edge of your seat" ready to take in what is next, your mind is open and that is a beautiful thing. Of course, narrative needs a means of delivery, some way to get the story across. As aforementioned about 3D video, it has an awesome ability of erasing the space between the viewer and the screen. Finally, and probably unnecessary to talk to you about, is the power in using audio to carry scenes from place to place. The ability to get an audience to hang on every word...or syllable. I think I am slowly understanding the potential intensity and possibilities that art can have on a person. With this project, I hope to explore the facets of opening one's imagination as it was when hearing a bedtime story as a child. It's so much more complicated to do when we "grow up".
Okay. To finish we have the "what" of what I'm doing. As I'm sure you've put together, I want a short cinematic experience that will incorporate all these ideas whirling around in my head, at least that's going to be the first half and the one of which I'm currently concerned. I asked a friend to write a story that I want to be narrated. As I told Tori whenever I gave her the criteria of what I wanted, "think about it being less of a script for a movie and more of a story being imagined on the big screen (in 3d)." I am looking for a solid balance between being visually interesting without going over the top. I'm finding simplicity is key to making that happen--having something for the viewer to focus on, visual composition I guess would maybe be a term we can call it. The rest you can probably imagine. I want clean and crisp audio, a full sound of highs and lows. I plan to set it up to be dark, like a theater, with maybe 15 chairs setup and, of course, a small supply of glasses for viewing purposes.
So that's it. What I want to do. I am doing a good bit to make it come into fruition but am not at all opposed to help, which takes us all the way back to my previous email; what you can do to help. I am attaching the story in this email as it currently is. If you could work with me to revise it and maybe work with me on a few questions/ideas I have to see if you think this is at all achievable. My one request for whenever you read the story is, read it out loud. Maybe to Mrs. Beth, or to Sylvester, or have her read it to you or even have Sylvester read it to you if he's learned to read since I last visited, but it is going to be narrated and read out loud/enacted to the audience so it is important to me that you first read it as they will hear it, then go back in and change things."
I know...it turned into an essay, but it got everything I needed to say out and written down. (By the way, if you're interested, ask me and I will send a copy of the story to read for yourself)
What is not documented, and I really wish it was, was the visit that I paid to Dr. Greene shortly after this email. In it we discussed lots of things; aesthetics, theory, practicality, process were the main topics of discussion.
Here is a video derived from that discussion as well as the email. It includes the 3 elements that I so strongly emphasized in the aforementioned email: narrative, video, sound. I had to use youtube because I have exhausted my allotted Vimeo limit without paying for it... Be sure to full screen it and turn up the volume for the best affect.
Interestingly, I posted this video to facebook and it went semi-viral. I've gotten emails asking me if they could use it for presentations and churches among lots of great feedback which tells me 2 things: people enjoyed it and people were touched by it. It kept their attention. I will be doing a few more studies like this over the break. More updates to come
This is just a photo that I love that I took recently at our family's homemade photo shoot. It is of my nephew, Samuel:
(and remember every photo can be clicked on to see them at their original resolution)