Exploring Media, exercises 3-8 (?pertaining to assignment 6)

This is the other page in the course notes that had gone missing unnoticed but that I think I probably addressed from experience elsewhere. In my video, I have very definitely worked to my strengths, using VR technology to show my AR work and a fantasy avatar to tour with it. I have learned a huge amount about video making in this process so that, while still rooted in physical painting, I feel better equipped to begin innovating beyond the techniques I have used so far. I think this approach also reflects sensitivity to the project (Ex 4) in that it not only uses technology as the vehicle for the presentation, it also employs digital icons such as a virtual world and a science fiction character.

In the interim, have been searching for other artists who are doing this – physical first, digital second – rather than leaving the physical work to create images on entirely digital platforms. There are plenty of photographers, film makers, digital painters and animators but to date I have found none who work with the physical piece throughout the digital process. I have tried to reverse search some of my own images to see what transpires, but to date there has been nothing.

Exercise 5 is about recruiting someone to pitch the project back to me, but I’m not clear how that works because I hadn’t understood this as a project, more a curated collection.

The sixth exercise concerns articulation of key themes. I took my lead for this from the series of questions listed in the notes and factored in both the time constraints and the ways in which I had approached this element in the past, which is as a piece of art in itself. To this end, I focused less on dialogue and more on responses to the questions, putting these into a Word document and then recording the audio output from the Read Aloud facility. This I edited in Audio Director to drop the tone of the female voice and also to make a robotic version of it. These two tracks sat one under the other in the video editing suite so that there was a slight echo. As the video compositing process progressed, I sliced each of the sets of responses into separate clips and located them as synchronised units into gaps in the other audio tracks.

Exercise 7 is about language. This is a very personal thing which I understand from the perspective of essentially cloning every good writer I have come across in the process of finding my own voice! The video is very definitely my voice, in words if not in actuality.

The result is definitely not a pitch but I would expect it to be different from many others a recipient may be required to view. And it does articulate, in very discrete terms, answers to the questions about what I do, why I do it, who it’s for, and where it comes from. Arguably, the visual elements themselves tie the work into a specific context and ‘show rather than tell’ the influences of film, and virtual and augmented reality. At root, the physical work is present in the video, each piece preceding its digital version, and the theme is one of inclusivity and communication.

Exercise 8 is titled ‘Show don’t Tell’. This is the mantra of all writers, that thing about building a world by stealth, not by dumping exposition on the reader; by letting characters live in that world and use it, not by telling the reader that this fictitious gadget is ‘normal’; and absolutely never doing an ‘As you know Bob’ whereby one character explains to another what they both understand that other character already knows. This may seem to go against my aim for inclusivity and communication, and I’ve been challenged many times on the grounds that viewers should be given space to find out for themselves what is going on.

But the idea that giving a little more information to assist people new to art, or even those not so new to it, in getting a handle on something they might otherwise dismiss might somehow spoil the experience is to misunderstand the nature of communication. Anyone who has read about an artist or seen documentaries will have an extra layer of clues, which are effectively hooks to hang new understanding from. No one challenges that. My aim is to offer something closer to the art work which might engage a person who might otherwise walk away.

I saw this at the recent art trail where people disinterested in art per se, they had come with someone who wasn’t, became engaged with it once they saw the embedded videos. The videos added a layer of information or context that spoke to those people in a way the painting alone did not. There were no lectures or essays; nothing to read; no homework to do; and absolutely no information dumps. As a result, I was able to discuss painting technique with a 10 year old girl; conservation with two parents; Degas with any number of people; and feminist perspectives on women in art.

Post script. Looking at the course materials again, I think this section may refer to preparation for assessment, in which case it’s part of assignment 6. It would really have helped if the assignments had not been included as a batch separate from the actual course work, but as I understand it, this module has been reorganised without reference to its author with inevitable fault lines. The work is done, anyway.

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