Consciousness to me is the quality of reactive existence. It is the ability to notice the things around you with little to no heed… the vigilance of artist Richard Mosse when he carried an infrared camera into the wilderness of war torn Congo.
In this semester’s studio, I have been focusing on improving my filmmaking consciousness particularly through means of process. This idea of consciousness can be limited to my understanding of procedures in each stage of filmmaking, my awareness to compel ideas through a natural compression of thoughts. I wanted to acquire a quality inherent to my own character, which becomes a means of habit and thereby second nature. To be able to form a description of my filmmaking with no need to write anything down – consciousness becoming an addiction that you do not realise you have, nor need to find a cure.
Nicolette has been working on a magazine project (ivy ii) that with feature artists in co-ordinance with a pop up store, Pink Lemon. In week 7, she proposed the idea that she wished to pursue for the rest of semester – that of investigation and defining the parameters of video portraits. At this stage, I was in my own process of developing a profile on one of my family friends, and it felt like a natural progression to join Nicolette and attempt to seam our ideas together into something larger. We decided to attempt and refine our skills of filmmaking through portraits, with the notion to one day later shoot a series of videos showcasing artists featured in the ‘ivy ii’ magazine. This task seemed particularly compelling to the pair of us, as it is something we are able pursue beyond this semester and apply to situations outside of university.
In studio sessions throughout the semester, we learnt different practical skills to add to our own developing consciousness. The first of these began with the basis directions around Sony x200s, white balance and aperture. We conducted experiments during class in small groups to cement these resources into our minds until they were refined into some form of competency. As we began to grasp the basic skills of the new cameras, we were introduced to audio equipment and thrust into environments by which we were required to test the quality of sound in obtrusive environments. Later this developed further with the induction of lighting and the process which following setting up a scene.
Throughout these sessions we were also aware of the week seven presentations we were to give, pitching our ideas to continue developing the processes by which we would create this semester. In accordance with such, we were allowed to create our own experiments to assist us in the progression of our proposals. For example, a few of my classmates and I conducted a basic framing investigation, to look at the basic inherent to an interview set up. Such allowed us further expression and continued our momentum in creating a library of filmmaking skills. Feedback from our tutor Paul in these tasks imprinted notions we had learnt in previous classes, but had failed to apply to our own work, such as the 180 degree line of shot consistency. Though each of these was a learning process that ensure we did not cross that line the second time around.
By the time we reached our week seven proposals, we had already began to breach ourselves into spaces of filmmaking thought. Thus when it came to conceiving an idea, our minds did not have to wonder too far from what we had already been developing, even if we were unaware that our scattered blog posts were forming some kind of cohesion. As mentioned before, Nicolette and I found coherence across our presentations and felt that substance could be created from meeting our minds. From here, our first few weeks of investigation were dedicated to individual research and forming our own means of video portraits which we felt reflected something within ourselves, whether that be our means of work or our creativity. I decided to shoot my dad, later adding my mum into the equation, creating a short clip on their marriage and the story of how they first met. I found that by this process, a large proportion of my consciousness fell naturally into a means of more abstract representation of ideas.
Nicolette and I through means of class brainstorming then came up with a concept to shoot her two friends, Ted and Hamish. We used this as our summaries to continue our development through the rest of semester, creating an interview of the pair and then finally, looking at an individual environment and image of Ted. Both of these shoots allowed us to implement the skills we have been developing throughout this semester, in terms of technical abilities as well as conceptual approaches. We were able to frame a single picture and focus on the appearance that this would give our audience, in turn preparing us for later productions of a similar nature.
The reoccurring theme of consciousness is not something noteworthy in every sentence of expression. It is not something thats needs to be grounded or informed. To me, it is about being so aware, that you can allow yourself to be almost unaware. It is about being so engrossed that your pensive thought is something that can be pushed into the back isles of your mind. This is something that I want to continuously develop as this studio has allowed me to do so, leaving my inadvertent thoughts idle as a fading apprehension to my greater consciousness.