Screen Art and Film Workshop

Grub Thing by Maya Rizkyvianti

‘Grub Thing’ is a short film and a spoken word piece, exploring the sinister comfort of home and the fear to grow. Creating this film felt fitting for our current situation, and our discomfort with the lack of productivity many of us may experience. I attempted to evoke a sense of the unreal, the stifling existence confined to one small space, and what it is to be a ‘grub thing’ trapped in a cocoon of one’s own making. The mask, made of polymer clay and paint, served as a physical manifestation of one’s own feelings of self-disgust and depersonalisation. The mask cracks in half, the paper butterfly is crushed, the cocoon is unraveled. The viewer is thrusted towards a light at the end of a textile tunnel, a metaphorical womb, only to be pulled away from the unattainable blossoming of self. Eventually the screen is slowly taken over by blackness, a pessimistic end to the more cheerful film I initially set out to direct.

The poem I recorded:

I dreamt of metamorphosis.
The slow dissolve, the forging of self.
But could I stay here forever?
with curtains drawn, with dust settling.
a hollow sort of wake
at hours unknown.
I thought I’d write
and at the end you’d find me
flat, gutted of all possible poetry.
I thought I’d sing
at dawn and neighbors
I never knew would sing too.
I hear a daring violin
out there somewhere
amongst suburban static
and almost turn my head
But I’m just some grub thing,
wrapped in mother’s shawl,
packing clay around herself
like a makeshift womb-
but it dries and cracks
like old moth wing,
unswept in the corner of the room.
The un-conooning.
The twist of my own thread
is pulled from my throat.
I am not what I want to be.
I do not look you in the eye.
I produce nothing. I consume scraps.
Blind and soft, a bleeding larva
drying out in the midday sun.
The process of making the video entailed some origami, some sculpting/painting, and a lot of crochet as I wanted to incorporate a “DIY cinematography” feel to the final piece. It is all shot in my living room with a tripod/camera set up with help of a projector and microphone. A lot of filming was keeping the camera in one place as my crocheted ‘cocoon’ grew larger, to preserve the illusion it happened in a short period of time. However, the tripod stayed in the same place for about a week, as I underestimated how fast I could engulf my entire body in yarn. I’m not a very short person. Footage was either shot by me or obtained from monarch butterfly documentary by Andre Film Features in 1950, under fair use due to age. Overall, am I satisfied with the final film? I am never satisfied. After submitting I find it very difficult to even watch it back again, caught in a slump about what could have been done better. A bad habit, for sure. I think due to the time to craft leading up to even starting to film, and the fact that I’ve never made a film completely on my own, this took a lot of work. Grub Thing turned out to be a response to how my feelings about myself have changed over the past couple months. Its meaning and intent evolved over the course of thinking and planning and filming.  Eventually this cocoon will unravel entirely. Eventually.

rmitmediastudent • June 6, 2020

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