EXPERIMENT. SCREEN. SENSATION

Screen Art and Film Workshop

Surroundings

Surroundings

Surreal, rhythmic, magical and impromptu.

My experimental montage film strives to radiate these qualities by exploring whether its possible to achieve abstract expressionism through the moving picture, when it is typically an art movement employed by painters. By adapting the technique of solarisation (the act of reversing visual tone) to suit digital technology, I invite the viewer to look closely at my imagery of pattern, shape and light found in the miscellaneous objects that make up our direct world.

This short experimental film was created alongside a research journey, looking at films and artworks, scholarly articles, and unofficial writings for inspiration and knowledge. I began this journey by looking into surrealism as a whole, learning more about its definition, background, and artists before moving onto the topic of automatism, which can be defined as a style of surrealism. Automatism really interested me, I found this lane of surrealism to be most inspiring and I could see myself creating an automatist film for screen project 2. As I started to consider ideas for this project and practice experiments, I decided to move away from automatism when I came across abstract expressionism. These art styles hold similarities, through their abstract and spontaneous nature. However automatism was preoccupied by symbolism, dreams and the subconscious mind, while abstract expressionism rejected meaning and was more improvised. I was fascinated by this art movement, and decided to settle on it for my research and for this screen project. In high school I loved creating photographs using the technique of solarisation (the act of reversing visual tone), therefore I wanted to try it again, but instead by applying it to the moving image. I thought abstract expressionism would be a great way to express this technique, and started experimenting with different footage. I mostly filmed objects around my house and in my backyard, looking out for intricate shapes, textures and patterns. Most of what I filmed looked really pretty after being solarised. There were some compositions that I disregarded, such as a shot of a wire door, wooden panels, and a palm frond. 

In the next stage of the process I began to think about the audio to accompany these visuals. I considered that it could be silent, however I like using music in my work that compliments visuals and engages audiences. I researched whether there were any abstract expressionist musicians, coming across Morton Feldman. However most of his music wasn’t royalty free, with only one composition being available on free music archive. I spent some time listening to experimental and classical music that was royalty free, finalising a few different tracks. I then experimented with the previous footage I had captured, seeing which song would work best, and what kind of editing techniques I could use. After completing these experiments and receiving some feedback I decided on the song ‘Spiritus Marique’ by Steffen Lutter, before filming and editing together this final film.

What I got out of making screen project 2 was a combination of more knowledge on surrealism and abstract art, in addition to my some clarity on personal preferences in media making. Before this assignment, I only had a general idea of what surrealism was, and had only seen some of the major works of David Lynch, and knew of some abstract photographers. As I chose to research surrealism for this task, involving scholarly articles, I now have a much more in depth knowledge of the art movement. I also learnt about abstract expressionism in the same amount of depth, and as I hadn’t heard of it beforehand, most of my new knowledge is about this. I also learnt more about editing in Premiere Pro. I had solarised still images before using curves, however I had never applied it to videos and wasn’t sure if it was actually possible until I completed this. 

Other than learning new things, I realised that I enjoy making very artistic and experimental films, but I think it’s something to enjoy in my own time rather than as media projects for my career. I think ultimately I enjoy creating narrative films and in the future of uni I think its better to pursue this.

Sofia • October 18, 2020


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