The Formless Manifesto

Here is our video, known as The Formless Manifesto:

And here, our Exquisite Corpse video:

Under our names, provide our original 3 short positioning statements, and a short summary each of our work on our manifesto, that work’s process, and what we got out of it.

Kayla:

1.

The canon must be judged through various lenses. It must meet certain criteria when being considered to allow for diversity in cast, directing, form, and content.

LONG LIVE THE ART OF WELCOMING. LONG LIVE THE ART OF EXPRESSION.

2.

MEASURES MUST BE TAKEN TO PRESERVE THE CANON

It deserves the freedom to expand and to grow! It deserves films from all ages to be given a chance at greatness! Critics may vote on films produced within a 30 year period.

NO MORE AND NO LESS SHALL BE TOLERATED

3.

Immense commitment to the art of film itself must be praised!

Without commitment there is NO ART

After assigning ourselves with divided sections of our manifesto speech, we decided that producing a series of short clips would be a fascinating way to express our concerns with the current film canon. Using an array of art forms, I chose to focus on the incorporation of found-footage, collage and digital animation. My first short follows the narrative of my process in creating and writing the original manifesto, and features certain scenes from Citizen Kane with the intention of immersing viewers into my fictional story world. With sound acting as one of my main inspirations for each of my works, my second clip is driven by a fast-paced jazz tune, and accompanied by abstract animations, while on-screen text presents our demands towards removing the idea of definitive canons, and the confinement of those excluded by society. My third short involves the pain-staking process of stop-motion collage, and touches on the definition of art and film as a whole, insisting that “greatness” is an outdated achievement that only promotes the work of a handful, and is no longer relevant to our current-day movement towards free expression. My final digital animation sequence is centred around the destruction of the film auteur, with a heavy encouragement to place the spotlight on the many additional names involved throughout the film’s production that are often tucked away in favour of the director. With each of our clips highlighting the differing sections of our combined manifesto, I feel as though we have managed to work together to produce a sound, yet inherently formless piece that expresses our demands, beliefs and opinions in a creative and virtually-collaborative manner that has transcended my group’s initial predictions for its final results.

Courtney:

We need more diverse films!

No more ranking! Films do not need to compete with each other to be independently successful!!!

I demand that animated films be treated with the SAME ADMIRATION as live-action films!!

I loved making this manifesto. The short clips that I created were the ‘race’ scene, made with cardboard precariously balanced on chairs, the ‘no more lists’ notebook scene, and the final two clips. I really valued and enjoyed the opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone creatively, and to learn more about editing and filmmaking. Two of my clips didn’t actually go to plan, I originally envisioned a scene in which a real life live-action human races towards a literal finish line, and my plan for the ‘no more lists’ scene was actually meant to be stop motion. Weather and COVID made my original plan for the race scene unideal, and the stop motion for the list scene just didn’t look right when I edited it. In hindsight, I’m glad things went wrong. It forced me to be more creative, and I think the makeshift puppets are more ‘formless’ than what my original plan was, and the time lapse works better for that scene (and there’s stop motion elsewhere in the manifesto, Kayla did a fantastic job!!). Additionally, I really valued the opportunity to see what other group members created, and watch the manifesto come together. I’ve grown to appreciate the process just as much as the final product. I hope you enjoy watching ‘The Formless Manifesto’ just as much as I enjoyed working on it.

Warwick:

Cinema shouldn’t be categorised into what is and isn’t canon as a positioning of greatness.

Film Critics and audiences need to explore cinema without comparative intentions as a basis of a film’s value.

Ideologies of a canon in film create difficulties with originality and creativity.

The first piece that I made for the manifesto was a short which focused on the dynamics of greatness in canon, and how I could use that as an example in my piece. My short consists of a man rethinking the canon as he discovers that he should value film on their individual enjoyability. The way that I wanted to make an example of canonical differentiation was through using the 2003 film The Room, which is widely, canonically and comedically regarded as the worst film of all time. I was inspired by The Room, and used a lot of the fundamentals of what makes the Room so canonically bad in my piece. This ranged from bad acting, to awkward screen timing and out of sync sound design. This was all done in an attempt to make an example of how even the worst film of all time somehow makes an impact on the canon, and is valued for it.

My second piece was a television interruption that jarringly plays in the manifesto. The reason for this is that it would shock the viewer through what is presented to make them feel like they are a part of this ideology. This ideology presented to the audience is that of a dystopian big brother-like reality where only the canon can rule over the life of people. Furthermore, a point about how the free voices must be shunned and how artistic creativity must cease, is involved in the piece. The aim of doing this is to show an extreme world where the canon has taken over the world, which I am using as a comparison as to how the canon is treated currently; that being of a higher standard and making such an impact on the decisions and values of cinephiles, or for even cinema lovers for that matter.

Having just partaken in the production of The Formless Manifesto, it has been a refreshing new take on cinema, and more specifically, the canon. I have found that looking so deeply into the canon has posed many questions for me. What is considered canon? Who decides what’s canon? Mainly, I think that such a focus on the canon during this manifesto production process has made me more aware of how I should consider films, coming to appreciate more of the artistic value and decisions made towards a film, and judging it individually as it’s own piece of art.

Auley:

1. Definitions

Much of what people consider canonisation of film or any other kind of art form is simply defining what is “proper art” and what it is not. I fundamentally disagree with this kind list formed separation instead I suggest this definition of “proper art”

Art is intentional activity thats goal is neither physical exercise nor victory   

Arts goal must be conveyance.

This can be conveyance of anything from emotion to political point or simply just an image. 

Separating art on any other basis ultimately leads too politically, socially or systematically motivated exclusions.

When it comes to quality one should focus on how well the art conveys.  

2. Down With

Down with influence and age as a mark of cinematic quality.

A film having an impact on future filmmaking has become synonyms with filmic qualit. This is an idea that must be eradicated from the discourse of film. We must be able to shout that

“Vertigo is boring”

without fear of a cinephilic eye roll. A films quality comes in its impact upon its viewer not its impact on other films.

Under the rule of the influence obsession a film can only become great 20 years or more after its release. Cinema discourse becomes cyclical and will inevitably maintain archaic power structures.

We must embrace the modern and recent allow new voices into the discourse lest we risk stagnation.

 Art that only sees quality in its past will stagnate and die!

 Exult in the power of the new voice!

This obsession with influence also leads to a mind numbing arms race of easter eggs and references to classic cinema. This reduces cinematic analysis to an eye spy game and destroys meaningful discourse.     

3. Long Live

 Long live film as a collaborative medium

The worship of the auteur is poisonous to film making. A film is the culmination of multiple people performing their individual crafts to perfection. The director is no god but a guiding hand to maintain a consistent vision. This is something that should be appreciated by the modern cinephile.

Art with out collaboration and discussion will stagnate and die!                 

A film’s cast and crew should be a collective unit who work together to create not an army mobilised to the whims of the auteur. 

My Work in the Manifesto:

My work appears three times throughout our manifesto. The first comes at the opening of the work with the claymation title screen. To create this scene I used the app stop motion studio which takes photos and automatically combines them to create a completed video. After creating the visuals I scoured freesounds.com for sound effects to give the clip a little more interest and depth. These sound included applause and the speaker clearing their throat. I also combined the sound of an audio glitch called “toxic plops” and a tomato being squashed to create the sound effect for the speaker melting.

The second part of the manifesto where my works appears is the vide essay “the modern cannon.” The process behind this section began with shortening my week 3-5 reflection for assignment 2. The idea I covered in this essay fit incredibly well for the topics I was exploring in “the modern cannon.” After shortening that and turning into my script I worked out then style I wanted to go with, that being a vintage vhs look. After downloading some static overlay and presets I achieved this look and my video essay was complete.

The final piece of my work that appears in the manifesto is the La Jeteée style montage describing how art is only seen as great if its “venerated by age” or copies this old art. Obviously this section is greatly inspired by the 1962 Christ Marker film, with its black and white photos and ponderous narration So taking ideas from that I took photos of my Dad, playing established art, and I as the young artist. After adding in my voice over, some sound effects and some light editing on the photos this section was also complete.

After completing The Formless Manifesto I feel I have a much deeper insight into the workings of the modern cannon. I also can see the issues with its structure, for example its lack of diversity and its rigidity in including newer film forms. I also noticed the fact that while it hold no clear definition of the greatness it seeks the cannon holds its self as the only tru collection of proper films. This means that the compilers personal bias is permanently linked to the cannon and there will never a be a truly objective list of the greatest of all time.        

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.