Thursday, December 3, 2009

Artist Lecture

I think we should start at the beginning of the process,
Talk about working as a group,
then move to filming,
then talk about how the concept evolved from the film,
then just talk about how we let the performance develop itself.

12/2 Performance

This was awesome!

I think that this was an absolute success, everything worked out perfectly.
I dont think that anyone suspected that anything was off or even remotely
close to being a performance.

The best part of the performance was the fact that Ian was the only faculty
member in their and was convinced that he was about to lose his job. It was

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Screening Preparation

The food will be warmed around 11:30 or 11:45 and set up on the table. The projector will be ready to go between 11:30 and 11:45.
We will need:
(Ian will make sure that we are able to use the projector and that it is in working condition)
We will have a finished playable DVD
Donald has been confirmed
*Table with table cloth and chairs
*Painting of Woman
*Turkey and Side Dishes
*Our wine glasses and plates
*Paper plates and cups
*Plastic forks and spoons
*Our costumes
*Projector and laptop


We will have two cameras set up and running the whole time to document the event.

I think this will be a success if we are able to make the people who view this performance question the role and the amount of authority that authority figures hold.
*Video Cameras

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Performance Piece

The performance was a complete success and i think overshot our expectations at points. The crowd interaction was perfect and exactly what we needed. I got a lot of response afterwards asking what the performance was about and why we did it, which I then used as a perfect opportunity to pitch the next part of the project.

As a group I think we maintained characters well with the exception being when Wesley screamed, which I did my best not to laugh but couldn't hold it in. Just the response from the crowd was beautiful, the room went dead silent for a solid ten seconds before anyone resumed their previous conversations.

It was fun to me to listen to the people talk about us as though we were not there. As though we were just as much an art exhibit as a painting on the wall. They soon accepted us a part of their surroundings and went on with normal life, but we were not met without a sense of curiosity from our observers. The best part was when people would come talk to one of us and we would just go on with our meal completely ignoring them. I remember towards the beginning of the performance when the people were lining up to get their food they would all just stare at us with inquisitive looks on their face, but very few of them actually came up to is, as though they were intimidated by our difference, yet they had no reservations about staring blatantly at someone they did not know.

I think we actually had a lot of layers to this, which were only added on to by the people observing it. At first I approached this as a statement on normality and absurdity, but then it became a much broader statement on American ideals and values as pertaining to, in this particular case, Thanksgiving dinner.

To me, the only thing that I would change would be our interaction with audience, I think that we should have fully assumed our characters identities and then interacted with the crowd. I think that ignoring them did make a poignant statement about art and observation, and dealing with things or people that are different or out of the ordinary, every day experience. It could work either way though, our silence I think made just as big a statement, if not bigger, than anything we could have done interacting with the audience. I think that our disengagement from the audience actually allowed them to think more abstractly about the concept and be more receptive the performance as a piece.

The whole performance was documented by a photographer, which to me was not adequate documentation. A video camera could have captured not only the performance but peoples engagement with it.

As far as implementing performance into my later pieces, I don't know, but I certainly won't rule it out at this point.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Character Psychology

My name is Melvin...

1. How does your character think?
I am a social recluse, who is prone to violent outbursts, and I am miserable in my existence.
2. How does your character think he/she thinks?
I am a super hero. I am all powerful but do not use my powers becuase if I do the universe will come to an end.
3. What does your character want?
I want to be loved and respected and have a family and friends that I can turn to in times of need.
4. What does your character think he/she wants?
I want everyone to realize that they were wrong and I was right when I save their puny little lives from the alien invaders in 2012.
5. What does your character believe?
I believe that G-d does not exist and if he does then he is an asshole.
6. What does your character think he/she believes?
I believe that G-d has chosen me to judge the people of this planet, and save those who G-d deems righteous, as of yet, no one is righteous.
7. What is your character’s truth? Mythology?
8. What is your character’s real truth? Real Mythology?
9. What does your character need?
I need a positive and supportive environment.
10. What does your character think he/she needs?
I do not need anything to survive, not even foood or water, as I am not even from this planet and do not need the material aspects of life to survive.
11. What actions does your character undertake?
I don't have the patience to put together detailed models but I always buy them so people will think I am smart. I try to put them together without using the directions but I always get frustrated and just end up breaking them.
12. Why does your character think he/she does what he/she does?
I create art by taking things that have a set way and doing them differently.

Deren Response Film Write Up

I have to say first off that I absolutely loved working on this project. I think it was mainly the fact that I was no longer working in stop motion which gave me much more freedom and ability to improvise my shots. The best part about this project was the freedom allowed to the actors. I basically just set up the shots and told them to go. Because I was focusing on minimal movements I basically just let the actors talk normally and tried to pick up on their normal body language. The only tricky part was trying to equal out the number of activities that my non-smoking actress did with that of the smoker. There was just a lot more that a smoker naturally does during that activity that someone who does nothing has a hard time keeping up with. But giving her something to drink and trying to pick up those little movements that can, upon closer observation, be very sexual, added weight to her shots that the smoker didn't have.

I learned that it is much easier for the subtle movements of a female be taken as flirtatious as women are naturally (at least in this culture) viewed as sexual objects (at least much more than men are.) However, with that said, I enjoyed trying to play on the natural sexual tension that occurs, at least in the viewers mind, when you film a seemingly innocent conversation between a man and a woman. That, to me, was the most fun part of the whole experience. Examining the subtle body languages of the actors and allowing their natural attitudes and movements take on the form of dialogue, of which there is obviously much underlying tension.

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Concept

We all take for granted for the ability to perceive our own realities; but what if you were ask to explain how, would you be able to? This film will attempt to construct a "reality" through the cognitive perceptions of three different people. The people will be participating in some form of group social activity, at this point I am thinking along the lines of a card game. I will build the "experience" of the card game using the different perceptions of reality that each individual has. Each perspective/perception will be filmed in such a way as to mirror/echo the philosophy, theology, lack there of, of each person.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


- "It's not that distinctions are important as formulae and as rigidities, but I think they're important in the sense that they give an audience, or any potential audience, a preparation, an approach, to what they're going to see."

- I think that when Deren talks about the difference between a vertical story and a horizontal story she makes a very interesting point. I know that when I write a story I generally focus and whats happening outside of the character; interactions between characters or any external conflicts. But I also find that in order to help people relate to the characters better if you develop some sort of internal conflict, or build up the characters "character" if you will.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Maya Deren:

Absolutely beautiful cinematography.

Every shot is masterfully executed and aesthetically pleasing.

The opening scene with the woman washing up on the shore and then watching the waves roll back out to see was incredible. Just something about the beauty of the simplicity of taking such a common occurance, as watching the waves and showing it in a brand new light.

I also enjoyed the juxtaposition of scenes, where she is on the beach then she climbs up the tree to a social party and then crawls through the woods, follows the chess piece. Just the way that she is able to take seemingly unrelated scenes and tie them together flawlessly.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Adventures of Lighoman

Scene 1.
Lighoman wakes up in the middle of the night in a start. He looks around only to find that his sister has gone missing. He runs out of the hut and into the forest looking in all of her favorite places, but all this is to no avail. Solemn, Lighoman returns back to his village. When he arrives he finds that all of the villagers have been slaughtered, he rushes to his father who is split in two, but tells his son that he must go find the forest god, and beg him to save the tribe. His father dies. Lighoman leaves the village for the last time.

Scene 2.
It has been days since Lighoman has left his village and he is tired and hungry. He has fought hard to get as far as he has. He has ventured into the Great Forest. In it he has faced strange and wild creatures and has almost forgotten about his tribe and his quest merely out of his effort to survive. One night Lighoman finds shelter under a giant mushroom-tree and falls into a deep sleep. Little does he know that he has fallen asleep on the trail of the Giants. Not long after he has fallen asleep two giants come waddling down the path. They see the little Lighoman and decide to take him and eat him for breakfast the next morning.

Scene 3.
Lighoman wakes up only to find himself bound and in a cage. He cries out for help but all he gets in response is a very weak voice telling him to shut up, if he wants to live. He turns harshly towards the voice to find the frail shell of his sister bound behind him. Upon this realization they both become ecstatic and immediately they fill each other in on their adventures. Lighoman tells his sister about the tragic fate of their village and how he was on his way to see the Forest god. His sister immediately suggests that they try to escape, and using a sharp rock they manage to escape their bounds. But as they were so tiny they could not lift the cage their captors had them in so they had to wait. When the giants awoke they lifted the cage and immediately after, Lighoman and his sister ran for their lives while in the process trapping the giants in their own cage.

Scene 4.
After weeks of wandering the forest Lighoman and his sister are becoming weak from hunger and exhaustion. In defeat Lighoman;s sister passes out under a tree. Lighoman moves her to a safe place and ventures out to find food for the two of them. He stumbles upon a small creek and he bends down to drink. But a strange dreamlike feeling overcomes him when he does this. He finds the nearest tree and falls asleep. He wakes up soon after to a blinding white light only to see his sister standing in front of him, smiling. Behind her walks her father, and behind him sits the Forest god. The father tells him that his journey and bravery to find the Forest god put the entire tribe in good favor, and so they could spend eternity under the cool shade of the cover of the Forest god.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Notes on Refined Idea

The main purpose of this project is to create a narrative in the world of the miniature.

I think that it is important to have a visible main character in the narrative that the audience can see and relate to.

I want this world to be separate from our world but still set in a somewhat familiar setting.

The point of view will be third person following our hero on his journey.

The god at the end i want to be an actual person to make people think of how we may relate to the larger universe, just as the lego-man often wondered how he related to his.

Refined Concept for Miniature Piece

Early one morning our hero (henceforth known as "lego-man") ventured out from his village to find his sister who had disappeared from the village the night before. He searched all her normal hiding spots, but to no avail. In despair he returned to the village only to find that everyone in it had been slaughtered by an unknown foe. Forced to leave his home, lego-man ventures out into the great forest to seek out the forest god to return life to his village. On the journey he is faced with a ruthless world through which he fights his way, ever seeking the forest god. But one night in his sleep he is kidnapped by a couple of giants (army men) who take him back to their camp, where they hold him for the next mornings breakfast. While there he is found by his sister, who it followed the giants in hopes of stealing some of their food. With his sisters help he manages to escape the giants death grip under the blanket of darkness. Now running for their lives, both on the verge of death, lego-man leaves his sister in hiding to find some food. Out of exhaustion he passes out, but awakens to a bright light. He sees his sister, standing in front of him, with their father walking up beside her. Behind them sits the forest god, compassionately watching, the family reunion in the after life.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Concepts for miniature

1) Lego village destroyed by little giant dog.
2) A day in the life of a dust mite. Showing everyday life through the eyes of a dust mite being swept out from under and then out into the world.
3) I want to focus on what it was to be a child playing in the grass down at eye level with the bugs. Where grass became giant trees and the insects became monsters of a forgotten land. Where toy soldiers become the heroes only spoken of in myth.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Miniature Reading

- "Values become engulfed in miniature, and miniature causes men to dream."
- "Those that appear to be the humblest, often assume great authority in their homes."
-" Large issues from small, not through the logical law of dialectics of contraries, but thanks to liberation from all obligations of dimensions."
- "Detail increases an objects stature."
- "Miniature is an exercise that has metaphysical freshness... Here the imagination is both vigilant and content."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Artist Lecture

I found her discourse on the labor or rather the "work" of art to be very interesting. But throughout the lecture I could not help but think of the fact that society has the willingness to entertain the notionthat anything is art if the artist tells them so. While I greatly respected most of the artists work as art there were some pieces that I could not help calling bullsh** on. An obsessive compulsive person barely counts as an artist, unless of course their obsession is art. I think that I just failed to see the idea behind using the labor as the art. To me, why not just go build a house? Is everyone that labors an artist? The difference that she failed to mention was that all of these artists used more labor to create their art, but their labor was not their art, merely an effect thereof.

Overall, I thought she spoke very well and brought a very unique, and well educated opinion to the table.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Experiment 5b

Untitled from Andrew Lebowitz on Vimeo.

Big Bang

Big Bang from Andrew Lebowitz on Vimeo.

Assignment 2 write up

Ok, right off the bat I have to say that what started off as a seemingly easy assignment soon became the bane of my existence. I learned that it is very difficult to start a stop motion animation, use the camera for something else, have time to think about it, and then go back to the animation. It was frustrating as my original vision became more and more obscured. I lost motivation and eventually gave up on my original concept. Not, before much time and effort was wasted on little. I eventually worked on two or more animations before arriving at my final.

In essence this was purely experimental. I worked with manipulating images on a white board. I worked with showing the artist at times as the artist, at times as the manipulator; at times I even left the artist out entirely and let my art portray and evolve on its own.

I am not happy with this final piece as I arrived at a viable technique without arriving at an acceptable use there of. But with all the frustration that I endured I am happy to be turning in anything at all.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Three Ideas

In the spirit of my first project I would really like to continue with the hand drawn, or hand done, elements in my films. So my first idea is inspired by a short film that I saw called "pieces." I want to undertake a similar project focusing on the process of making a work of art. But through this process I would like to create a sort of narrative, leading the viewer on a "journey" (if you will).

1) Using cut paper and a camera on a tripod I will explore evolution. An animal rising out of a primordial blob and then evolving beyond humanity, into the cosmos.

2) Using a combination of cut paper and pencil drawings I would like to do an exploration of design in terms of stop motion. Showing the relationship between type and shapes and negative shapes. (maybe do a diagram of sorts blowing something up and examining the smaller parts, could be interesting.)

3) Inspired by a flip book and old school 2D animation I think it would be interesting to do a short story completely drawn by hand. Perhaps invoking some of the film techniques we have seen but in the realm of 2D. Focus on the abstract. Focus on how shapes can invoke emotions, and how their relationship to each other can change those emotions. Focus on how the violence or smoothness of a paint stroke can completely change the image on the screen.

I know that I should probably experiment more with the filming process, but the idea of making a 2-dimensional work of art come to life is very exciting to me.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Assignment 1 Write up

After dealing with numerous frustrations as to how I would handle the first assignment I watched a very inspirational stop motion movie on behance (a professional portfolio site.) I started to make a collage stop action film like the one I had just seen, however, I failed miserably and became even more frustrated. Then for some reason I started thinking about how I loved those animations that seemed to come to life from seemingly mundane circumstances. So I started drawing. At first it was more abstract dealing with shapes and lines but I got a little more bold and decided to make a little story. The result was "A Simple Story." I had so much fun making this little film and though it is not technically perfect (as I have no idea, truly how to make such a film) I think a lot of it's character is a result of this. In closing I hope only that it is as much a pleasure to watch as it was for me to make.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Retour a la Raison

I think this might be my favorite film so far, and the reason for this is because I love the techniques and visual illusions that Man Ray uses in this film. It is very clean, very smooth, and kept me interested, if only aesthetically.


I Love Slow Motion!!!!!

One of the only films we have watched so far that has really employed the use of slow motion. First of all slow motion can make almost anything cooler. For example, the scene where the people are following the casket and running (or leaping) in slow motion is very well done. But along with slow motion Rene Clair does a very good job using timing to add suspense and drama into the film.

Also, compared to the other films thus far this film seemed to have the most coherent structure. Everything seemed to happen in sequence and very little seemed to happen without cause. But you begin to see the absurdity that the artist during this time began to view the world.

I also enjoyed the scenes where Clair shows a city scape but changes the angle of the camera so we are viewing the city scape out of our normal appreciation. This part also to me has the most aesthetic value out of any of the films I have seen thus far. The balance between foreground, background, light and dark are all very well tended to and provide a very pleasant viewing experience. Any of those scenes could very well stand alone as still images.

Ballet Mecanique

This piece seemed to be a culmination of dramatically different images that seemed to be most of the time in direct juxtaposition to each other. It does seem that this film was very influenced by the march of technology onto the stage of fine art. Rather a reluctant embracing of things to come.

I did like the rhythm that was created in the film by using the inherent rhythm that machines have. But also by cutting and repeating scenes the filmmaker, Fernand Leger, was able to create his own sense of rhythm. Like the repeated scene with the woman walking up the stairs; which he repeated to a point of absurdity, where I could no longer help myself from laughing at the laboring lady.

But unlike many of the other films I have seen thus far in this class, I do think that this film carried with it some underhanded commentary on it's current social situation.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Symphonie Diagonale

Again, without the music one is able to really focus on the visual aesthetics of this film, which to me, are way more organized and connected than in Rhytmus. However, this film is also much more repetitive. I will say that I did prefer the radiant lights in Symphonie to the stop motion cut outs of Rhythmus.

On a personal note I rather enjoyed this one as it reminded me of times square in a time lapsed video. The taxis driving by with neon signs and billboards all around. That is what I enjoy the most about this type of film, we are all allowed to take away from it what we will.

Rhythmus 21

First off, watch it without the music.
You get a much better overall sense of what the artist is trying to accomplish aesthetically. Watching it without the music allowed me to focus more on the actual rhythm and interplay between the shapes. Throughout the film it is difficult to judge ones relation to the shapes. Are you close? Are you far? Are you above? Below? The shapes are very basic but that very nature adds a deeper more contemplative nature to the video. It is not trying to tell you anything, it is only trying to give you an experience.

Now to the music.
I would have to say that the film makes the music more than the music makes the film. It seems that the music truly is only meaningful in its role as an ambassador to the viewer.
how can today’s films (focus on one) be understood in terms of Benjamin’s ideas about the aura and mechanical reproduction?

Take Marcel Duchamp's film, Anemic Cinema. He has completely destroyed any sense or aura or importance around his film leaving it to the degenerate realm of worthless reproduction. However, it is in this very sense that we find the "aura" or uniqueness/importance that Benjamin talks of. Duchamp understands very well that a movie is easily reproducible once it is made, and it is in this fact where it's value is discerned. But, Duchamp also understands that his viewers will not and can not have the same experience with his film as that do with more traditional forms of art. It is with this in mind, that I am reminded of a small passage of Benjamin's where he discusses how contemplation has been replaced with distraction; or rather, how distraction has been allowed to assume the role of contemplation.

As far as Benjamin's ideas about mechanical reproduction go (at least in relation to Duchamp's film) I think it plays back to the fact that the art is realized in the very destruction of what was once held most valuable; a contemplative and unique work of art.

write about what Benjamin says about the aura:

What is its value?
Is its withering away good or bad?
Neither or both?

Benjamin talks of the aura as the uniqueness or importance of the original experience. Something that cannot be duplicated nor experienced any other way than being in the presence of the original (either person or place.) It's value is that of a priceless work of art, or an original performance, of which will never be the same, but will not be any less.

The withering away of the aura can be bad or good, it depends upon the purpose of the original piece and the intention of the artist.