Sunday, 10 April 2011

My Media Product - Time lapse photography

My final piece for course work one - a time lapse photographic short film of the creating of full stage set from that of an empty stage, in stage lighting as it appeared in the run, then the morning of the strike to that of an empty stage again. This is to display the creation of a temporary but acknowledged reality.

Pan’s Labyrinth – Hero Monomyth – Semiotics – Hermeneutics & Tropes

The film poster of Pan’s Labyrinth will be the subject of my attempt at combining a few of the elements of what we have learnt in this module and use of previous blogs.
The first order message is that of denotation, the common sense, the obviousness of the image. The tree is one of the first areas that we decipher, it’s gnarled almost muscular branches giving the feeling of unkindly strength and this in turn is cradling the moon, finally the girl stood before this dramatic scene, our protagonist, all of is in a wash of blue dark night. Also the small branches that frame the whole image gives also gives a sinister feel and makes us feel we are looking in to another world that the girl, first hand, is looking into.

The second order message, the signifieds of the signifiers, the connotations, the denotations is what the image is and the connotations is how it is presented, the tree being old, holding secrets, the moon linked to that of lunar activities, werewolves, witches, thus giving us by the connotations of a sense of foreboding. All of this, as stated, is in the dark, giving this the supernatural twist, yet at the bottom of the tree is green grass, the only colour breaking the darkness, giving a sense of hope and fruition.

The third message or third order of signification is that of the myth, these can be described as metaphors, either cultural or social, generated by the layering of older myths; although there may not me a clear historical myth within this film, it is itself a myth created by the knowledge of other myths, the anthology of storytelling, in this case, coming of age, how children think and deal and adapt with the situations around them.

From the Hero Monomyth perspective, using the image from an earlier blog:

The twelve steps:
  1. Ordinary world – The girl living in 1944 with her mother and stepfather.
  2. The Call to adventure – a fairy takes her to see a faun in an old labyrinth.
  3. Refusal of the task – this is not dealt with as the young girl likes fairy tales and follow the fair.
  4. Meeting with the mentor – Meets the faun, explains his and her position and gives her a book plus 3 tasks to complete.
  5. Crossing the first threshold – Into the tree.
  6. Test, allies & enemies:
    1st test -she has to kill a frog to retrieve a key from its belly, get filthy told of by mother and then stepfather.
    2nd test – use the key to retrieve an ornate dagger, but is chased by a child eating man.
    3rd test – take her baby brother to the labyrinth.
  7. Approach to the inmost cave – Finally at the labyrinth but girl has to hand over baby for its blood needs to be used.
  8. Supreme ordeal – Refusal of the handover of the baby to the faun – stepfather takes baby – fatally shoots the girl.
  9. Reward – girls own blood drips on to the labyrinth floor thus completing the task.
  10. The road back – her dying takes her to her parents.
  11. Resurrection – reborn in the fairy kingdom.
  12. Return with the elixir – this is not used however the happily ever after scenario is used.
Regarding the hermeneutics of the story the area and time is 1944 war torn Spain, rebels in the wood not far from the village causing her stepfather problems and the girls pregnant mother, which has its own fatal complications, all adding to crate diversions.

The Syntagmatic structure clearly plays its part here via various kernels, namely the twelve monomythic steps, each crating it's own enigma, plot creation and part resolution, mainly and cleverly utilised by the three internal tests given; satellites are prevalent due to the involvement of the wood based guerrillas and internal conflicts, forged friendships and the revealing of loyalties within the house.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Division Bell

From a pure photographic form ‘The Division Bell’ album, designed by Strom Thorgerson, released in 1994 is that of two huge metal half faces in an upright position in a ploughed field looking at each other but also creating a third face, both not viewed at the same time, as Thorgerson and Curzon state

“Two heads facing, or talking to each other (‘Keep Talking’), making up a third face, which would get in the way both visually and literally, seemed like a good idea. The single eyes of the two faces looking at each other become the two eyes of a single face looking at you, the viewer. It was intended that the viewer should not see both at the same time. One was the single face, or the two profiles. If one saw both it was alternating, like an optical illusion, which was even better because it meant that the viewer was interacting, or communicating with the image directly, viscerally” (1997, p.130).
Oddly enough, this image, which is also on the front of Storm Thorgersons’ book in not displayed on or within the cover of Division Bell album, the subtle difference is that on the album the reference to talking is that of four spotlights and the unpublished image has three red flags.

This image is discussing linguistics, the act of communication either to someone else or from someone to us. The eyes look like bulls eyes from a dart board and in turn can be connoted to that of talking to your targeted audience. When viewing as two faces talking to each other, we feel like a third person, an almost non-entity within that diologue, perhaps also infringing on their privacy, yet when viewed as a full face, the eyes look menacing, due to the slightly lower angle and our looking up give it a sense of domination, one can also see a switch from two people talking to combining into a single joint force about to reprimand the eavesdropper, us.

Thorgerson, S. & Curzon, P. (1997). Mind Over Matter, The Images Of Pink Floyd. London: Sanctuary Publishing Limited.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Hero Monomyth and the Hermeneutic Code

I am addressing a lecture that we had quite a few weeks ago but has just to mind due to a friend of mine and myself have been writing a script, a melange of a few genres, though towards the end more sci-fi, although our script doesn’t follow all the usual tropes or the standard archetypal hero monomyth however we do still cover a few of these elements.

The Hero Monomyth – Joseph Campbell.

This sequence of events can be used with most adventure stories or films, which in turn usually from novels, the big three that are usually referred to, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Harry Potter or before then, Indiana Jones, take the story and character arc and you have pretty much what is above, yet we all love a ripping yarn, we know what’s going to happen, mostly subconsciously, that the above will be played out, albeit in various ways.

The analogy used in our lecture, though in substance far from Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter, was The Gingerbread Man, yet again this structure held true.

Roland Barthes refers to five codes, one of which was drawn to our attention was the Hermeneutic Code, the snares and snags that puts the protagonist off the scent or disrupts the outcome of a section of the story, maybe inducing another enigma to solve. One other element under this banner is the cliff hanger, usually at the end or a chapter or even at the end of the story either to signify the possibility of a sequel or handing control over to the viewer or reader to come to their own decision.

Another writer on the subject of storytelling is Robert McKee and his three act play paradigm, firstly the setting up of the story and therein the disturbance, secondly the struggle and finally the third element the resolution, although this can be associated to various stories I feel that it is a little too simple for a more involved piece.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Walter Benjamin - The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Walter Benjamin’s book The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction is one of our core reading books for this module, visual communication, personally I have found this book a little hard going, but have been able to get through a few chapters, he says that art has always been reproducible, anything man made can be reproduced, this reproduction can be used to a an implement for teaching, ultimately it can and will be used to make money. Ancient technological reproductions were usually made from casting or embossing, coins are one such example. Drawings were reproduced long before paintings, due to wood engraving or graphic art. Wood engraving then changed to cooper plate engraving and then lithography in the late 19th century, this was replaced only decades later by photography. Photographic reproductions speed up to a point that is was able to capture images in sync with speech.

Regarding the reproduction, this is still very much unique within its own surroundings, this idea I personally quite like, and also its ownerships and therefore its changes in environments. Manual reproductions were usually written of or branded as fake yet with the modern reproduction, the copy is more autonomous in relation to the original.

Benjamin talks of genuineness and how the very perfection or refinement of its being since its creation to its duration through time and the event that the original holds, for instance a film slide.

This is my reckoning of the first few chapters of the book and one that I have found challenging to digest, however after re-reading elements and adapting to Benjamin’s style of writing, have found some of this to be quite interesting and look forward to reading more of this body of work.