Wildling Video Experimentation 4

Continuing on from Wildling Video Experimentation 1, Wildling Video Experimentation 2 and Wildling Video Experimentation 3 this post has some further experiments using the drone and the preliminary Wildling costume (in glove form). See The Wildling – Part 4.

Wildling Video Experimentation 3

Further to the experimental videos produced in Wildling Video Experimentation 1 and Wildling Video Experimentation 2 the videos contained in this blog post are derived from a single piece of source video produced using the drone and the preliminary Wilding costume, at the stage where this was gloves instead of a whole costume.

Tutorial – 21/06/19

Today’s discussion began with the video pieces in these two blog posts.

These videos have been created from a preliminary set of footage that was shot in my back garden and my plans are to shoot video with the Wildling on site and also using green screen.

Jonathan observed the progression that I had intended moving throughout the nine videos and we spoke about the potential for further development. Some of the discussion was spent comparing the two video’s (6 and 9) in the second blog post and the potential for continuing with both these lines of enquiry. Video 6 having a more painterly and almost abstract effect where the image is akin to oil being poured onto water and Video 9 being more humanistic.For the time being I will probably continue to expand on both of these as I see future potential in either direction.

We spoke about the potential of layering this type of footage over the painterly effects found in video 6 (see link above) and using a blur layer to soften the lines in this video too.

We also discussed my ideas around the use of a green screen and a green body suit to create a different effect (which I have already priced) and Jonathan spoke about the use of contrast to be able to achieve the same effects, which brought me onto the drone footage that I have shot where there is the contrast that will provide the required effects.

Getting back to the drone footage, again this is just a clip of the first outing of my new drone, we both agreed that there is something special about parts of this footage and in particular when the sun is behind the camera and the shadows can be seen in the images. Also the trees at the location we used provide an additional interesting quality to the footage.

Jonathan did ask me where I see this going as it progresses and I discussed my recent reconnection with spirituality and the fact that although these videos are addressing a particular context, they are beginning to evolve and speak about issues of consciousness and other-worldly beings – I see this progression happening quite naturally almost as if by accident, but actually not. I also spoke about how I have always believed that the art and the spiritual would integrate at some point and that I’m starting to see this happen in my artwork now.  Jonathan also emphasised the importance of holding onto this connection with the spiritual and that this essence provides a deeper level of perception within the artwork.

We  spoke about the qualities of  the resin work in Latex and Resin and the objects being suspended in the resin like they would be suspended in time beneath the reservoir waters. The use of silicone to make the moulds for when I plan to create large multiples of the pieces made so far. I also mentioned my idea for creating a larger resin piece that suspends multiple items rather than individual items.

The quality of light when displaying the resin and the potential to use the resin to create a projection background and the potential to project a single moving image onto the resin or a complex video piece, like the video 6 mentioned above.

As time was running out we briefly spoke about the Citrasolv and the Experimenting with Poloroids work and the potential with both of these to create images that I can then print large scale onto net curtain fabric and then stitch onto.

Overall Jonathan asked me how I felt about how things were going so far and I spoke about the fact that I had spent a lot of time making so far and that this has provided me with the space and material to focus on the video work. We spoke about the way I am using traditional making methods then transforming that material into digital and the two-way connection between the two and the importance that maintaining that connection with the traditional has for me. I do have a lot of material that I can use to further this now and several ideas that can be progressed towards the final show next year.

Overall extremely happy with the tutorial discussion and it has been a great opportunity to reflect more fully on the work that I have produced since January.

Wildling Video Experimentation 2

Here are the second batch of preliminary experimental videos using the Wildling costume. See Wildling Video Experimentation 1. Focus for theses videos has been experimenting with video effects and the potential for future videos dealing more specifically with the narrative I have in mind.

No Sound. Videos below:

 

Wildling Video Experimentation 1

Having completed constructing the Wildling, I persuaded my daughter to wear the costume for me to take some preliminary photos and videos ready for me to begin editing. Below are some of the experimental video’s that I have produced so far. See Wildling Video Experimentation 2. Focus for theses videos has been experimenting with video effects and the potential for future videos dealing more specifically with the narrative I have in mind.

The Garden Shaman – Reflection

For The Garden Shaman project I was commissioned to film some performative elements and produce a video from the footage that was acquired. Below is my overall reflection of the project now that it has come to an end. Some video clips from the final work are located here.

This has been a good opportunity to film outside with another artist. Some of the film footage was good, yet some of it overexposed – I think in part due to the light on the day.

Getting to film a performing artist and then to edit the footage and produce a video from the raw footage enabled me to reflect on the level of skill I have achieved with Premiere Pro over the past four years.

I only have my own experiences of shooting footage outside to go on – and I am aware that further research in this area is required. On some of the video footage my breathing is audible. On some clips it works and then others it will be edited out.

The amount of raw footage that was shot in the first instance had to be condensed massively and this took a significant amount of organisation. Several review meetings also meant that the ability to roll back any content to a previous state had to be built into the video files.

These regular review meetings mean that the project could move forward and the content reviewed and agreed at different stages – the content was also critically evaluated at every stage.

This video piece has become by far the largest video project I have been involved in to date. It has given me the opportunity to deepen my relationship with Adobe Premiere Pro and improve my editing skills along the way which I see will stand me in good stead in the future.

Producing a video that was originally going to be 10 minutes maximum but then turned out to be over 20 minutes was a good exercise in creating content that maintains the attention of the audience.

The best part has been the ethereal expression through editing what is very simple footage showing mundane tasks in the garden.

The greatest challenge has been managing my time while completing this project. This work has been in addition to my day job and my masters work. Originally the scope of the project was that it would not take too much time. However, during between November 2018 and February 2019 this project took on average an additional working week per month. The impact of this was that something had to give and although I have kept up with the practical side of the Masters, making my own work whenever time allowed, my blogging has been put on hold and as I write this (April 2019) I have a significant number of unpublished posts ready to be added to my blog.

I have put a lot of effort into making this video piece as manageable as possible. Taking hundreds of source videos into 96 edited videos and finally at this point 9 individual videos leading to one final piece. This has proved time consuming however necessary for the successful completion of the project.

I am really enjoying working with Eli and find our meetings positive and constructive where she provides me with the things that she would like to see in the video. It has been a fine balance with this piece of work, treating it as my own so that I am fully committed and engaged in the process yet being detached enough to let someone else direct me in the process.

My working life as a Technical Writer has helped me remain detached in the fact that as a Technical Writer your work is continually critiqued and there is no space for personal feelings in that environment – it is just a collective effort to meet an end result – this I find is very apparent in this project too.

There have been some important lessons learned for me in preparing to embark on such a project. Most specifically around the area of clarifying the scope of work in its entirety at the beginning of the project.

This project was undertaken with limited agreement in writing where clearer terms should have been outlined and written up at the outset. What this has highlighted for me is that I need to prepare my own terms of service in readiness for future artistic projects.

Copyright and Attribution is an important part of this for all involved to know where they stand. The copyright workshop I attended during the Low Residency really gave me food for thought in this area and made me realise that for this project none of this had been considered or agreed formally.

Initially this project was only meant to be for a short period of time. However, as a project it seemed to grow and before long a considerable number of hours over a six-month period had been completed. This impacted my availability for other projects and has resulted in my own personal artistic endeavours, particularly when applying to exhibit having to be put on hold waiting for the project to finish.

I chose to charge a nominal hourly rate on the basis that I was going to be attributed in the work for my contribution to the project. This was agreed verbally and at least meant I was compensated for the time actually spent working on the project. However, given the number of hours that this project eventually took, Eli would have probably benefited from agreeing a set fee for the project up front.

Previously I have worked for a fixed fee and this definitely benefited the client more – I still put in 110% effort into the work but as it was a fixed fee, this equated to a particularly low hourly rate.

This has raised a lot of questions for me though about the project management side. In particular when agreeing a set fee, very clear outcomes have to be established to ensure a reasonable compensation for the effort involved.

Where I was not compensated was mileage and time travelling to the Eli’s home for review meetings and to shoot footage. It was my own decision not to charge for mileage and travel, however each review meeting meant two hours of travel time which over the six months soon added up.

I also did not charge for some of the video editing work where I placed an expectation on myself to finish parts of the work more quickly. Particularly as the video files became larger and took longer to compile and upload to send to Eli. It didn’t really feel fair that I was charging for the compilation/upload time although I did have to sit with it and wait for the compilations/uploads to complete

I now realise that I charged the nominal fee because I personally didn’t value my own skill and expertise. Recently I have experienced a shift in this thinking about this issue and now see more clearly the value in my skill and expertise and will charge appropriately for this in the future.

It’s definitely time I developed my own terms of service and I will consider all of the lessons learned during this project when I do so.

All that being said though, this has still been an extremely positive and rewarding experience with some valuable lessons to take into my future artistic life.

Would I do this differently – probably not – overall working with another artist in this manner has been a positive rewarding experience. I’ve really enjoyed working with another artist and look forward to similar experiences in the future. It’s been a fabulous project to have been a part of.

I am very proud of the outcome of this project and the end result definitely demonstrates the effort that has gone in to it. From filming and producing the video, providing creative input along the way and collaborating with the other artist Eli Acheson-Elmassry who imagined and coordinated the project, directed and performed in her original artwork as The Garden Shaman.

Fragments – Part 1

I have always been a bit of a squirrel, collecting random stuff that has little meaning to other people. Whilst on my site visits I had collected rusty nails, guttering and a bolt along with much broken pottery.

Looking at these fragments I have collected from the various locations, I decided to put together some video experimentation that would hopefully provide me with additional inspiration as to what to do with these fragments.

First step in my process was to take photographs of the fragments I had collected. Using my iPhone, I piled the fragments together and begin photographing and filming close up shots and footage of these fragments – again in both monochrome and colour.

I then shot footage of water running into my kitchen sink.

Following this I combined footage that I had of both the above to produce the following effects.

Further to this I was also considering footage that I had shot previously of half submerged trees at Tryweryn and decided to bring this footage into the mix. I really like the effects I achieved with this.

Reflection

Organisation has to be the lesson here – and go with the flow. I combined all of the video sequences for this work in the same Premiere Pro Project as the What Lies Beneath work. As the work has developed and grown for both – the project has become unwieldy. This is not normally how I would work – I’m usually very good at separating work pieces until they need to come together.

I fully intend to continue this thread of experimentation as I’m really enjoying putting this together. So far, my favourite sequence is the one that includes the trees, however I’m really liking working with the water effects and want to continue this further – thinking about recording more video footage that relates to water, shooting the footage in an abstract way.

With hindsight, I would have shot footage of the fragments in situ, however at the time I was just too busy gathering fragments. Sometimes I just get caught up in what I’m doing and need to learn to take a step back (at the time) and not just during times when I reflect.

More time spent experimenting with Premiere Pro is on the cards here! Stimulated and Excited about the outcome of this line of experimentation.

 

Site Visits – Tryweryn

Reconnecting with the space at Tryweryn was always going to be an interesting time. Although I have visited this location many times already to take site photography, each time has been different and we have found more signs of the history of the location.

This time was no exception, the water level being extremely low has exposed much more along the shoreline and new perspectives were gained from visiting the site and being able to walk where we had been uable to previously – below the previous water line.

Our first stop was to visit the beach where we first took photographs, the water line had dropped roughly 50 feet or more and it was very eerie walking across the rocks that had previously been underwater.

We walked across the dam to the other side where we were able to walk below the overflow for the reservoir, along the shoreline there were signs of a previous life with what looked like farmers fencing drifting off into the water – previously we had not been able to see this.

At the top end of the reservoir nature had begun to reclaim the land, unlike Thruscross which was very sparse and muddy, vegitation had begun to grow on the land below the waterline near to the church at Tryweryn. The water line was so low that what I believe to be remain of a bridge was somewhat visible though not quite as much as pictures I had seen when the water level dropped in the drought of 1996.

At Thruscross it was very clear that deforestation had taken place to make way for the reservoir, yet at Tryweryn there were only a few trees that had been cut down leaving the tree stumps to remain underwater, only to become visible when the water line dropped.

What was very noticable at both Thruscross and Tryweryn was the absense of wildlife below the water line, almost like the creatures of the area knew to stay away

 

 

Site Visits – Haweswater, Thrusscross & Derwent

Having considered my intention to reflect further on the communities displaced to make way for a reservoir, I decided to investigate further so that I might expand the scope of the project. There are 570 reservoirs in the UK with the largest being Rutland Water. There were many reservoirs created in the 1800’s and early part of the 1900’s, all create to meet the increased meed for water supply through the increase in population and the development of industry. I know that there were changes approved in parliament that made way for the easy construction of these reservoirs, and these parliamentary bills are something I need to research further so that I can fully understand the process that allowed the building of these reservoirs in the first place.

The following reservoirs, I have identified as sites where communities displaced to make way for the reservoir to meet these increased water needs.

  • Tryweryn Reservoir – village of Capel Celyn, Liverpool Corporation, 1965
  • Lake Vyrnwy – village of Llanwddyn, Liverpool Corporation, 188’s
  • Haweswater Reservoir – village of Mardale Green, Manchester Corporation, 1935
  • Thruscross Reservoir – village of West End, Leeds Corporation, (1966
  • Ladybower Reservoir – village of Ashopton, Derwent Valley Water Board, 1943
  • Derwent Reservoir – village of Derwent, Derwent Valley Water Board, 1943

I am also interested in the Elan Valley Reservoirs created by Birmingham Corporation to provide water to Birmingham this may well become an extension to this project. I have applied once for a residency in the Elan Valley and hope to apply again next year (2019).

Having the need to spend some time at a location for me to get a sense of the physicality, I decided to organise a weekend of site visits. A lot of miles, but well worth the time. Over one weekend we visited Haweswater, Thruscross, Ladybower and Derwent Reservoirs where I collected photographic evidence and had the opportunity to gain the essence of the energy around each of the reservoirs. Continuing this, I soon plan to re-visit Tryweryn and Lake Vyrnwy too.

To form a link with my previous work, we set off armed with my whirly gig and some plain white shirts used previously a clear reference to the domestic reasoning behind the creation of these reservoirs and was a good creative link for me to use to help with my thought process.

At Haweswater, it was very clear to me that the Water Authority did not want people to have access to the reservoir. However, the reservoir walls built a long time ago had somewhat disintegrated, we jumped over to record some footage. Whilst I was at Haweswater, I felt very on edge and unsettled, feeling very nauseous too – more reflection needs to take place for me to understand why this might have been.

 

It was clear that the water level at Haweswater was low; however, it did not appear to be that low. We did not drive to the end of the reservoir where we may have seen some of the remains of the village – at that point, I was under the impression the reservoir levels would be too high to see anything.

It was only when we arrived at Thruscross; I saw how low the water had become for some of these reservoirs. We visited Thruscross twice over the two days. To be honest, Thruscross on paper was the reservoir I was least interested in – I had not completed a lot of research for here and believed that the reservoir filled long after the community had left. However, a discussion with someone who remembers being in West End as a child revealed a different story. A community was indeed, displaced by the reservoir here and bodies exhumed in the process.

Upon our first visit to Thruscross, we crossed the dam and made my way down to the edge of the water where we set up and took some photography. On the way back up to the water line I noticed there were many fragments of pottery and rusty pipes, along with walls and foundations – signs of buildings and daily life in a place where life had not existed for a very long time. At the time, I felt this was the site of the mill but later discovered that this had been a sailing club in the past.

 

The next morning we returned to Thruscross with the intention of walking the opposite shore to where we had been the day before and this yielded some interesting insights. Signs of buildings and the village of West End along the shore, and the further we walked towards the point where the river meets the reservoir it was clear that this was indeed the site of the village and the mill. We were able to gather some interesting footage and spend time in a place that is usually submerged.

 

To make way for the reservoir many trees were cut down along the shore. These trees are clearly normally below the water line. However, the effect of being underwater has washed away the dirt around them exposing their roots and they still clearly show the marks from being cut down, some fifty-odd years ago. I found these tree stumps fascinating as to me they reflected a memory of a life that existed prior to the reservoir that had simply and brutally been cut short/down. I have much inspiration to work with sculpture here. They remind me of creatures that roam the woods and appear like they are crawling out from the water – Wildlings!

 

 

Our last visit of our trip Ladybower where the water was exceptionally low and remnants of Ashopton very visible although not easily accessible, however when we arrived in the Derwent valley, where the Derwent reservoir has reduced to just a small river surrounded by foundations and remnants of the village of Derwent that was. What appears to be whole building is visible, I think this may have been part of the church and many people were there wandering about in the mud and sludge at the base of the reservoir. What was apparent to me was the vastness of this reservoir and the fact that the recent rain has done little to replenish the water levels. I set up my trusty whirly gig where it was not too muddy and shot some photography.

 

This visit has made me very excited to visit Tryweryn again as I am sure the water levels there will still be low too. The footage I have taken is both in colour and in monochrome, however at the moment, I feel the monochrome is more effective as it gives a feeling of nostalgia and timelessness, a long since forgotten or seen past.

UAL First Year Symposium

Give a 5-minute presentation that discusses your most recent practice acting as an introduction to your work and research proposal for your fellow students and tutors. We recommend that you prepare an illustrated talk using images or video of your work.


Recent Practice

Key techniques used as part of my process are Collage, Printmaking, Sculpture, Photography and Video incorporating found objects into the artwork.

I consider all of my work to reflect the way I view the world we live in. My work subconsciously considers social and political issues that arise as part of the practice I have developed.

When I start a piece of work I research newsworthy events that have happened in the world, in particular from a social and political viewpoint. My artwork is often a reflective observation of these events where the general population has in some way been mistreated by an overriding power, such as the residing government/politicians of the time.

My most recent work (between 2016 and 2018) presented here has been about issues that relate to Diaspora and began after some research into a local building called Tedder House in Llandudno, North Wales, named after Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, who in World War 2 was known for his strategy the ‘Tedder Carpet’ the practice of concentrated carpet bombing in support of the Allied Forces, tactics that continue to be used in today’s modern warfare.

I began researching the Syrian war, which has been ongoing for five years and during this part of my research I became aware of the many upsetting images on the internet from the Syrian war. These images had a considerable psychological effect upon me and this then became the impetus for an installation. What affected me the most was the effects of the Syrian War on the lives or ordinary women and children living in Syria and particularly Aleppo.

Syria Video Images.png

I then began to reflect further on World War 2 and the effect of this war on the women and children in my local area and the evacuation of children from the UK cities into more rural areas – in this case from Liverpool to Caernarfon.

This next body of work explored the historical events associated with the evacuation of children from British inner cities during the Second World War. Many children were evacuated from Liverpool to towns and villages across the North Wales coast, including Caernarfon. Inspired by Hannah Hoch, the artist collected found objects from the era, reproduced photographs and propaganda materials to be used in the photo collage, A suitcase photo collage was created, brimming with memories from WW2 relating to the threat against Britain’s inner cities, the propaganda, and the experience of being evacuated from Liverpool to Caernarfon during this period. After reading many personal accounts of these events, the artist devised a collection of bi-lingual statements that appear to reflect the general sentiment felt by the evacuees, their parents and the prospective foster communities.

Evacuee

Evacuee 2

Evacuee 3

The focus of my next work was an attempt to look at the refugee crisis through the eyes of those experiencing these circumstances first hand, the refugees themselves, their experience, their treatment, the barriers and the stereotyping that they face on a daily basis.

A long-held belief that humanity, dignity and respect are basic human rights that everyone deserves irrespective of his or her circumstances, the refugee crisis highlights the lack of humanity in our society today.

Inspired by the increasing efforts of many artists to raise awareness of the refugee crisis, in particular, Ai Wei Wei and the Migration Museum, I wanted to create work that says, “Look at how these people are treated, this could be you or me”. Ultimately I ended up with an installation of blankets made from materials that could be used in a Refugee Camp for temporary shelter.

Refugee.png

My next collection of work considered being decoupled from a homeland and the experience of dispersal that a subsequent journey of migration can bring. A reflection of an individual state of being and a sense of rootlessness and longing, indicates a sub-conscious social-political element relating to the subject of Diaspora.

An outsider was symbolized using a chair covered with fragments of road maps. This juxtaposed that sense of rootedness with rootlessness and in-betweenness.  It was taken on a migratory journey between a host country and a homeland. Ultimately, being cut in two to constitute two parts and divided roots. This journey was then recorded using photography and film.

Lost.png

Reflecting on the work that I had produced between 2016 and this point (early 2018) I began to make some connections that not just reflected the issue of Diaspora but the associations of my work with historical events that continue to have relevance in our society today. I completed this two year period of reflection on Diaspora with a body of work that related to historical events that took place near to the locality that I live.

A site-specific piece about the construction of the reservoir Llyn Celyn, flooding the Tryweryn Valley and demolishing the village of Capel Celyn in the process. This piece is a continuation of an ongoing theme relating to displacement. In this case, the displacement of the village residents to provide water to Liverpool. The events that happened at the time also prompted a strong sense of Welsh Nationalism and calls for Devolution which continue to this day.

Tryweryn 3Tryweryn 2Tryweryn 1