Critical Analysis of Artefact 2- Fear

In this analysis, I am going to be analysing my fear artefact called Momentous to represent the significance of how fear can affect and control the future. My aim was to create a piece where many different types of fear could be interpreted to strengthen the emotions and reaction of my audience. I wanted to be able to use the unidentified fear for my audience to be challenged and use their imagination of the unknown to create their perspective of fear. My own fear consists of trust, honesty and opening up and it can affect my future and how I interact with people. In my Artefact I choose to imply being controlled by someone whether I know them or not, I am living inside my fear and trying to compose myself by giving my trust to the dancer. ‘We are often encouraged to think fear is a weakness, fear is something we can concur, something we fight and overcome.’ (Thompson, 2012) Many of the coordinated dances and my actions are for the audience’s interpretations and imagination to govern their own meaning and narrative. I believe I can target a wider audience because we try and place ourselves in characters oppositions and using an unknown fear I can manipulate the meaning for the audience to use their imagination and place themselves in that environment. ‘Fear and storytelling have the same components…all stories have characters, in our fears the character is us.’ (Thompson, 2012) Using the audience’s own imagination can invite fears and resolve their own narratives.

There are many contemporary issues that can be reflected in my artefact. We shouldn’t be scared of each other but embrace the many talents, cultures and races. Everyone is different in his or her own way and we shouldn’t have to hide away in fear of being judged. I believe there is a lot of hate in the world ever since Trump became president and that has divided people. Trump’s campaign was filled with hate and fear. I used a Black Dancer to reflect different nationalities and cultures collaborating. There is a lot of fear of races and cultures taking over countries, Brexit is another example. We are, as a whole nation becoming more divided. I want to be able to encourage and inspire happiness around the world. I want my media work to find the beauty within the world and have a positive outlook. I consider my artefact a step into the positive elements of having many different cultures and races because by collaborating we have created a video with potential.

There are many ways to manipulate the artefact and consider male domination if the dancer was a male would that change the audience’s reaction?  The Artifact is about fear and being controlled but it is also about giving up the control and trusting people.

Considering the brief is about fear, I would categories my audience to the younger generation both male and female between 12 and 25. During the teenage years I believe it is a scary time trying to find out who you are and to be accepted. I also believe their imaginations could be stronger. ‘What we say about kids who have fears.. is that they have a vivid imagination but to a certain point most of us learn to leave that kind of vision behind and grow up. We learn there are no monsters underneath the bed.’ (Thompson, 2012) It is an interesting time to be able to see the fears/reactions from this generation and to possibly learn how many similar fears there are. The results could make the younger generation not feel so lonely because the teenage years can be scary to go through it alone. I have also been influenced by a challenge on YouTube that is targeted around a similar age.

The Not My Arms Challenge was trending videos to be made by YouTubers. The idea behind the challenge is trying to do a certain activity that includes two people. The first person (at the front) will tie their arms behind their back and the second person (behind the first) will try to mimic the actions to be able to do finish the activity. It has encouraged many couples and family members to take part. I decided to take this idea and do the opposite. If anyone did this challenge with a stranger, would there be any trust? This challenge is about trust and I wanted to create an environment of someone controlling another physically and mentally.

I was also inspired by The Sparkles and Wine video directed by Nacho Guzman and how he, not only thought about light but also colour to be able to express a certain feeling. Colour is a powerful tool that can communicate many different emotions without having the need for dialogue. I wanted to be able to experiment with different colours and express a sense of tension with light and also emotion with colour. I had the chance to experiment with different lighting set ups to have varied emotions for portraying the face; from the lights position, angle, colour and strength. I only used the Key and Fill lights to keep the background as dark as possible. The key and fill lights relationship effects the mood of the scene, when used at the same intensity the scene is vibrant and perceived in a happy mood. As soon as the fill light intensity drops the more dramatic the scene becomes. It is also important on where the light is placed, the further away it is, the less harsh it is on the face. I also experimented with hard and soft lights. The hard lights created a crisp, dark and sharp shadow. Whereas the softer light created a soft and smooth shadow.

The set up I used was a high and harsh key LED light to create a sense of urgency, importance and to be able to see the action through the darks coloured filters being used. I also used the flags that were on the LED panel to control the lights spill to not light the second subject and to keep shadows off the wall. The fill light was less intense to try and to make the harsh shadow on the facial features softer but to also give it definition.

The idea began to develop while I was in Morocco with the Changing Lives Programme. I was intrigued by the people’s reactions to one action I gave them. I wanted them to cover their eyes and smile for a photo. Everyone covered their eyes differently. While looking through the photos, I was inspired to make a video of all the different shapes, movements of the hands and incorporate the other inspirations together. I am also considering developing the idea further for a possible FMP (Final Major Project) idea.

This artefact was based on my own fear so it was challenging and I was in front of the camera so I had to trust the people behind the camera to achieve the standard I was looking for. I did feel if the subject was about me, I should be the main character. The dancer completely improvised while being filmed only with small directions from me to inspire her. I was facing my fears and the outcome I believe is a strong visual artefact that can be developed and improved.

My secondary research consisted of lighting techniques and how it can be manipulated to make the audience feel scared in the genre of Horror. I wanted to understand what works well and what would match the theme I wanted to portray. There are many elements of lighting that appear again and again in Horror. The Conjuring, The Fog, Peeping Tom are examples of horror films that use the light, Uplighting to distorts the face of their characters and creates harsh shadows around the eyes and facial feature. When an unnatural light appears from unknown places it creates and unpleasant feeling. The video Horror Lighting From Below explained very clearly why the audience are psychologically programmed to link this certain way. ‘Lighting from below evokes the idea of light coming from… the depths of hell. The opposite is true the light coming from above creates the illusion of heavenly light.’ (ScreenPrism, 2016)

There are many other techniques that lighting can create tension and suspense in Horror films. However there was one interesting lighting technique that corresponded to my idea of fear and for my audience to be active, participate and be challenged. Silhouettes and prominent shadows can appear more unnatural because the mind cannot identify the subject with the limited information it is given, ‘it plays upon the human fear of the unknown.’ (Renée, 2016) I wanted to create the negative space around the subjects to be able to have an active audience using their imagination to reinforce the many perceptions of fear. Before filming the article ‘111 ways to use light and modifies get different looks’ was beneficial to visualise the look I wanted to achieve and also communicate it across to my group.

My primary research consists of what other people considered as fear, for example, Clowns, Hospitals, Spiders, Darkness/walking alone, parents (dad), heights, dying, clowns, unknown and Trump for the consequences the world can be in. I also got feedback in the seminar and from individual people. The outcome of the feedback was, the music and visuals clashed, the music felt more important and the cuts were not smooth because of the change of position. According to the feedback, I have made a couple of changes to the final cut. It consists of a shorter timespan to encourage my viewers to watch the whole video and there is no music. Overall I would improve the quality of production to film one smooth shot to avoid jump cuts and experiment with colour in postproduction like colour grading. I will also look at licensing the proper music genre that can compliment the visuals. However, positive feedback was, I had strong visuals and it challenged the audience to actively think about the many components in the video.

As a piece of media, my artefact is made like a music video. Through the right music genre and pace, it can exaggerate and compliment the visuals. In music videos, there are many close-ups used of the artists in all the music videos that became their brand and unique selling point. There is an element of Voyeurism and privacy that audiences have the privilege of viewing through music videos. Some examples include Justin Bieber, Lana Del Rey, 30 Seconds to Mars and Ariana Grande. The audience views the artists in situations like the bedroom, gym, nightclubs and nudity and also personally feelings like fear and anger. There is also a very stylistic element that makes it different from each other with the use of light and colour.

By understanding the elements of what music video consists of I can manipulate the essentials and use the important factors for my artefact to be adequate. To develop my work to create an original artefact I could possible use Momentous as an orchestral music video to raise awareness for this music genre. There are very limited music videos and that always consists of live performance. Momentous can provide a modernised element, bring visuals to communicate the emotions and gain popularity. Music videos provide greater freedom to experiment with colour, light and reach a wider audience. Momentous includes all the elements mentions of close-ups and Voyeurism to be able to relate to artists and view them in a state of fear/overcoming fear.

To conclude I have technically developed as an artist to be able to communicate certain emotions across using colour and light, to show many stages of constant changing of mood and meaning. I have looked at various examples of how light is used and I took advantage to learn the skills required for me to complete the task. I have plans to develop, experiment with different emotions and also take it to the next level to make it interactive using modern technology of 360. My artefact Momentous has the potential to develop into a music video and accompany beautiful orchestral music however, it also encourages trust and imagination from my active audience.

Bibliography

 

30 Seconds to Mars, (2013). Up In The Air. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9uSyICrtow [Accessed 30 Nov. 2016].

Bieber, J. (2015). What Do You Mean?. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DK_0jXPuIr0 [Accessed 30 Nov. 2016].

 

Del Rey, L. (2012). Blue Jeans. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRWox-i6aAk [Accessed 30 Nov. 2016].

Grande, A. (2016). Side to Side. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXiSVQZLje8 [Accessed 30 Nov. 2016].

 

Orchestra, S. (2016). Score – Videogame music with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PkdLMIz-Ys [Accessed 30 Nov. 2016].

Renée, V. (2016). 111 Ways to Use Lights and Modifiers to Get Different Looks. [online] No Film School. Available at: http://nofilmschool.com/2016/11/111-ways-use-lights-and-modifiers-get-different-looks [Accessed 28 Nov. 2016].

Renée, V. (2016). 8 Spooky Lighting Techniques You Can Use in Your Horror Film. [online] No Film School. Available at: http://nofilmschool.com/2016/10/8-spooky-lighting-techniques-you-can-use-your-horror-film [Accessed 28 Nov. 2016].

ScreenPrism, (2016). Horror Lighting: From Below. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPDBMYSGvSs [Accessed 28 Nov. 2016].

Thompson, K. (2012). Karen Thompson Walker: What fear can teach us. Available at: https://www.ted.com/talks/karen_thompson_walker_what_fear_can_teach_us?language=en#t-666129 [Accessed 29 Nov. 2016].

YouTube, (2011). YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 Grand Finale. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnKJpYGCLsg [Accessed 30 Nov. 2016].

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