Demet Adiguzel, The Absence, 2012
Trimester 2, 2012.
My self-directed project The Absence is a work-in-progress project which revolving around the idea of reality and self-formed realities. The end format is still not certain but here I will talk about the first test edit that I have presented as the second term project as a moving-image installation of two screens. The test is 3 minute 34 seconds long and meant to loop and it is presented silent. For the test the two screens used consist of footage of the same person, a woman in her twenties. The footage was mostly photographic, still-like moving images in which we see the woman interact with the world around her in different locations. We see her performing in a dream like manner, mostly slowly and -in a way- disoriented. In most of the scenes we feel that she does not belong to the scene.
From week 6 till week 13, we have shot every weekend (with the exception of one weekend) once or twice. Some of the intended scenes could not be shot because of the time constraint – simply because of the season. For some of the scenes, the image was edited with special effects by the help of After Effects program. The general editing was done in Adobe Premiere. For all shoots Canon 5D Mk II camera was used.
In most of the scenes we see the reality shift, the viewer cannot be sure if it is real or just imagination. The reason I wanted to use two screens was that I wanted to give realities as different layers which are interactive with each other in a way. For instance; the opening scenes start with almost abstract images later composed to show the character. In left scene we start with her face and when we see her hand, the other screen reveals her foot slowly. We see the contrast of her beautiful face by her graceful being and brutally damaged (dancer) foot in water. For most of my work I use symbols but try to avoid explaining everything by allegories. The certain elements of fairytales and their religious representations impress me. This work includes allusions to certain fairytales but more importantly, to religions.
Recently I have been thinking about being a woman in a world, which is dominated by religions of outdated books. While I am trying to find my faith and name what I believe, I have made research on most monotheist religions with books. Just looking for a room for tolerance in them, I realized that most of those books are addressed to men, dictating as if women were only a product God provided for men.
That just poked the feminist bears in me.
They all believe blindly in so-called books of revelations, without questioning, they decry or even ban science; they kill each other because of the belief. So that’s their reality. What if there was no God and we just live a dream of a cat called Truman? What if I wanted to believe that unquestionably? Yes that means that I am crazy and my mind is playing tricks on me that my reality is shifting and yes I don’t have any proof on it. But do they?? The double standards!
The scene where the character writes on the mirror “I’m just a coincidence, I’m a product of randomness” came alive by these thoughts of being deserted by God, as a second-class citizen, as a woman.
The second it is questioned; you are expelled; now you now that other realities exist. That new knowledge is not joyful. Now you know you don’t belong to any belief, you feel the absence, you feel stateless. Suddenly God is dead, Nietzsche is dead and you are not feeling too good either. This truth, is your new God now.
Discovering the ‘truth’ has its consequences: she stays for detention, writes down what she discovered. Then she turns to the water where it all started (the piece also starts with forms of water.). Where she came from. Where the new God is. She gets in the water, returns to The Absence, to the arms of newfound God, to a cocoon of her new life. (We also see the tarot card Death, symbolizing the new beginning. She picks the card herself, she is purified from her fate, now she is the one making it.)
That’s how the reality shifts. How her eyes fell of to her hands, she sees with her hands. Now without the rules of her former religion in her new reality, she can do whatever she wishes. Embrace the infinity. Celebrate the serenity.
She follows the cards in the garden where she is alone to find herself. Now she can dance through the borders of nihilism as she discovers the meaninglessness of all.
As was suggested in the assessment I;
- Started a course of study on feminist history and history of fairytales,
- Started a journal to detach myself from my work,
- Am trying to find my own methodology, my “tools”.
As I was dealing with this project, I was feeling pretty much lost, not just in this project but with my own experience of religion and culture. The feeling of not belonging any community whatsoever, nationalities on paper defining identity and the feeling of being abandoned by God inspire me for the next possible project I will work on. My next project will most probably be on the issue of “identity”. I would like to delve into everything that defines the identity. I know this project will require extensive research and work so it will most probably be part my graduation project which I can start to get prepared this trimester.
The test piece can be seen on the common computer in LB studio.
The “Augmented Body” exhibition consists of five portraits, it is intended that the iPod with the necessary application is directed to the pieces for the Augmented Reality technology.
In my piece of the exhibition, we see the belly of a pregnant woman on a red background. She appears to be motionless, as if she is waiting for the promise of her own body. When the iPod is directed to the piece the video starts to play the intimate relation of sharing the body with someone.
The body is the residence of the soul and mind. A perfect machine, nurturing the soul, assigning the emotions by the magical chemicals called hormones, characterizing one by genes: it defines one, shapes one’s identity.
What we get from our body in a way depends on what we give to it. What we feed it with, how we use it, to know what to do for it to work as a well-oiled machine in order to get the best out of it. How we shape our body actually shapes us.
To know the body’s boundaries and bend it is the promise of what we can do with the body. As one of the most natural and essential things of our existence, making another body in the body is one of the most magical things a body can do.
In my piece, I worked on this aspect of the “wonder” in which two different cells create a new cell and that becomes a person. How a body can produce something that was not there, something starting from a hundredth of a millimeter and become a heartbeat, limbs and the greatest of all, a mechanism with all cognitive functions. An embryo can promise anything, it is hope in its mystery. The body promises life, I think it is the most fascinating thing that a body can do.
The video can be seen on the common computer in LB studio.
Rhapsody in Black and Blue - Archive and Memory – Celluliod Remix
As Annet invited us to take place in an open contest for Beeld & Geluid, I made a music video using only the footage that was provided for the contest.
On the website of the contest, Beeld & Geluid published around sixty, archival, couple of minutes long videos from films. For the purpose of the contest these footage would be remixed and could also be used with other footage.
As my first project of editing archival footage, I made a music video inspired on the idea of perception. My aim was to edit the footage to alter the meaning with the help of the song that I used. It was a good exercise to seize how images can say totally different things when taken out of the context.