User:Muxingye Chen/thesis/project

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Project Proposal(What How Why)

Over the past months I have been working on improving my command of narrative in my films.  For my final project I would like to continue working on the short experimental film, which is called “Unframed”.    This film is about how I connect with the absurdity of the reality I find myself in. The work so far was made during the time when Dutch society had been locked down from the middle of March to the beginning of August.

During that period, I experienced the disconnection between my physical body and mental awareness. More specifically, my body was isolated within an eight square-meter room. All this time my awareness travelled through the internet, through propaganda generated by  social media; 

  • “news" in online society: 
  • “The broken relationship between China and America”;
  • “The Covid virus is made as  a chemical weapon by the Chinese military”;
  • “Black lives matter”;
  • “Refugees were rejected at the Hungarian boarder”.... 

  The most influential value that I perceived from this mass of information are numbers and conflicted statements. It brings to me a feeling of being an outcast in the western context, Mentally I could be falling apart anytime because of this venerable global situation.  So, to make my struggle more rational, I filtered it down to three main themes:  

  • 1) “How to deal with the paradox that when identity is constructed by physical reality, it is at the time deconstructed by virtual reality”;


  • 2) “The play of Media manipulations”;


  • 3) ”My life has nothing without digitalisation” (we are defined by numbers and data).

I have been working on methods of visual storytelling throughout lockdown period, by making 3d characters, dialogue, various activities, within a virtual environment.

But the fact remains that those elements are more related to emotional self-expression.

The images in my work are abstractions, a personal response to events; they reflect the feeling of distancing and being an outsider. The Covid times amplify these feelings to a larger extent. 

However, when it comes to a film with clear narratives, the first experiment that I did during the lockdown did not fully succeed in transforming personal emotions to rational film structures, especially how the elements interact with each other and produce context. Therefore, there are a few points I want to address regarding the images I make: to figure out the conflicts of identity in specific times and specific situations; to make clearer my own position in this context. 

The outcome of the further experiments will involve certain adjustments and achievements : I want the work to express these uncertain, paradoxical situations. This requires a re-assessment of the elements in my work in order to communicate more directly. 

Because of my educational and cultural background. I barely feel a sense of belonging. So, these questions are amplified in covid times, and the large themes of the current day appear superficial. I would like to go deeper and invite people to slow down and not so easily come to judgment. I would like to use the film I have been working on as an experimental bed .

In practical terms, I will address the following issues : 

How to reorganise visual elements within a context that is more accessible and understandable. 

  • More precisely, the use of sound; 
  • To give precise explanations of the figures, [body shapes, gestures, conditions]
  • How the figures interact with their environment. [to underly and absurdity in the situation]
  • How to organise the conversations between the characters; 
  • What is the value of the objects inside the context presented; 
  • What is the purpose of this context? 
  • Creating a series of events that have consequence…"

The use of sound; building on the approaches I have made so far:I have got rid of the music track; I propose to add sound FX of steps, breathing &c." Recording self-made sound FX which are very direct (all based on my body). Reconsider the hard drum beats which appear in the storyline, especially on the scene where I introduce the circumstances. To utilise digital sound effect on the condition when characters are conflicting with massive manipulated information (quick glitch sound, signal wave in the industrial noise). Balancing the dynamic from the Soundscape (representing the bleakness of the landscape where all characters were shaped as robots in a factory, Mongolian overtone singing can be used, for example).

More precise explanations of the figures? building on the approaches I have made so far: modelling myself as a 3d character; rethinking the clothes elements which communicate the current circumstances more directly (the corona mask material, for instance). All character have different speaking tones, habitual expressions (A character who has null expression all the time, and continuously talking to himself in the group conversation, for instance)

What is the value of the objects inside the context presented? building on the approaches I have made so far: more elements should be added (adding mirrors in front of characters when they are chatting with each other; a water floor in the completely white space; characters are confined in the bottle, (like Samuel Beckett) instead of sitting on the chair, for instance). The different conditions and dynamic elements (every time a character lies to himself in the mirror, the mirror becomes blurred, and takes part of his body for instance).

What is the purpose of this context? Building on the approaches I have made so far: the large white space in the first scene represents the limitation and emptiness of the situation, the condition that the characters have in this space illustrates the absurdity in their reality (for instance: only thing they can do inside is greet with each other with indifferent expressions, there will be only one character who is really interact with others – they see him as psycho).


November - January

  • Making a deeper reserach of the "theree themes" that i mentioned
  • Making visual elements mind map
  • Writing scripts for stories to prototype
  • Making a sound recording plan
  • Start recording sound material and collecting viusal elements in China


  • Finalizing narratives
  • Continue research and material gathering - visual and sound experiments
  • Based on script: Processing the research, and making a selection of recording sound materials
  • First draft of thesis


  • Dive into the detail of script
  • perpare materials
  • Start visualising narratives
  • Finalizing thesis second draft


  • Finalizing thesis


  • Final touches
  • Preparing presentation


  • Work on graduation show

Who can help me?

I think Steve and Simon can help me with screen writting and conceptual issues. For most of the tecnical issues like building up 3d character, editting sound effects, creating virual 3d space, i will find relevant designers from the community.I would like to have more conversation with Gaberial lester, talking about how to conmmuncate with different targets with my represented metaphors, and how to build up the deeper relations between narratives and dynamics in space. In general I find that talking about the project as much as I can with pears and tutors helps me a lot.

Relation to previous practice

As an visual artist, my viusal research in the past was mainly focus on “the ubiquity of pastiche”. It’s about the “present”is saturated with “past” to the extent that the very distinction between the two has been eroded. Increasingly, we are induced into forgetting that what we are hearing and seeing is not new. Our expectations have been gradually but inexorably lowered. We enter into depressive time: It’s always been like this. It is more in line with anti-capitalist notions of the bodying lost in the image world, bouncing about without reference because past the seems more distinct and the present seems unreferential. Now this reseach becomes more practical and rational: As an image maker, how to reprenets this paradoxical feeling to more direct, communicative term? more percisly, what's my understanding of the transformation from obstractions to metaphorical objects. This is also related to the research for my graduation project.

Relation to a wider context

  • Films:

Roy Andersson : The Living Trilogy. (Songs from the Second Floor, 2000)(You, The Living, 2000)(A. Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence) (Blade Runner 1982) (Blade runner 2049) The Fifth Element (1997)  

  • Theatre:

Samuel Beckett (The play 2004) Philippine "Pina" Bausch: (Frühlingsopfer (1975)) (Café Müller (1978)) (Nefés (2003))  

  • Music:

Joy Division: (Unknown Pleasures 1979) Sainkho Namtchylak ( Ritual Virtuality 2000)

  • Book:

Jussi Parikka: “What is Media Archaeology?”   Stephen king: “On Writing” Jean-Paul Sartre.“Being and Nothingness”