Difference between revisions of "Jujube/thesis-critical-reflection"

From Media Design: Networked & Lens-Based wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
 
(11 intermediate revisions by the same user not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
1.3 Critical Reflection
+
= what to write =
 +
 
 +
== Constellation of reading/watching + the process as drawing ==
 +
 
 +
 
 +
reading to recognize new meaning/connections
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Berger
 +
 
 +
cinematic
 +
 
 +
mulvey
  
I make observations on the process of image-making in text and film and make an attempt to clarify the relationship between image and meaning. My main inquiries are:
+
watch log
How does an image move someone?
 
Perhaps by a different measure, how does an image embody meaning?
 
When does an image evoke empathy?
 
 
These inquiries are informed by my own practice as well as readings of feminist film theory. A longitudinal reading of Laura Mulvey’s essays published from 1975 till 2015 has affirmed my position to maintain a subjective, almost radically personal, approach — by observing how my own memory, narrative/narrativity and aesthetics (appearances, as John Berger calls it) interconnect. I will limit my engagement with, and therefore criticism of discourses that hinge on psychoanalytic, Marxist or Perician/Lacanian frameworks.
 
 
My practice in filmmaking has made me more aware of how I use words to construct images. As such, I will investigate two kinds of scenes. First, those I have created in my films: for example, the activity of coffee-making in my graduation project and the hands in my short film Seek (2019). Second, those that have resided in me over the years and that I rewrite for the memoir, including: a cabin I have never visited, lemons and the sky from my childhood. These lead to more specific questions:
 
Am I translating the voice of a writer to that of a filmmaker?
 
How do I convey meaning: with language or with image?
 
How does each procedure of filmmaking (composing an image, blocking a shot, editing) express, interpret or change a feeling?
 
 
I will refer to close readings of films and theories that have helped me further these lines of thought. (I have included the list of references in my project proposal, section 3.3.) As I write out this part of the thesis, I hope to define my personal grammar within the poetics of film.
 
 
Note: I would like to discuss with Natasha how much abstraction I can — or rather, should — reach within the given word limit with integrity. I have noted the following discourses as relevant, but have not read much of them: life writing, autotheory, phenomenology, new materialism (Deleuzian), haptic visuality (Laura Marks).
 
  
= reading the Cinematics =
+
affect
  
I read ''The Cinematic'', an anthology of film and photography theories, with the intention to familiarize myself with relevant film theory vocabularies. The benefit of reading the anthology is the quick access to a sizable amount of different perspectives in one single volume. The drawback, on the other hand, is the density of abstract ideas and abstraction. The anthology includes pieces of canonical texts as well as criticisms regarding these pieces. This anachronism was confusing.
 
  
Luckily, I was shooting for a video project while reading these and had a chance to contemplate the theories through doing. My script featured a voice in search of a lost past with imageries based in nature.
 
  
Discussions about certain photographic quality of cinema [cite text] and the contemplations on real versus cinema time [cite text] had an impact on me during the production.
 
  
I came to realize that I am more interested in the cinematic — movement, association, directed experience in a set time — than the photographic — the captive moment that allows pondering for as long as one wishes.
+
finding starting point
  
'''So far, theories play a few roles in my practice:'''
+
- autobiography
  
1. Theories give me a historical perspective of what has been done. I am not studying art history in any comprehensive fashion, but through theories I am gradually learning to place my works and their relevance in accordance to the form(s) I choose.
+
- curiosity of the medium/technical
  
2. Theories provide soundbites for rumination. I avoid jargons in describing my work (or even writing the imaginary wall text for it). When I read jargon-sounding words, however, the terms become starting points for connecting systems of knowledge. In articulating these connections I can strive to be genuine, specific, and unpretentious.
 
  
3. The case studies from theories give me works to see/watch/research, which helps widen my perspective. The fact that some of them resonate with me more than others drive me to inquire about my own preference — visually, narratively, affectively. By reflecting on other people's work I can also be more certain about my own aesthetics and processes.
 
  
= my positions as I read Mulvey =
+
valence, finding position against/around
  
Part of [[jujube/methods-research-group|reading group]]
 
  
- Laura Mulvey introduces me to the early feminist film theories, which is the first kind of film theory I have read. It presents me with discourses that encompass my own fields of interest and situates me more in the vast space that (film) theories occupy. Perhaps now I can see more relevance of other key texts. (She makes references to Bellour and Metz, for instance.) As I read, I am noticing more and more the way(s) people describe image and image-making.
+
trial and error
  
- She shows me the tenacity of feminism (how it adapts to the times, how it reflects upon itself) -- it is an illustration of that so-called frameworks for research are, and should be, malleable, depending where I am in my practice. I am not interested in using feminism in my daily language. As Susanna said, "the new feminism is humanism."
+
== Where am I with the film? ==
  
- The vocabularies of ''gaze'' and ''spectator'' feel very much the product of the last era (1970's). I am not interested in framing things with vocabularies "coined" to describe a certain thought or phenomenon. I am more interested in the everyday language, especially spoken with ingenuity. There is an intelligence that comes with the everyday language, one that connects people through shared words and the feelings they evoke.
+
I have themed the storylines as homemaking, homecoming and home-carrying and made them into a series of statements after two different shoots. The statements are:
 +
Home is shelter.
 +
Home is abundance.
 +
Home is safety.
 +
Home is free of judgement.
 +
Home is quiet.
 +
Home is routine: of small, yet necessary activities.
 +
Home is a collection of objects.
 +
Home is lost and found.
 +
 +
I hope to evoke the tenderness of grief, the resilience of hope and the very solidarity of being human in this film. The project reflects my continuing research on the creation of meaning and evocation of feelings through image-making.
  
- I will keep reading academic writing as long as it helps me build connections among different knowledge systems OR gives me new insight about something, however esoteric, relevant.  I will set the tone of my research in an academic language. I am a conscientious about the roles of theories in my practice and do not take any theoretical text for granted without the historical and cultural context in mind.
+
== Synopsis of salt ==
  
= reading/research processes through creating a reader =
+
I saw a one-woman play named Salt in London in 2019, written and performed by Selina Thompson. She stood at center stage in a white dress. In front of her was a table with a block of pink salt the size of a human head, a sledgehammer and a large set of mortar and pestle. There were safety goggles on the two rows of seats. I picked a spot on the second row.
  
Part of [[jujube/methods-research-group|reading group]]
+
''During this show, I will be working with a sledgehammer and safety goggles. The rule is, when I am wearing mine, you also need to be wearing yours.''
  
My core research questions up to the point are: how do people feel, specifically, how do people feel empathic?
+
There was a beat after the instruction, before she began: ''I am twnety-eight. I am black. I am a woman.''
  
After reading Eric Schouse's essay, ''Feeling, Emotions, Affect'', I realize that affects closely connect to core emotions. As a person fortunate to have experienced it in therapy, I believe the acknowledgement of and clarity about core emotions will enrich and enlighten one's self.  
+
The play was a direct expression of her personal history charged with institutional racism and colonialism. "And we are all descended from enslaved people. On a form, I tick 'Black British'. If you ask me where I'm from I'll say Birmingham. If you ask me where I'm really from, I'll think 'Suck your mom!' but I'll say, 'My parents were born here.'" (14-15) Yet it was more than an outcry for justice. She struggled with her identity — "Two halves of who I am, a body that works, educated in white institutions, and a body that feels, nurtured in black homes, smash together like tectonic plates." (20) — and her effort to reconcile with her and her ancestors' past — "I think about the violence that is in my ancestry, the violence embedded in our lives and the world shimmers and then melts away and all that is left is suffering." (22)
  
My then therapist recommended three books to me. All of them seem relevant to my recent projects (not as foreshadowing frameworks, but as an emerging pattern as I make them). The books touch on neuroscience, development psychology, psychotherapy (''A General Theory of Love''); suffering, revisiting the past, healing (''Reconciliation''); and ways to access core emotions and arriving at clarity (''It's Not Always Depression'').
+
It was this suffering that led her to a travel project. Along with a female filmmaker, "another child of diaspora," she devised a reverse route of the slave trade and making stops to visit her family's past. They boarded a cargo ship, loaded with cars and marbles, that sailed from Belgium to Ghana along the East African coast. The environment was more hostile than they had imagined — or perhaps, than anyone could imagine.
  
I will start to externalize these connections and position my work in the framework of affect theories.
+
As she recounted the horror, as she traced institutional racism to its very end, she hit the salt with the sledgehammer. With force, with pain, with conviction, line by line.  
  
== What have I been reading so far? ==
+
  [...]
  
When it comes to theory, I read based on keywords. I am fond of the series of readers called ''Documents of Contemporary Art,'' published by Whitechapel (London) and MIT Press (Boston). I have leafed through titles like: Work, Practice, Chance, Memories, The Archive, The Sublime, etc.
+
  And this is imperialism and racism and capitalism
 +
  God knows what else
 +
  Built on Violence
 +
  Maintained by it too
 +
  It decides who matters and who will die
  
At the beginning of the program the word "autobiography" appeared frequently in my attempts. I noted the early, loose thoughts in the page named ''memoir''. [http://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mediadesign/Jujube/memoir] For a couple of months, the driving force of my readings was personal memories, more specifically, how my own memory (and experience) can move others. I noticed my tendency of archiving without articulating the significance of that act, or only doing so in a half-baked way. A breakthrough came when I finished the essay investigating my relationship with autobiographic work. [http://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mediadesign/Jujube/methods-session-5#Reflecting_on_autobiography_in_my_own_work:_reading_Alexander_Chee.27s_The_Autobiography_of_My_Novel] I have since shifted more definitively from my own images (words, storylines, specific events) to those of an external origin.  
+
She hit the salt.
  
I briefly investigated mythology as a potential framework. [http://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mediadesign/Jujube/myths] After reading some contextualizing texts about myths, I found mythology's cultural indications and specific mechanisms (for example, reproduction to perpetuate in public memory) did not quite speak to what I wanted to create. I shifted my attention to tales and stories.
+
  It shapes the states
  
Relying on my experience with narrative forms (playwriting, stage storytelling), I wanted to read about realms I knew little about. ''The Cinematic'' (Documents of Contemporary Art) has introduced me to photography and film theories. I like this volume because it makes an effort to distinguish between photography and cinema, not from a technological/historical point of view, but with more in-depth analysis of each medium. I have written synopsis of the essays from which I learned. [http://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mediadesign/Jujube/methods-session-3#The_Cinematic]
+
Hit.
  
== What am I reading now? ==
+
  That pressure the company
  
'''March 2019'''
+
Hit.
  
My interest in cinematography emerges, somewhat coincidentally, with ''The Cinematic'' readings and a work I created over December 2018 to Feb 2019 (''Seek''). [http://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mediadesign/Jujube/methods-session-5#The_roles_of_theory_and_story_in_my_work:_how_I_made_Seek_.28ESSAY_IN_PROGRESS.29]
+
  That corrupts the union
  
I have selected my readings directing towards the specificity of the techniques and studies of cinema, including haptic aesthetics and screen as a situation.
+
Hit.
  
== '''June 2019''' ==
+
  That grinds down the master
  
Always: What evokes and conveys emotion? How to?
+
Hit.
  
In the past: storytelling through writing, especially drama
+
  He bullies the officers
  
Now: aesthetics of the image... BUT HOW?
+
Hit.
  
-- Why I choose cinema over photography...
+
  They alienate the crew
  
-- Why I am reconnecting with narratives...
+
Hit.
  
-- What I understand better: medium, space (in particular to the medium), craft, my own voice in image-making (it's hard)
+
  And terrorise the artists
  
'''Current keywords: memory image, identification (part of empathy), projection, cinema space, cinematography'''
+
Hit.
  
I find theoretical essays relating to '''haptic aesthetics''' less relevant than the design research or scientific studies. For example, ''Haptical Cinema'', in which the author compares early cinema to Egyptian reliefs, is less interesting to read than ''An audio-haptic aesthetic framework influenced by visual theory''. [http://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mediadesign/Jujube/methods-session-3a#An_audio-haptic_aesthetic_framework_influenced_by_visual_theory]
+
  Shouting at them
 +
  And they're shouting at me
 +
  And we're still at sea in the morning.
  
One article that affirmed my direction is ''Emotions and the Structuring of Narrative Responses''. In it Miall (a professor in English and Film Studies) refers to studies about people's emotional reactions when reading literary text... The bibliography of this article is extensive and extensively relevant. I have not researched an equivalent article in film studies, but this one has provided a lot specific literature about '''feelings, perception and memory'''.
+
I was wearing my goggles and my tears were filling them up. Her anger, fear, frustration, sadness and despair were palpable on the stage. The experience of oppression and loss of her rang true to my own exile. As she shouted, I shouted inside. Her extreme vulnerability not only touched me — it became part of me.
  
With regards to ''memory'', I leafed through the title ''Memory'' (DoCA) and found the text on '''memory image''' by Siegfried Kracauer immensely helpful in capturing the relationship between the personal story (from me) and the perceived reality (by another). [http://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mediadesign/Jujube/methods-session-3#Siegfried_Kracauer:_Memory_Images.2C_1927] (Interestingly, the text was written in 1927... during the early days of photography and cinema).
+
We carry a contemporary privilege  — "educated in white institutions" — yet forever burdened by the past from non-white, non-western homes. Ours is a reality deprived of any coherent identity. We are never belonging, never home.
  
The term memory image appears in Narrative Space by Stephen Heath as he analyzes the process of identification. A subjective image is a mental image and specifically, a memory image. When the viewers identify in the POV shot, they see what themselves/the camera/the director/the protagonist see.[http://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mediadesign/Jujube/methods-session-3#Narrative_Space]
+
"asphyxiations and decapitations and drowning, suffocation and flesh boiled in sugar cane, bodies blown up with gunpowder, hanged, burned at the stake, bodies left to putrefy, pecked at by vultures, devoured alive by fire ants, roasted on pikes." (28)
  
'''I observe: without narrative, images (produced specifically for a screen, not to say those as part of an installation, or a play where there is a chance to experience embodiment) are left alone and can only make meanings via semiotics.'''
+
== Synopsis of Migritude ==
  
Readings from ''Screens'' give me a better understanding about the history of projection and frame and the materiality of different types of screens. One of the articles (Mental Screen) illuminates the essence of the '''cinema space''': instead of "collective viewing", it's about isolation and privacy. That's why we are able to  watch films on our phones.
+
See updated synopsis of Salt.
  
Another article related to '''cinema space''' is "Is a Museum a Factory?'' by Hito Steyerl. In it she compares the cinema as well as the museum to a factory (from the industrial age). [http://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mediadesign/Jujube/methods-session-3#.3E.3E_Is_a_Museum_a_Factory.3F]
+
== Synopsis of the White Book ==
  
I read two articles on cinematography.
+
== Synopsis of Limbo ==
  
*Digital Cinematography: Evolution of Craft or Revolution in Production?
+
== Conversation with Carol ==
*Cinematography: The Creative Use of Reality
 
  
These, along with the 16mm workshop we did at Filmwerkplatz and the earlier classes we had on the history of camera technology with Mathijs/Barend, helped me to further position the use of camera and the use of documentary in my practice. '''I am using digital camera and I choose conservative settings (aka. best practice) when I shoot documentary footage. (This might change as I further my practice, but I'd like to start with the norms and really understand them.)'''
+
= outline from proposal =
 +
1.3 Critical Reflection
  
I have since bought the ''Documentary'' title from Whitechapel (after having a hard time to choose among: ''The Everyday'', ''Moving Image'', etc.)
+
I make observations on the process of image-making in text and film and make an attempt to clarify the relationship between image and meaning. My main inquiries are:
 +
How does an image move someone?
 +
Perhaps by a different measure, how does an image embody meaning?
 +
When does an image evoke empathy?
 +
 +
These inquiries are informed by my own practice as well as readings of feminist film theory. A longitudinal reading of Laura Mulvey’s essays published from 1975 till 2015 has affirmed my position to maintain a subjective, almost radically personal, approach — by observing how my own memory, narrative/narrativity and aesthetics (appearances, as John Berger calls it) interconnect. I will limit my engagement with, and therefore criticism of discourses that hinge on psychoanalytic, Marxist or Perician/Lacanian frameworks.
 +
 +
My practice in filmmaking has made me more aware of how I use words to construct images. As such, I will investigate two kinds of scenes. First, those I have created in my films: for example, the activity of coffee-making in my graduation project and the hands in my short film Seek (2019). Second, those that have resided in me over the years and that I rewrite for the memoir, including: a cabin I have never visited, lemons and the sky from my childhood. These lead to more specific questions:
 +
Am I translating the voice of a writer to that of a filmmaker?
 +
How do I convey meaning: with language or with image?
 +
How does each procedure of filmmaking (composing an image, blocking a shot, editing) express, interpret or change a feeling?
 +
 +
I will refer to close readings of films and theories that have helped me further these lines of thought. (I have included the list of references in my project proposal, section 3.3.) As I write out this part of the thesis, I hope to define my personal grammar within the poetics of film.
 +
 +
Note: I would like to discuss with Natasha how much abstraction I can — or rather, should — reach within the given word limit with integrity. I have noted the following discourses as relevant, but have not read much of them: life writing, autotheory, phenomenology, new materialism (Deleuzian), haptic visuality (Laura Marks).

Latest revision as of 18:53, 5 February 2020

what to write

Constellation of reading/watching + the process as drawing

reading to recognize new meaning/connections


Berger

cinematic

mulvey

watch log

affect



finding starting point

- autobiography

- curiosity of the medium/technical


valence, finding position against/around


trial and error

Where am I with the film?

I have themed the storylines as homemaking, homecoming and home-carrying and made them into a series of statements after two different shoots. The statements are: Home is shelter. Home is abundance. Home is safety. Home is free of judgement. Home is quiet. Home is routine: of small, yet necessary activities. Home is a collection of objects. Home is lost and found.

I hope to evoke the tenderness of grief, the resilience of hope and the very solidarity of being human in this film. The project reflects my continuing research on the creation of meaning and evocation of feelings through image-making.

Synopsis of salt

I saw a one-woman play named Salt in London in 2019, written and performed by Selina Thompson. She stood at center stage in a white dress. In front of her was a table with a block of pink salt the size of a human head, a sledgehammer and a large set of mortar and pestle. There were safety goggles on the two rows of seats. I picked a spot on the second row.

During this show, I will be working with a sledgehammer and safety goggles. The rule is, when I am wearing mine, you also need to be wearing yours.

There was a beat after the instruction, before she began: I am twnety-eight. I am black. I am a woman.

The play was a direct expression of her personal history charged with institutional racism and colonialism. "And we are all descended from enslaved people. On a form, I tick 'Black British'. If you ask me where I'm from I'll say Birmingham. If you ask me where I'm really from, I'll think 'Suck your mom!' but I'll say, 'My parents were born here.'" (14-15) Yet it was more than an outcry for justice. She struggled with her identity — "Two halves of who I am, a body that works, educated in white institutions, and a body that feels, nurtured in black homes, smash together like tectonic plates." (20) — and her effort to reconcile with her and her ancestors' past — "I think about the violence that is in my ancestry, the violence embedded in our lives and the world shimmers and then melts away and all that is left is suffering." (22)

It was this suffering that led her to a travel project. Along with a female filmmaker, "another child of diaspora," she devised a reverse route of the slave trade and making stops to visit her family's past. They boarded a cargo ship, loaded with cars and marbles, that sailed from Belgium to Ghana along the East African coast. The environment was more hostile than they had imagined — or perhaps, than anyone could imagine.

As she recounted the horror, as she traced institutional racism to its very end, she hit the salt with the sledgehammer. With force, with pain, with conviction, line by line.

  [...]
  And this is imperialism and racism and capitalism
  God knows what else
  Built on Violence 
  Maintained by it too
  It decides who matters and who will die

She hit the salt.

  It shapes the states

Hit.

  That pressure the company

Hit.

  That corrupts the union

Hit.

  That grinds down the master

Hit.

  He bullies the officers

Hit.

  They alienate the crew

Hit.

  And terrorise the artists

Hit.

  Shouting at them
  And they're shouting at me
  And we're still at sea in the morning.

I was wearing my goggles and my tears were filling them up. Her anger, fear, frustration, sadness and despair were palpable on the stage. The experience of oppression and loss of her rang true to my own exile. As she shouted, I shouted inside. Her extreme vulnerability not only touched me — it became part of me.

We carry a contemporary privilege — "educated in white institutions" — yet forever burdened by the past from non-white, non-western homes. Ours is a reality deprived of any coherent identity. We are never belonging, never home.

"asphyxiations and decapitations and drowning, suffocation and flesh boiled in sugar cane, bodies blown up with gunpowder, hanged, burned at the stake, bodies left to putrefy, pecked at by vultures, devoured alive by fire ants, roasted on pikes." (28)

Synopsis of Migritude

See updated synopsis of Salt.

Synopsis of the White Book

Synopsis of Limbo

Conversation with Carol

outline from proposal

1.3 Critical Reflection

I make observations on the process of image-making in text and film and make an attempt to clarify the relationship between image and meaning. My main inquiries are: How does an image move someone? Perhaps by a different measure, how does an image embody meaning? When does an image evoke empathy?

These inquiries are informed by my own practice as well as readings of feminist film theory. A longitudinal reading of Laura Mulvey’s essays published from 1975 till 2015 has affirmed my position to maintain a subjective, almost radically personal, approach — by observing how my own memory, narrative/narrativity and aesthetics (appearances, as John Berger calls it) interconnect. I will limit my engagement with, and therefore criticism of discourses that hinge on psychoanalytic, Marxist or Perician/Lacanian frameworks.

My practice in filmmaking has made me more aware of how I use words to construct images. As such, I will investigate two kinds of scenes. First, those I have created in my films: for example, the activity of coffee-making in my graduation project and the hands in my short film Seek (2019). Second, those that have resided in me over the years and that I rewrite for the memoir, including: a cabin I have never visited, lemons and the sky from my childhood. These lead to more specific questions: Am I translating the voice of a writer to that of a filmmaker? How do I convey meaning: with language or with image? How does each procedure of filmmaking (composing an image, blocking a shot, editing) express, interpret or change a feeling?

I will refer to close readings of films and theories that have helped me further these lines of thought. (I have included the list of references in my project proposal, section 3.3.) As I write out this part of the thesis, I hope to define my personal grammar within the poetics of film.

Note: I would like to discuss with Natasha how much abstraction I can — or rather, should — reach within the given word limit with integrity. I have noted the following discourses as relevant, but have not read much of them: life writing, autotheory, phenomenology, new materialism (Deleuzian), haptic visuality (Laura Marks).