Tag Archives: Experimentation

Filming – Walking

To film the walking footage I decided to use my iphone because I did not feel comfortable using one of PCA’s cameras for this kind of filming.  The reason for this was because the camera would be pointing downwards toward the feet whilst moving and I was worried that there might be the possibility of the camera getting damaged.  I could have hired a GoPro camera – which I understand is specifically used for active filming but decided that I didn’t have enough time to get inducted in using this equipment.

I initially tried to film myself wearing similar plimsolls but after watching it back several times, I felt it did not give the impression of a child walking.  I wanted to film a child’s footsteps as opposed to an adults so it would relate to school.

As I also wanted to use footage of an apple in a tree, I decided that I would experiment with adding an apple or apple core to the walking film.  I initially started filming and then threw an apple core to the ground and kicked it as I walked.  This did not create a steady visual and the footsteps became disjointed in rhythm.

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Film Still of me kicking apple core. Film still by Helanie Moore

I then decided to place an apple on the pavement in my pathway.  The apple would only be visible for a second or so when walked passed.  I felt this would give a subtle glimpse of the apple to the viewer and would not be too overpowering.

Several days later, I decided to ask my daughter is she would help me this this set of filming.  After numerous takes and re-positioning of iphone camera (sometimes her feet weren’t visible or she had her finger over the camera), we managed to get some usable footage.  I was also happy with the sound of the footsteps as well as the background sound of the birds as it felt more natural and less constructed.

Child walking passed apple. Film still by Helanie Moore
Child walking passed apple. Film still by Helanie Moore

 

 

Filming – Apple in Tree

After some online research I realized that I would not be able to film an actual ripe apple tree because it was the wrong time of year.  I tried to look online to see whether I could find some stock footage but unfortunately there was a charge to get the footage/remove watermark and I would probably have to credit the film-maker in my work.

I decided to be a bit inventive and hired a Canon 600D from PCA’s ERC.  After researching online, I found out the shape of the apple tree leaf so that I could find something similar in the park.  However, when I got to the park I could not find a tree which would be suitable.  On returning to my house, I noticed an overgrown plant/shrub of some sort in my garden with similar leaves to an apple tree.  I had bought an apple with a stem still attached and carefully taped it to a branch of my garden plant.  It worked surprisingly well so I filmed about a minute of footage with the apple having a similar composition to the plimsolls and Newton’s Cradle footage.

Filming of apple in tree. Image by Helanie Moore
Filming of apple in tree. Image by Helanie Moore

After I had filmed the apple, I loosened the tape a little and began filming again.  This time the apple detached itself and dropped to the floor.  I was extremely pleased with this effect and felt it related to education (i.e. physics) as well as the many cliches which one may remember on witnessing this (i.e. an apple never falls far from the tree,  one bad apple spoils the barrel etc).  There is also a sense of freedom or breaking free which I also felt worked well with my ideas of school and perhaps feeling that time is dragging and you’ll never leave.

Filming of apple falling from tree. Image by Helanie Moore
Filming of apple falling from tree. Image by Helanie Moore

Filming – Newton’s Cradle

Filming the Newton’s Cradle was a particularly frustrating task.  I had purchased a small cradle online but unfortunately the motion of ticking only lasted approximately 10 seconds before slowing down.  Also, because of the sphere’s reflective quality, I had a problem with what would be reflected and visible in the film.  Furthermore I was not sure at what angle I wanted to film the cradle, so made several experiments as follows:

Image by Helanie Moore
Image by Helanie Moore
Image by Helanie Moore
Image by Helanie Moore
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Image by Helanie Moore
Image by Helanie Moore
Image by Helanie Moore
Image by Helanie Moore
Image by Helanie Moore

Image by Helanie Moore

Image by Helanie Moore

As the images demonstrate I tried several different angles and lighting to create as many options for myself as possible.  I could later decide which would be the most suitable during the editing process. I felt that the last piece of footage (as per the image directly above) would perhaps work best with the plimsolls footage because they had a similar composition (spheres and plimsolls were toward the upper right of the screen).  I thought these two films would compliment each other more effectively however, I would keep the rest of the films in case I was wrong.  I also felt that I preferred the films which only used three spheres as this gave the impression of a central figure receiving ongoing pressure and tension from both directions.

Experimentation/Contextualization: “lest [she] reach out [her] hand and take of the tree of life and live forever” – Genesis 3:22

After my last experimentation, I decided there were a few things I wished to change and incorporate in my next performance.

In the previous piece, there was a lack of ‘beginning’ and therefore felt that I could use the Yoni gesture I had developed in my next performance – to indicate the start and end of the ritual.  The use of this ‘symbolic’ gesture would mark a sense of respect for what I was about to do and had done and also demonstrate a reverence for the feminine and to show that I was blessing myself in the ritual and therefore wishing to embody the tree’s life-force.  Again, there is a sense of narcissism and elevating oneself, in taking something that does not belong to me – similar to the story of Eve in the Garden of Eden.  However, I am suggesting that I am taking back the immortality that was lost by taking from the tree – in a sense, it is a ‘profane (as opposed to divine) retribution’ of Eve.

I mentioned previously that I would be fully clothed in my performances because I felt it was unnecessary and perhaps too obvious to be naked.  Again, in line with the story of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve saw their nakedness after eating from the tree, became ashamed and covered themselves.  Therefore, I do not feel it necessary to my concept to be naked, as I not only have freedom of choice but do not wish to present my body as an object to be judged.

However, I did decide to be barefoot in my performance, not only because I felt my footwear was distracting but because I wanted to have a physical connection to nature as this is an important factor in the performance.

I wore black in my performance, simply because it is the colour of ‘mourning’ in the Western world and I was suggesting the loss of the tree’s immortality.

The result was as follows:

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Click image to view film

After taking photographs and watching the footage back, I did feel a sense of guilt at damaging the tree for my own selfish desires.  Furthermore, this was emphasized more, when looking at the photographs of the damaged bark, that looked like barbaric wounds – similar to flesh wounds.  From this I could sense the life of the tree and a sense of pain.

039049056This further highlighted the religious and spiritual feeling that the performance had evoked within me.  After experiencing the guilt of taking something that was not mine to take, I decided that I would not carry out the performance again.

These feelings emphasized to me how damaging the empty quest for youth can be on one’s inner self and well being.  The aging process is inevitable and is impossible to reverse no matter how many products or how much surgery one has – these things are unimportant and only superficial.

Initial Experimentation

Following my research, I tried out some initial experimental performance work on my own, using the unused beauty products I have accumulated over the past few years.

I wanted to show a difference between the natural and superficial, so decided to experiment out on the moors – somewhere which is practically unspoilt by man, with little human intervention to the landscape.  Therefore, this area would be in complete contrast with the man-made products used to create superficial beauty. Furthermore, being away from the city would highlight the element of segregation used in ritual.

In the film, I placed the beauty products on the grassland and started to draw the Yoni symbol around the tubes and bottles using their contents*.

The concept behind this idea was to make a satirical statement about how it could be said that youth and beauty have become idealized and the products idolized – taking on a ‘holy grail’ aura, so to speak – the antidote to the aging process.  Therefore the Yoni symbol was used to ridicule the  idea of these items being a necessity or ‘sacred’ to a women if she wishes to be valued in society.

Helanie Moore, 2013, Film and Stills of Initial Performance Experimentation:

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Click on image to watch film

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On watch the film back, I felt negatively critical of the piece for a number of reasons.  Firstly, I felt unconfident of my appearance – which is quite shallow, considering I am trying to make a statement about the expectations placed on how one should appear.  Secondly, it was not obvious what the products were and even if it had been, the use of beauty products was perhaps too literal.  Thirdly, the end result seemed quite ugly – this could however, be a positive thing, as it is ironic that this products used to prevent aging and promising beauty, have become something of an eyesore on the natural environment.  Also, the weather wasn’t particularly great on the day of filming, which left the piece looking quite washed out and dull.

I will need to consider a way of presenting my ideas in a less literal way.  I will also need to experiment more in my performance, to gain more confidence in my actions, which will hopefully make a more believable piece – instead of looking awkward and uncomfortable.

*contents was substituted with biodegradable fluid to avoid damage – namely dairy cream which was removed after performance.