I was interested in creating a sense of time within my film piece. Although I had already thought about using the Newton’s Cradle with the sound of the spheres creating a ticking sound I also wanted to further emphasize the idea of time passing.
As I already had the idea of using the plimsolls abandoned in a tree, I felt I should perhaps film some footage of a child’s feet walking while wearing similar plimsolls. I felt that by doing this, the film would perhaps communicate a narrative and hopefully suggest differing meanings to the viewer as follows:
When the plimsolls are worn, the footwear has one straight forward meaning in terms of phenomenology and perception to the viewer – they are used for walking and protecting one’s feet;
However, when the plimsolls are abandoned in the tree, they could perhaps be said to take on a sense of animism and their purpose has changed.
Also, I felt that the sound of the footsteps would compliment the sound of the ticking Newton’s Cradle and further highlight time lapsing.
As mentioned in an earlier post, I wished to use the image of the school plimsols hanging in the tree because it reminded me of my awkward school years as a child. I was also surprised by how much these memories still effect how I perceive the world around me and how negative experiences can continue to haunt an individual and impact one’s life regardless of the years that pass.
On watching the plimsolls swaying in the wind, it reminded me of a Newton’s Cradle – the shoes acted as the suspended spheres while the laces took the place of the wires.
In terms of semiotics and visual metaphor, I felt that the Newton’s Cradle could also signify a singular, central figure surrounded by ongoing tension.
This could be applied to life experiences and in the case of the narrative I had created with the regard to the shoes, it could also relate to how a vulnerable adolescent may feel at school.
In David Chandler’s book Semiotics: the basics he highlights how the visual metaphor is used in film and advertising:
Metaphor need not be verbal. In film, a pair of consecutive shots is metaphorical when there is an implied comparison of the two shots. For instance, a shot of an aeroplane followed by a shot of a bird flying would be metaphorical, implying that the aeroplane is (or is like) a bird. So to would a shot of a bird landing accompanied by the sound of an airport tower and of a braking plane […] As with verbal metaphors we are left to draw our own conclusions as to the points of comparison (Chandler, 2007, p127)
There is also the idea of time passing with the continuous ticking as the spheres hit each other. This could relate to the idea of how earlier experiences can be carried throughout life – consciously and subconsciously. Also, as a child – I know from my own experience that time seemed to pass really slowly and it felt like I was at school forever. However, as an adult I have noticed that it seems time passes a lot quicker – even though there is no actual slowing or quickening of time in reality.
Chandler also cites linguist George Lakoff and philosopher Mark Johnson’s principles of metaphor which I could consider in my work:
In their book Metaphors We Live By Lakoff and Johnson also discuss how one’s “conceptual system […] is fundamentally metaphorical by nature” and is not something we are necessarily aware of (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, p3). I found this train of thought extremely interesting in terms of how our conscious and subconscious perception works and how this relates to how one makes comparisons to things they come across on a daily basis without even realizing – much like my own experience of the plimsolls and Newton’s Cradle.
Chandler, D. (2007) Semiotics: The Basics. New York: Routledge
Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980) Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago
In 2013, I visited Poland born, London based artist Ula Dajerling‘s exhibition Dark Materialism at Plymouth Arts Centre. I was intrigued with her pieces which included ideas of space, time and our connection to the environment whether it’s man-made or natural.
The first piece I came across was two objects which looked like pieces of coal like structures called Dark Materialism, 2012 presented on a white plinth. The plinth gave the objects a prominence, alluding to ideas of a relic of some importance. The larger of the two objects was a piece of copper slag which had been thrown back into the landscape after smelting metal from the earth. Although Dajerling initially thought the object was a natural material, it was actually a by-product of the “engineered landscape”. The smaller object was made by pouring melted wax into the larger object to create a piece which represented the void. These pieces suggest ideas of how society connects with, effects and fills it’s environment (Plymouth Arts Centre, 2013)
The second work I am interested in is Victory Over the Sun, 2012. The piece is a swinging rock pendulum with a light directly beneath. The rotation of the rock and shadow created on the ceiling is reminder of time passing by. I particularly like this piece because there is something very hypnotizing and historical about the circular movement. In terms of a historical nature, it suggested to me the fact of the continuous earth rotation for millions of years and life’s necessity for this movement – which is something that could be deemed as sacred (Ibid).