In this project, I want to try a medium that I was entirely uncomfortable with, namely: anything that belongs in the 3-dimensional world. I’m alright with drawing, I’m alright with animation, but I’m not alright with things that materialise in the physical world. I’m the kind of person who has trouble making things because I don’t account for a lot of things. Considering that I’ve already played around with animation, I thought I’d like to work with something with a 3-dimensional form just to push my boundaries.
What I aimed for was something relatively simple in appearance, where the focus would be on the setup. When I thought that, I instantly thought of an exhibit I once saw in an exhibition, What is Not Visible is Not Invisible. I speak of Blue Sail (1965) by Hans Haacke. I don’t remember the exact meaning behind it, but I remember being amazed that such a simple-looking exhibit could be intended to draw out something so abstract.
The issue is then how to set it up properly. Indeed, it’s simple to look at: a mere floating blue chiffon with a fan underneath it. However, it’s evident that quite a bit of thought had to be put into the layout, to make the chiffon appear to hover gracefully without being completely blown away by the fan. So I shall attempt to study how it was set up!
The materials were, apparently: fishing weights, thread, chiffon and an oscillating fan.
I also referenced a senior who happened to draw a setup of the installation in trying to visualise it. While the weights were missing in her diagram, which would have heavily compromised the threads’ ability to keep the chiffon in place when the wind was blowing, it DID help me to envision how the threads were placed such that the sail forms a concavity.
Incidentally, I suppose Blue Sail somewhat qualifies as a time-based project, in that the space constantly moves as the fan moves, giving you the idea of a space that is constantly present and constantly shifting.
This is the place I’d like to use. Especially for my work, I envision that a lot of electricity will be involved, and a lot of setup which shouldn’t disrupt the overall image, such as power cords. I haven’t quite figured out how to keep it neatly safe and unobtrusive since my location has a severe lack of sockets in the area where I’m actually installing, such that I’ll have to set down an extension cord. Unlike Blue Sail, too, it’s not in a place made for exhibitions, so it’s not very well-equipped for my installation, and I’ll have to do what I can. Based on Blue Sail, though, it might be worth a try to tape down the cords such that it runs smoothly along the ground. I have nothing that will hover particularly, so that’s unlikely to be an issue.
It’s a good thing that I’m keeping mine simple, though, since the setup itself is really difficult for me in that I have difficulty envisioning 3-dimensional objects in detail, and I’ll probably need to focus a lot more on that.
Before looking at particular pieces, I thought I would research a little on the philosophy of time-space.
There’s Endurantism versus Perdurantism, contrasting philosophies as to the nature of objects. While Endurantists believe that existences are merely 3-dimensional objects which happen to be present at every point of time, Perdurantists believe that existences are 4-dimensional series of temporal parts, meaning that its presence at other points of time also defines it as an object. (tldr: whether to consider the state of the object in different times part of its identity; spatial and/or temporal parts)
There’s also Presentism versus Non-Presentism (narrowing to Eternalism), relating directly to the nature of time. Presentists believe that only the present can conceivably exist, where the past and present are just terms to describe the present that is not currently in existence. Eternalists, however, believe that all points of time are equally real, and as such the world progressively gets larger as more and more points of time are added on with the flow of time. (tldr: time is constant, versus an ever increasing immaterial)
There’s also Gunky Time, which is basically the idea that time can be subdivided again and again to create smaller portions of time.
I personally think the two contrasting concepts are very fascinating. Do we consider time as part of the identity of an object, or separate? Does the world expand as time flows and creates more “present”s, or does the world stagnate in only a moment where all previous and future moments don’t exist? If I can find a way to give shape to these ideas, I’d like to try presenting a contrast between the two for Project 4.
Now, to actual works!
Let’s start off with a nice article on Measured Time.
Form: Series of 4 hour livestreams of a man sitting and smiling unendingly, with minimal noise and a few minor events occurring here and there
Context: Not much you need to know, but that he’s an artist who is interesting in remaining open to the “limitless possibilities of a moment”, as reflected in his works, especially in a fast-paced world where business is commonplace
Content: The uncomfortable, unbearable impossibility of experiencing uncurated, focused and measured time
Subject: Ordinary events in its complete length (e.g. moving trains, firewood burning)
Form: Live coverage lasting hours and hours, of ordinary moving objects with the typical associated sounds, images, etc.
Context: Also nothing much? Except perhaps that it is in a fast-paced society which pays little attention to such ordinary events.
Content: The tranquility of progressive mundanity
This is an article I found rather intriguing, where it emphasises on the nature of measured time. This time can be either unbearable or tolerable based on the lack of or presence of narrative (progression), citing Sitting and Smiling and Slow TV. The nature of measured time as opposed to typical edited time makes “real” time seem rather slow-moving, bringing importance to the details of each moment without going slow-motion while still having an overarching concept (tending towards Perdurantism and Eternalism, maybe). However, when not coupled with the knowledge that there will be some eventual outcome, it becomes “one moment stretched for four hours”, especially where we are accustomed to happening and fast-paced existences, and incredibly excruciating.
I get Cloud and Barrett to level 99 in the first reactor on FFVII
Subject: Cloud and Barrett running around a map fighting enemies
Form: Series of 3 to 4 hour livestreams of two characters running around grinding, with voice over commentary by the streamer
Context: As with many video games, it’s possible to grind to level up, but incredibly difficult and tedious to do so on low-levelled enemies which give little to no experience when you need a lot to level up at higher levels.
Content: Inherently meaningless life given meaning by oneself
A related example which comes to mind is the aforementioned. The above video is only a clip of the final segment, but he was allegedly streaming for almost 2 years. It leans towards Slow TV more in that there’s an eventual goal, and CirclMastr’s comments along the way provide some form of identity to each moment. But it does have the tedium of Sitting and Smiling in that, ultimately, there is no point, though I thought the meaning behind his actions was rather astute, as he stated here.
Subject: Various materials influencing each other in a logical sequence
Form: Art film of a warehouse
Content: Causality leading to the natural flow of time
I enjoy this purely because of the strong theme of causality, but in the context of time I would say it’s a nice look into measured time once more, where various objects act in actual time and no emphasis is placed on any one object through edited time, like the natural flow of time as things go.
Some interesting stuff I’ve seen related to time are as follows:
Life is Strange: A game about a photography student who discovers she has the ability to rewind time, with her actions having consequences in the form of butterfly effects. It’s not particularly relevant in that it’s more about identity and choice than time in itself, but it’s interesting nevertheless.
Half Minute Hero: A game where you have to save the world in 30 seconds. It’s an incredibly fast-paced game as a result! (I’m just a fan of Cryaotic, but I also just think that this playthrough kind of shows that high pace pretty well because Pewdiepie freaks out easily)
Standstill Girl: Like Life is Strange, also not particularly focused on time as opposed to the theme of limbo and general existential crises, but stopped time happened to feature prominently by extension. (Also, I just thought it was a really good game.)
What’s fascinating about the proposal template is that it’s encouraging meaning before form in asking you to mention what you want to convey rather than how you will, while I tend to think of the two simultaneously. In the spirit of learning, too, I’d like to try things I’m uncomfortable with (i.e. live action, photography, 3D, interactive media) rather than what I’m comfortable with (i.e. animation, drawing). It’s boring to do what you know you can do, isn’t it?
Some random ideas which I considered. I’d like to try something quiet, slow and flowing this time (but not with the dramatic, excessive slowness of slow-motion), so measured time seems to be a good choice here.
Alternative title: Excerpt of me brainstorming on Oct 08 at 16:02:32 because I couldn’t think of anything. (Incidentally, even this whole post is some kind of strange stream of thought!)
My initial location was Illyria. Not the actual location, but the fictional version in a book series revolving around a pig farmed named Blart (I didn’t know it sounds like Blood when said out loud). It’s basically some kind of communist country, but as an impressionable 7 year old with no awareness of economics it was a rather revolutionary idea. Here’s the description.
They continued along the road. Each time they passed a stall someone would dash out and give them something, be it some fresh fish or some wine or some elaborate jewellery. However much they protested they could not reject the goods they were given. If a stallholder couldn’t get them to take a gift directly then he just placed the object in one of Pig the Horse’s saddlebags. More and more things mounted up. In their pockets, in their hands and over their shoulders.
‘There’s going to be a terrible bill at the end of this street,’ warned Capablanca.
But they reached the end of the street and there was no bill. Nobody stopped them and nobody demanded payment.
‘Sure, we’ll be arrested as thieves,’ said Beo.
But they weren’t arrested as thieves. And the reason they weren’t can only be understood by understanding the nature of the Illyrian economy.
You see, most economies work on the “buy” idea. You want something. You go to someone who has it. You agree a price. And then you get it.
The Illyrian economy didn’t work like this. their economy, instead of being based on the idea of buying, was based on the idea of giving. Everybody gave a share of whatever he or she had to everybody else. So, a man who has grown a lot of oranges gave some to everybody he knew. A woman who made cheeses gave some to everybody she knew. And so on. Everybody ended up with all the oranges, apples, cheeses and everything else that they needed, which is all that an economy is there for the first place. And if, for example, the man with the oranges had something go wrong like his orange trees getting a disease and dying, then it didn’t mean that he had to starve because everybody carried on giving him things even though they didn’t get any oranges back. They had everything else so missing out on oranges wasn’t so terrible. And as soon as the man got some new orange trees he’d start growing oranges and giving them away again. This is why everybody was always trying to give Blart, Beo and Capablanca things.
Economists from all the other countries of the world had heard of this idea and said that it couldn’t work because people were naturally greedy and selfish and that they liked having more things than everybody else. But Illyrians continued to make it work in complete disregard of economic theory, which was very rude of them in the opinion of the economist. And because they weren’t always competing with each other and trying to make a profit, the Illyrians ended up being friendly and generous to one another and they were the happiest people in the world. It made all the economists mad.
It’s very light reading even for a 7 year old, but I recommend it just because it’s hilarious.
However, I decided I didn’t particularly want to do it by virtue of the fact that I can’t visualise it as anything but a children’s show animation (think Adventure Time), and while I like those plenty, what’s the point of being allowed to use any medium if I’m just going to make some boring expository animation with boring expository sounds?
Also, I like trying out a variety of things. I’ve already attempted the mundane and the quirky, so it’s probably about time to do the faux-psychological stuff, isn’t it?
What I hence want to focus on is the stream of consciousness. I first encountered it in literature (think James Joyce), but I think the fundamental idea still works, since it’s a narrative technique. It’s very fascinating to me that one can begin from somewhere, and through the most serendipitous development, end up somewhere seemingly unrelated through a chain of interlinked thoughts. For example:
I need to find my nail clipper
My nail clipper is silver in colour
Kind of like the colour of Pokemon SoulSilver
Thinking about it, Pokemon was a good game
I hope that the new Xenobladegame comes out soon too
And that the Xenoblade soundtrack is still composed by ACE+
I loved that song by ACE+
It reminded me a lot of…… (stream continues)
You wouldn’t think nail clippers and songs are related, but they can be.
I also know this might sound weird, but for inspiration I looked towards the things I recorded. I have a habit of recording my thoughts and dreams. And funnily enough, they are kind of what I’m aiming for.
i dreamt that i walked to the MRT with them regardless, but ended up sidetracked as we went into Vallaha. We went into the boss map where Nagasakihime, an extremely large (we were only as tall as the width of her thigh!) was sitting on a royal wooden plate, wearing a white royal kimono with her long black hair (her face was out of the screen) as she began to rain hail down on us: i cast protective barrier spells but also decided to just run for it. outside, there were many mobs summoned by her and i took care of some of them but ended up dying so i revived myself there, and tried to kill them by seeing the next move they would make (which didnt make things any easier). in the end i just switched over to my Buccaneer, who could just trash them by sending nukes down from platform above. there was a lot of loot: red/gray crabs, bees, stingers… i collected them from right beside a conversation between Lucifer and a crab: the crab was shortsighted but somehow I knew Lucifer would not say anything about me. After i went back i was reprimanded, while they told me about how Nagasakihime boss fight allows 1 person to sleep and gain ores in the dream while the others fight, and i handed over the stuff i looted from killing everything, which also involved ores. at the same time, Lucifer‘s servant encountered the Demon King, and suggested for him to visit his son’s room, which was currently in terrible shape as his son seemed to have killed everything. The King went in and remarked the lack of mobs, but when Lucifer said he no longer wished to be attacked by the mobs, the King coaxed him by showing the number of injuries each Demon King had to have, with his grandfather clocking in the most at 1842 fatal ones, 1536 with medical attention and 182 minor ones. it was inevitable, and Lucifer had to get used to it. which he did not, and so he plotted to escape, remembering a story he once read of a Demon Queen to be who desired not the position, and so when she brought her horse back in after training and as the stable doors were about to close, she ordered the sun to rise instead, as the tendrils of trees ripped the doors open and she flew off on her horse, free.
74% of dream 030916 (edited typos to allow for basic comprehension)
the skin of my eyes feel heavy but even if it close then i cant stop thinking. what else must i do. what else can i finish doing. i want to work on the lyrics i want to write i want to produce keep producing something if its the only way i can get this turmoil into some shape someway or the other if i draw what should i draw maybe another 2 col piece black and white positive and negative space but ive been doing that a lot recently its an apt style for my mood but i must keep progressing, im bored i want to do something else. ive watercoloured too much for work. maybe acrylic again i liked the effect with luna. or matcha paint thatd be interesting or a silver/gold toned work whenever i find my brush pen. who has it? who can i blame? this is why i hate giving anything. even though i tried to no one appreciated it no one seemed to like it no one cared and in the end why did i do it? i hate giving anything. loaning anything. of course you shouldnt be expecting gifts back but i always feel so underwhelmed. i gave this gift which i worked so hard on and no one cares. maybe im succumbing to a superiority complex again, remember when i mentioned this and all i got was the suggestion that i seem to think im the only one whos “unique”? any element of not liking others must mean some form of egoism. “theyre bad” “theyre inefficient” to be able to say that must mean in some form that you think youre better. “theyre bad and i am too”? what does bad even mean what right do i have to define that word, i dont have jurisdiction what must i do to gain that right my heart skips a beat when my phone drops. it also skips many beats when i have to say nothing ive thought through a lot, i cant breathe it hurts, my heads dizzy, i can focus on nothing but the rapid beating of my heart and i have to struggle to control my breathing, is that what it means to “be anxious” or to “have anxiety” ill never know because ill never work up the courage to believe that i have a “right” to having a mental illness, thats so incorrect to say and that just makes me sound like an asshole, but honestly im just normal norm normal all the way i wont ever be outstanding or dysfunctional in any way
29% of sleeptalk 290717 (edited typos to allow for basic comprehension)
What I enjoy is the fact that they don’t seem like they make sense, but at the same time they kind of do, especially dreams. Once you write it down it becomes truly apparent how bizarre it is, but when you’re still experiencing it, it all makes logical sense to you. The challenge, of course, is to make it make sense beyond just me.
For the dream I find it bizarre that new characters can be introduced so easily without it seemingly weird, and sometimes order is maintained just by the same character appearing again even if in the most different scenarios (and even if you have no awareness of their appearance you can still tell it’s them). Also, how incredibly weird it is that you can have the most detailed information even with the most vague descriptions. And how very different things are happening, but with an adequate explanation you can convince people that it’s all interlinked.
For the sleeptalk it’s also interesting to see how it’s a lot about the person themself. For the me of then, when I think of what I can do, I think of drawing, and that leads to me exploring different mediums. Then the fact that I’ve recently lost my brushpen helps to lead from the subject of drawing to general angst at other people. The real world interrupting the stream of thought and starting a new one is also an interesting concept.
So far I’ve only talked about visuals when the emphasis should be on sound, so let’s try looking at a childhood favourite of mine, hanamushi (花蟲)! Hanamushi has a very distinctive, surreal and eerie style, and I think the idea of reverie was nicely shown in this work:
Short Animation 「Daydream Girl」
I opted against doing the full video analysis since that’s kind of long, but I’d say there are 4 very evident categories of sound.
Diegetic: Could be further divided into real sound and “fantasy” sound, but let’s leave it as is. Sound like the mouse’s squeaking, frog’s clapping, page’s flipping, all fall under here.
Non-Diegetic long-term: The closest to mood music there will be, things like the sounds of chimes and xylophones and bongos which transition from each other as per parts of the video. It helps to define changes in the landscape, with things like the frog getting the deeper sound of drums versus the lighter chime sounds of things like flies.
Non-Diegetic short-term: Like long-term in defining movement, only that rather than characterising whole chunks of areas it provides context as to occurrences, such as a scale ascension when the skeleton unfurls.
Non-Diegetic permanent: The consistent sound throughout everything, the static. I think this is more an accident of sound mixing than actual intention, though, because it’s present whenever there’s sound, but absent whenever no sound track is being played.
I think what helps to keep the sounds remaining united even with different instruments is the common time signature, and what helps to separate is the deviation from that, sometimes with increasing tempo too. There’s a purposeful use of tempo, so fluctuations or off beat sound effects stand out.
I came up with this narrative ordering by myself, but I think it’s a fairly obvious chain of effect which was also shown in hanamushi’s work.
Something of the real world acts as a trigger
The trigger leads onto another thought and another, and another
The chain is broken when something of the real world snaps you back to reality
There are very few examples I could find, but I thought this was good too:
Regardless, the point of the reverie style is to allow a mixture of different types of sounds and mediums. I don’t want to be limited to anything, because it’s all about your head and where your thoughts lead you, so it could go anywhere.
Again, though, it’s about trying to make it relatable to everyone, which is hard because the ways people think are different from each other, so things that have an obvious correlation to me might not link up as well for another. At the very least, though, the location I’m working on is
? THE MIND WHEN YOU’RE STONING ON A BUS ON THE WAY HOME AT 11PM ?
It’s very specific, but necessary I suppose. I’m still working on the sequence of images and sounds, trying not to focus too much on images as opposed to linking sounds. The trigger I’m thinking of is the bus halting sound, so I suppose I’d try to find sounds which sound similar, or which are commonly associated with that.
Or maybe I can try the Good Books thing, in having a sort of monologue, although I don’t think that’d be as effective simply because people DON’T monologue in their head (as far as I know, which I wouldn’t because I only know I don’t).