From American Horror Story to Zombieland, storytelling has become a medium for the living to empathise with the dead, whether it’s through a tragic backstory, romantic plotlines or even humour.
Having grown up on Western supernatural lore that played on silver screens, I’ve always enjoyed watching horrific tales for the pure thrill of it (granted, almost always through gaping hands). But at times, they leave me with a curious list of haunting questions to ponder: how human are dead humans? Do they still feel the same way we feel emotions or use our senses? Do ethics and morality still apply to the deceased? Are they watching me right now?
A ghost’s perspective
My approach to this brief is to explore how ghosts view the world in context to the hungry ghost festival (in which the living hosts activities and offerings for the supernatural to partake in) by deconstructing the many motifs, colour and shapes often associated with the festival.
ARTISTIC DIRECTION 01 : PATTERN MIXING
Like bees to honey or moths to flames, perhaps the supernatural are attracted to light, noise, smell; things that are emblematic of life, almost like how mosquitoes use thermal sensory and odor to find humans to feed on.
Using techniques and references from collaging, Memphis design and Japanese textiles, pattern mixing would create wacky visuals that play with the ideas of ‘life of the party’ and surrealism.
ARTISTIC DIRECTION 02 : KALEIDOSCOPIC VIEW
Or maybe they see and process everything at once, much like a kaleidoscope, through fractal illusions of grandeur that would leave the human mind spinning in confusion.
While the effect is achievable through digital manipulation, I’m more inclined to print my motifs/patterns and using a handmade mirror prism, photograph the different experimental outcomes. This would allow me to capture texture (that replicate joss papers) and play with light to create eerie vignettes.
ARTISTIC DIRECTION 03 : GLITCHY
Using visual glitches and distortion to emulate sinister self-portraits of hungry ghosts, ready to make mischief on earth.
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