2. Stage 2 – The Process
How It Works
3. Stage 3 – Final Installation
5. Research Paper
Stage 1 – The Ideas
Our team had wanted to work around the theme of ‘Society’ from the very beginning so we looked up on various subject matter such as how our self-image is shaped by society, the power of social media, the perception of an introvert and more.
We also looked out for artists for inspirations such as Christian Boltanski, Anticlockwise, Autism Speaks and Elizabeth Price. However, we were particularly attracted by ‘The Tent’ or ‘Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995’ (1995) by Tracey Emin.
For her work, Emin used the process of appliqué to sew the names of all the people that she has ever shared a bed with – including lovers, friends and family – onto the inside of a small tent. To view the work, the audience had to crawl inside, becoming voyeur and confidante at the same time. We love how her work had a raw and bold feel.
When you’re feeling insecure, you feel helpless, weak, unsure of yourself. You also become reliant on external validation. Other people’s opinions mean a lot.
If you happen to be around someone who makes you uncomfortable (either because they themselves lack confidence and are judging you, or because you simply perceive them to be judging you), there’s a good chance that your confidence will wane. You may hear other people’s voices and opinions in your head, but it’s hard to distinguish those from your own.
Hence, for this project, we would like to address this issue by showing that our insecurities are just in our mind. We need to step out and realise that they are just mere imagination.
We decided to use a tent to symbolize our mind while different imageries were playing outside. Instead of a video displaying those insecurities, we thought silhouettes would be better to compliment the concept of using a tent. It would look as if there were people walking around outside the tent. The audience would not know who they were but by looking at their gestures and responses, we hoped to trigger a sense of insecurity and uncomfortable in them.
Stage 2 – The Process
Initially, we wanted to have 3 projections on the tent but we could not find anything to fill in the left and right side of the tent’s surface.
We also encountered a problem where we had no devices to activate the video once the audience steps into the tent. We were planning to have a motion sensor at first but due to time constraint, we thought of a simple clicker to be placed under the carpet at the entrance. However, it would not be precise; what if the audience stepped on another spot or stepped straight into the tent? We consulted with the lecturer and she mentioned that we could control the video playing.
The purpose of this installation is to display what we think the society will perceive you, is just inside your mind. You are the one who is self-conscious about what they think about yourself. While the audience outside symbolises the modern society and the tent you are in symbolises your ‘mind’, the silhouettes are just what have in your mind.
The whole time you are inside your ‘mind’ is when you think all these are happening.
How it Works
- Starts off with a small pathway that leads audience to the tent
- Initially, nothing is happening outside (only the 2 lights shining on the tent & potted branches with sticky notes stuck on them)
- The rest of the audience walking around the branches to analyse the sticky notes, may not realize that their shadows are casted on the tent and they are ‘part of the crowd’
- When someone enters the tent, give him some time to explore the interior
- Then, we will click the mouse and the silhouette video & sound plays
- The video silhouettes will blend together with the shadows of the people outside
- Once the person crawls out of the tent, we click the mouse again to activate a black screen
- When he steps out, he will only see the people doing their own things outside
- This is to show that all the movements created by the crowd earlier are just what he imagined in his mind
– People passing by and looking at you
– People peering into your tent
– Girls glancing and whispering at you
– A child tugging her mother’s hand and pointing at you while the later tries to ignore and walks faster
– Group of guys taking pictures of you and laughing
– A female figure approaching you but her male partner prevents her to do so
– A dog barking at you or a cat hissing/growling at you
We tried to play around in creating silhouettes by experimenting with the distance of the light source, the colour of the light and the furthest/closest the crowd should be to create a sense of depth.
We wanted to have the flexibility to control our silhouettes so we used the green screen/chrome key method to get them.
With her bubbly approach, Tiffany managed to get people to help us and walk across the green screen doing body gestures as directed. Since we did not have enough green cloth, we actually asked the taller ones to crouch a little yet appear natural, if that was even possible.
Moving on to the editing process, we firstly sorted out the footages according to different categories such as ‘Passing By’, ‘Walking + Stopping’, ‘Peeking In’, ‘Girls Whispering’ etc.
Initially, we used a white background for the video but when tested it out on the projector, it came out too bright. So we changed it into a lighter brown, similar to our tent’s surface.
Then, we arranged the video in a way where no two actions were made at the same time and applied the Keylight function in After Effects on the videos. This Keylight helped to crop out the green background we used when filming and give us just the figure itself.
Then, other functions were applied like ‘Curves’ to make the cropped out image black, ‘Gaussian Blur’ to have soft edges, ‘Warp’ to slightly distort the silhouette and ‘Colour to Change’ to have different shades of silhouettes for depth.
After creating the video, we started off by applying a ‘generic’ background sound; crowd talking at the back. Then, we added on different footsteps approaching and sounds produced along with the actions like girls laughing and cat growling.
We had our video projected on the tent earlier to test whether the colour turned out as what we expected.
Stage 3 – Final Installation
‘Perceiving The Mind’ explores the inner thinkings of one’s mind through the ideograph of a tent – the video’s central motif – to symbolize the space of our mind. By projecting silhouettes from the exterior, it is up to the audience to apprehend the responses gestured by the passing crowd. Derived from Tracey Emin’s The Tent (1995), the audience has to crawl into the tent to view the work. This sanctuary, a small and safe space in a troubling world, is intended for a psychological experience as you question yourself, ‘Are they referring to me? Why?’.
*Use earphones and turn up your volume*
This project allowed me to explore different possibilities to address an issue/topic using a variety of methods from avant garde cinema, short films, experimental films, video installation, sound effects etc.
I was glad I had the opportunity to work with silhouettes this time as we had the flexibility to create various solid black forms, suitable for our concept. Keeping that in mind, we also had the challenge of directing actions or gestures made by our ‘actors’ so the audience were able to make out the message we were trying to convey.
Although there were quite a lot of obstacles towards the end of the project, we managed to pull through as a team and tried to do the best we could. I was not really satisfied on how the projection came out (it was too small!) but I had fun doing this project as a whole. My team appreciate the feedbacks given by our lecturer and classmates and learning from mistakes, we will work harder in the future for a better final product.
Overall, think that this was quite a fun experience to have despite having many challenges along the way from finalizing our concept, video and sound editing, looking for suitable props and space for installation and putting everything together.
The part that I find most memorable was making our own green screen and grabbing people to walk pass it! We had to take note of the actions and gestures of the people in front of the green screen, making sure that the gestures were big and clear enough when made into a silhouette form. When projecting the silhouette onto the tent, we had to take note of the distance between the projector and the tent. The lighting of the projection must be controlled so that it won’t strain the eye of the viewers in the tent.
In conclusion, it was a great experience and having my close friends alongside doing this together made it more memorable!
I really enjoyed the process of creating the installation. I learned so much about how a space can immerse the viewer into the work and how as the artist, our choices manipulate or control the viewer to experience the work. There was a sense of accomplishment in seeing our classmates enter the tent and watch the projection. I feel like I learned so much from the other groups through their feedback as well as through their own final projects.
Overall, this was a great and fun experience and I am thankful for this class!
By Dina Anuar, Rachel Fong and Tiffany Rosete
As we are approaching our adulthood, our team has always been interested on how people are really judged in today’s society. We may hear other people’s voices and opinions in our head, but it is hard to distinguish those from our own.
The unconscious mind plays a very important role in affecting our behavior, shaping our personality and our entire life. It is like a big memory bank that stores our beliefs, memories and life experiences.
When one lacks self confidence because of certain beliefs that he has about himself (that are stored in his unconscious mind), then he might feel anxious around people. For example, the main reason we fear public speaking might be an unconscious belief that we are unattractive and that people will not like our appearance. While we are not aware of that belief while talking in front of the public still, it will affect our performance to a great extent.
Hence, our team has decided to utilize an object that could represent this unconscious mind as the audience literally sits and be inside this space to experience what the mind is probably thinking.
According to Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow, in all our perceptions, from vision to hearing, to the pictures we build of people’s character, our unconscious mind starts from whatever objective data is available to us and helps to shape and construct the more complete picture we consciously perceive.
By using silhouettes to project on the object mentioned earlier and to symbolize this ‘incomplete picture’, the body language and voices created by them act as the data in our mind as we tried to fill the empty blanks.
This gives us a startling and eye-opening examination of how the unconscious mind shapes our experience of the world and how, for instance, we often misperceive our relationships with family and friends.
Another aspect of our mind and our construct of ‘self’ relates to the idea of the social comparison theory. (Social Psychology, 2015) We may assess our worth by comparing ourselves to others. This may negatively affect our self-esteem. We also try to group ourselves with others (in-group or out-group). Such groups may be subject to discrimination by another group. Again, we may begin to doubt our self worth. In more severe cases, this may lead to depression.
One way to tackle the persisting issue of low self-esteem and insecurities is to be beside our feelings, acknowledging that these insecurities(wherever they may come from) exist. From there, we can free ourselves from identifying ourselves to stereotypes, stigmas and labels that lead to self-deprecating thoughts.
Therefore, our team decided to address this issue by raising an awareness where what we think the society perceives you is just inside our mind. Due to this unconscious mind we have, we are self-conscious about what we think of ourselves. The whole time you are inside your ‘mind’ is when you think all these are happening.
Mlodinow, Leonard. Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior. New York: Pantheon, 2012. Print.
Smith, Eliot R., Diane M. Mackie, and Heather M. Claypool. Social Psychology, 2015. Print.