These are PDF files of readings or half readings I have made during the course of the module. they are not evidenced in writing but are included as back ground.
My research into spaces and how we interact with them has taken a very different turn, I have only just In the last few day of this Module discovered the Book The Production of Space by Henri Lefebvre. My initial dips into the text have been very illuminating In several different ways.
To read a book which deals with the themes I am exploring in my work particularly the idea of social and created space but that really uses this as a means to unpack and critique the tools of control within modern capitalism and consumerism is really exciting, The timing however is possibly not!
It was 3am the night before our last lecture not able to sleep that I began to read the book and make annotations but What started to coalesce in my mind was of far greater importance. I am aware that a lot of my film and research have been concerned with the effects of modernity and capitalism both on the individual and in a wider social context, however It was at three in the morning that I was for the first time able to properly chart my own practice and how deeply it is affected by the ideas of space.
I have always believed perhaps naively that the main area that my work investigates is that of the internal, the mind, this always comes first if I try to describe my particular interests in practice. So too sort of wake up to the fact that Actually all of this time my work is looking at the manifestation of memory identity community and mind through into and of physical space, that this meditation and constant referance back to the interchange of space is my methodology as such, was a big discovery for me.
It is like finding the kernel at the heart of something, a something that you thought you knew so well. This is where my practice based research has ultimately lead me, right into the heart of my practice to see something that has been in plain sight all along.
Back to Henri Lefebvre, it is in this interrogation of what separates and defines the different concepts of space that I find the beginning of my interest and a good starting point for reflection on my own practice. How we formulate our differing views of the world.
It is of course no less than the consideration of objectivity versus subjectivity, how we consider the gaining of and application of knowledge itself. In his investigation of space Lefebvre, returns the idea of space into a collective subjectivity, away from the grip of singular, the unknowable objectivity.
What I took from this early attack on the pillars of knowledge was a need to look at how it is possible, by using language and social structure, to create ways of thinking, that whilst being indicators of, and signifiers of, actual things, have an underlying apparatus that, by linking them only to the spatial and temporal spheres of science takes away their true value and meaning.(Lefebvre, 2016)
And in this void is something else has room to move in….
Of course this is my reading and this text really is quite dense to coin a term used earlier in the year. But perhaps some of these synaptic pathway flashes in my poor tired brain are leading precisely where I need them to, and Old Henri would scoff at my lack of genuine insight…
No matter for now Because the enquiry itself is worth the headache, If I am indeed putting words into his mouth I am finding my way creatively from my own morass of thinking in the process.
It is when Lefebvre gets on to the attachment of ideology to Knowledge that my interest and the connections with my existing research begin to fire! He begins to look at how class produces ‘mental space’ and how this in turns into a ‘theoretical practice’ and how this sets up an axis of control through its acceptance as knowledge, I think he is essentially saying reenforced ideologies with class led society become treated as established social norms or accepted facts of life, and this is how power is maintained by a ruling elite.(Lefebvre, 2016)
He is quick to differentiate this from social practice In that this is something he seems to be saying grows without these powerful ideologies steering them. If I am right in my stumbling through this it is a very interesting investigation into how societies are governed and controlled.
I essentially want to read more and link this research up with my previous reading on super modernity spaces and non place, descibed by Marc Auge in his book Non Places: Introduction to an anthropology of supermodernity (Auge,1995)
I also re read and compare and cross referance ideas of these with Walking in the city by Michel De Certeua,
‘Places are fragmentary and inward-turning histories, pasts that others are not allowed to read, accumulated times that that can be unfolded but like stories held in reserve, remaining in an enigmatic state, symbolisations encysted in the pain or pleasure of the body. “I feel good here” the well-being under expressed in the language it appears in like a fleeting glimmer in a spatial practice’ (De Certeu, 1980)
For now with this being my parting shot of the module I must try at least to finish off the evaluation. much reading and research remains un cited and not recorded but that is just the way of it.
Further to my previous email concerning my shift within the current module:
I would like to shift my current focus away from the film process therapy workshop and concentrate on making My film Low season.
Firstly It was never my intention to start the Ma with the film process therapy, I intend on this being a longer term goal over the two years. And I do not want to rush the process, I need to design the workshop, and test it as you said, this element running in conjunction with preparing a campaign for kick-starter, feels like I am rushing all of these elements to fit inside the constrains of one module, which in this case puts potentially damaging time constraints on a complex project.
Secondly, All of my current research is essentially transferrable, Much of the theoretical or philosophical research and reading I have done supports the ‘Low season’ film. These two projects are of course linked not just in theme but in overall concept and form part of a larger series of goals that I have set for myself, i.e. to make a series of films that look at mental health and wellbeing from a modern and lived perspective, to create a body of work, that will potentially also act as a launch pad to further engagement and or research whether in doctoral study as I mentioned, or community engaged work. The workshop constitutes another part of this overall picture which is to reach out and share as well as explore the processes within film making and consider their use and application in positive change.
So My intention had always been to start with Low season the film, and push on from there.
The other reasons are largely practical, by engaging in the film through the module I can not only access resources and equipment, but more importantly engage valuable time in the development and continued process of the film. Time contributes in several other ways, I have as of yesterday found someone who wants to produce the film, they will be leaving the southwest in March. I have of course got to shoot this film before March as the locations are only suitable in the low season!And this would mean I would have to with another year to shoot, bringing me into the last year of the Ma (where I would prefer to be focussing on the launching the workshop)
One of my key locations A cafe currently lies dormant and for sale (For how much longer i don’t know).
The Module provides a valuable shooting deadline, and pushes the kick-starter project into accelerated forward momentum.
Thirdly the film not only feels like a logical fit, but I could shift the kick-starter campaign over easily as I have researched both up until a week ago. My ethical and philosophical research and readings including Godard, Eisenstein Bourdieu etc all fit very closely into the context of the piece.
And finally I am desperate to make! I need to engage all of the other work in the process itself, It involves a lot of new ground for me working with a professional actor shooting with a new crew and technologies, essentially experimenting with new filmic ideas and elements.
Phew! I hope you made it this far Kim! My apologies if this all feels a bit long winded, I just felt so energised when I realised that this I what I need to do!
Let me know what you think I will also contact Rachael and try to sort out a tutorial with her asap.
Thanks for your time and patience.
It Is difficult when approaching this subject to fully escape the shadow of early Freudian theory and how it has coloured much of modern film theory as well as psychology. It is of course not all negative and I do not wish to enter back into the Freudian debate here and at this time. I feel it important to state that my position on modern psychology, Much of this problem lies not with the goals but with the basis of the knowledge structures that forearm and inform them.
I have written before about the danger of hierarchal structure in the imposition of Knowledge and its following power, Delueze and Guattari do a much finer job of arguing this case for me in Anti-Oedipus
Still I promised myself that this is neither the time or the place to open the entirety of this debate, just perhaps to hint at a dissent in the ranks. Cognitivism a blending of psychology and philosophy, appears at least on the surface to offer a more balance and open view of the study of the mind. But, and this is a big but, if we are already down a path in a distinct direction from where we began, does making annotations to the map we hold really offer an alternative route?
A confusing and colourful analogy perhaps but my point about all knowledge is the moment we accept it as such we should be prepared to about turn 360 and reject it in an instant. It may not always be the best correct or even sensible or logical thing to do, but if we are at least willing to consider this rash action, It can help ward off the the ever present danger of knowledge being incorrectly presented as fact.
So how does all this relate to emotions? Well putting aside emotional theory in films for a moment and looking purely at our knowledge of what and how emotions work, we see rather a cloudy picture even in cognitive sciences, Nuero science offers chemical sites receptors and transmitters, it can tell us in a technical or biological sense whats happening, Is this sufficient for us to understand emotions?
I would argue that it is not, it is a where, with a touch of how, it lacks context, and even if we reintroduce concepts of the why and pretend that there is such a thing as truly objective knowledge, we still fall short of a universal understanding of and even definition of emotion.
The reason is simple we have removed the experience from the equation, and treated like mere noise or static, we have denied the experiencer there individuality, and rendered the subject and study as a one way process of viewing.
This Is what I believe plagues our understanding and treatment of mental health or wellbeing to use another term, it is good to look to study, to remove yourself from a situation and try to view a problem from dispassionate and rigorous angles. but this process ultimately leads to looking deeper and deeper, breaking things down smaller and smaller, from cells to neurones to atoms, and what we ultimately learn about the whole, is nothing.
In the study of film emotion a series of systems have been identified, how we trigger emotion, a structure is pulled out and transposed, our supposedly passive viewers now appear almost like lab rats being experimented on with our tools of emotive manipulation.
But and we know this is true there are other ways to present ideas in film, other ways to connect with an audience, these as Andrei Tarkovsky proposed are attempting a democracy in the image, an attempt to stay true as a maker and honour the Audience with an invitation, not a series of demands, or hidden agendas, but a clear invitation to find and perceive of the language and ideas as they must.
If we design a film to illicit a certain response we are leading an audience on, being dishonest with them and with ourselves. As a film maker I believe we have, as with the other arts an opportunity to describe and communicate complex ideas and emotions, but these are structured merely for the audience! They are the process, aims, the integrity and the necessity of the work itself.
In other words too much thought about the potential audience is dangerous as a film maker, it limits both imagination, freedom and scope for genuine voice and therefore real connection. Don’t try to please all the people! A balance has to be sought and found fro every artist or maker.
So to flip over to another view how do we impart as film makers our ideas of what emotion is in a film? do we follow structures laid out by others? A swelling score or sad sad piano sonata?
I am trying to suggest that as a maker our needs are to present our vision, to present what we see, feel, understand, some of this may appear to others as universal, some of it may not. but the minute we incorporate viewers opinions and needs widely into the design of the film we lose our ability to call ourselves film artists, and at worst we become entertainers chugging out standards on a broken tired piano.
So if It is all so narcissistically about the maker in terms of emotion where does this leave our audience? In my opinion It leaves them treated as individuals capable of making up there own minds, (I am sure there will remain many people queuing up to hear that broken piano)
But that is OK because some will be looking for something different.
What this amounts to is the acceptance as a maker that the films that we make, only become films when they are watched and perceived by others, that there will be as may films as there are audience members, because it is in this perceptual space enigmatically described as cinema, the magical void between screen and spectator our films can truly live.
This relationship between viewer and maker is of absolute importance, it is here we see parallels with therapy and modern mental health. A relationship that begins with an assumption I am the bearer of knowledge, I summon you to me, and so on, of course the good therapist listens to there subject, but they can not help but make judgements before a word is even spoken, by setting up a system of care giving, expertise we create an unhealthy power structure that assumes a lot, we replace the individual and there experience with concepts and ideologies, and we fail quite miserably a great deal of the time to hear anything, despite the idea that we reinforce that we are listening.
My ideas for film process therapy, I hope are designed to circumnavigate this process, by avoiding the assumption that I or any one else can properly understand a persons emotions mental state or truly what they are experiencing.
It removes the hegemony of psychotherapy by creating a loose structure for the person themselves to use as a tool fro there own self discovery.
Film process therapy is I hope chiefly concerned with (to take back a dreadfully misused management word) ‘facilitation’ of positive change chosen by instigated by and carried out by the person involved. It does not assume any foreknowledge of mental health or psychology, it does not require an understanding of the arts or film, It above all else is not a programme that leads a person on a given journey or makes any guarantees or promises.
Film process theory is not about an object or an outcome, it demands no audience or goal or agenda.
Simply it is to make, to involve oneself in a process in of itself.
Deleuze, G., Guattari, F., Foucault, M., Lane, H.R. and Hurley, R. (1983) Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. 6th edn. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
I felt that the film was weakened by a linear chapter structure which used a repeated vehicle of tension build and break to stylistic violence. Which I felt caused a thematic disconnect and repeated over the course of the film weakens it’s potential to have any real impact or hold us as an audience.
Individual scenes that cultivate a magnetic power and build of tension are traded In cheaply, breaking our connection to narrative, character, and overall emotional investment, leaving us as an audience feeling like we have had our pocket picked,
The Possible attempts by the director to draw parallels with modern neo-colonial American attitude to foreign policy and a continued use of oppression and violence are also diluted by the structural problems, as is the central conceit that of; cinema as a means of moral compass or corruptor, making us complicit through our pleasure at sanctioned and morally justifiable violence.
If indeed these where his intentions, I wished to illustrate that like a Russian doll his chief vehicle of tension release, offers us an ever diminishing return that is both empty in content and hollow in voice.
But It didn’t come out like that!!
With this presentation I was unable to attend as I had to undergo dental surgery. which left me a little confused and annoyed at how I could deliver my findings. It has possibly worked out in my favour. I felt a need to not only be concise within the 5 minutes but also cover the ground that I had I felt unearthed. by using the format of video It allowed me to of course do two things, cut imagery in from the film and try to convey some of my concepts and ideas through the use of this format. I decide not to cheat and cut my best bits! From the 15 takes I did! And keep working toward a single presentation unbroken at least in sound delivery. And this was a struggle I am not known for my concise delivery! What I realised was that of course as someone who works in moving image, that I could use the source text (dil) to try and show as well as tell some of the ideas, to speed up delivery. Also it was fun because I knew early on that the ideas of complicity that perhaps Trrantino was working with in this film could also be a tiny part of the presentation. So I hope some of this is at least partially evident, by simply putting words together with images and sound we can of course create associations, and reactions in an audience, some films are made to spoon feed and to control the audience, this presentation starts with a jocular version of this, “eyes front” Pay attention here comes some propaganda! I also wanted to show that re-appropration of images can then change there context and therefore meaning again. so it is a journey shared by the viewer and the audience, and one built to a certain extent on expectations and trust. Leaving hitler with the last word was a risky decision and actually one I deliberated over. It came from a desire to include ideas I had had to leave out of the presentation, these revolved around the idea of certain subjects being ring fenced morally in their dramatic treatment. There appears to be an implication when looking at these horrific events from a historical perspective that all portrayals should be of a very serious nature, I think that this may bring its own problems too, when we allow a truly open approach to how we deal with these horrors we may remember that satire remains a very powerful tool of dissemination. Two great examples of the power of satire, are the Great Dictator (1940) by Charlie Chaplin, and Dr Strange Love (1964) by Stanley Kubrick, both films offer a powerful critique of the horror of War genocide and the ability of humankind to transgress in maniacal and terrible acts. Perhaps as we move further from historical events the temptation is to enshrine them in certain thematic treatments and readings. We may feel unqualified to comment, on a time passed, but to learn from history to make use of its power for positive means, surely this should encompass a wider and more open approach. Hitler is given the last word, yes, but to show two things: how easily images put together can be given new context, (we can be easily lead) and how by not allowing these figures to maintain there power we can break the spell of fear that they have over us even from a historical standpoint. essentially we should remember those who suffered with awe and respect, and at every opportunity deride the perpetrators and seek to pull any remaining teeth they might have.