I’ve begun to properly plan out the content of the video I’m going to present as part of my final installation. Having been stuck for some time on how to adequately create a narrative framework and hang the practical logistical details of having a number of different artists and productions on this, I’ve began working backwards; Using reference images I worked out a number of formats, scenarios, media, etc. I wanted to use and identified 11 different sequences that I was interested in pursuing. Assigning a different performer/actor/vocalist/etc. to each of these formats, I’m going to allow what, combined, will be 11 separate vignettes, to develop organically and apply a loose narrative thread to these as the process builds.
The 11 vignettes I’ve identified as wanting to pursue play with both narrative, documentary, a mix of both, and some totally removed abstract experimental video methods, and I’ve organised as below with a rough narrative structure, overall aesthetic and technical approach for each:
Vignette 1 – IWBYD
Possibly opening with some establishing footage of close-ups of brutalist architecture and an oblique reference to a dystopian-style landscape (without actually using and wide location shots) to give a sense of space, this vignette will otherwise entirely take place in a small, dark, garage-like space. It will also be entirely shot from two static angles – a front angle that’s very clearly a laptop camera in photobooth, and a side angle of a mini DV camera on a tripod (possibly in shot of the first frame), and possibly using the camera’s night vision setting for this part.
The scene will involve me, in the shadowy setting, singing (possibly into a microphone to make use of the actual vocal) a screaming cover of The Stooges’ I Wanna Be Your Dog over a pulsating, industrial backing track I’ll have pre-produced using a simple repetition of the track’s three main chords. As the track builds so will the intensity of both the music, and the vocal aggression and action. The room will be lit only by the light of the laptop, which may, as the song builds to an appropriate moment, switch to a YouTube strobe video.
Vignette 2 – VO
Opening with a shot entering an, again, brutalist-in-style building, but this time more residential-seeming, this vignette will take place in a minimal but reasonably conventional-looking domestic setting. Voiceover will begin to tell a story as a sweeping single shot enters the space, which is then intercut with static shots of details around the room – idiosyncratic but laden with symbolism – until we see the back of a male figure’s head lying in bed. He gets up and goes about a conventional morning routine as the Voiceover ends and a cover song begins to play as background music to the scene.
Vignette 3 – CAR
Opening with maybe two alternate shots giving context – probably a shot through a car wing mirror and another through the back of the same car as it drives through a rural landscape – this entire vignette will take place in a single shot looking straight on at a female character as she drives a car (using a camera strapped to the bonnet of a car).
The vignette will see the character drive and sing along to the radio – a well-known song but an odd version that leaves the performance resting somewhere between a sing-a-long and an actual track – which is then interrupted by a phone ringing. The character at this point pulls to the side of what we’ve so far ascertained as a winding country road through the out-of-focus background and reflections on the windshield, turns off the radio, answers the phone to what ends up being a heated discussion. This device will allow for the next part of the story to be communicated.
Vignette 4 – GIG
Beginning with both camera and phone footage of an actual gig – the vocalist’s real show in which his cover song for this project is planted at the end of the show – the character, with the sound of a band behind, violently performs, writhing on the floor, and reaching a maniacal state as the song climaxes. As the song ends a single tracking shot will follow the character off a stage and into a back room where a scripted, heated and wordy exchange will unfold – again, here allowing the next part of the story to be conveyed.
Vignette 5 – SEX
The climax of the story, a euphoric high before an inevitable crash, will culminate here in a provocative, sensual exchange – possibly a group. Shot in close up high definition, the intention here will be to present a documentation of a real sexual exchange, but captured and presented in a cinematic spectacle – blurring the line between reality and fiction. The graphic sexual nature of the footage will be unmistakably real, but its presentation make it seem less real, less intimate and more part of the narrative.
Vignette 6 – SYMBOLS
The biggest production out of all 11 vignettes, this will involve opening with a number of wide shots of monumental industrial and brutalist landscapes – for example, the Thames Barrier and Southmere Estate, Thamesmead – to give a wider
Vignette 7 – SET
Vignette 8 – URL
Working between London and Hamburg, where vocalist and producer DVDV who will star in this vignette is based, will inform the approach to this. Either the music she creates is used without her being physically present in the video, or the limited communication – and methods of that communication – could lead the presentation, creating visuals from a mix of screen recorded Skype calls, shared images, etc.
Vignette 9 – AIR
A paired back visual diary-type approach that presents nothing more than a series of shots of natural forms for Music, and possibly Voiceover, to back. This could include some more monumental landscapes that touch on the earlier openings, but this would essentially be devoid of narrative and more contemplative – a moment of pause in what may otherwise end up being quite a turbulent rollacoaster of chaotic peaks and intense dramatic calms.
Vignette 10 – CGI
For this I wanted to play with the blurred line between narrative and fiction and Ideas around the familiar that dominate a lot of my thinking for this and other projects, and extend it to something more literal and physical. I hope to create abstract visuals that present a series of ambiguous forms, textures that could easily be computer generated or live footage: the surface of water, black latex, etc.shot at extremely close range, and computer generated forms that mimic this. I also hope to inject here references to symbolic images from other parts of the project, perhaps by the emergence of a symbolic form from water, which, lamp lit, shot at an extremely allowed down rate and close up, might easily be mistaken for computer generated, or visa Versa.
Vignette 11 – CHAT
Here, in perhaps the most different and perhaps seemingly out of place, I wanted to present a static chat show type set up. A number of fixed camera angles in a set-designed studio set up will follow an over the top – but fairly empty in terms of actual dialogue – exchange between a central figure and an interviewer, possibly with the inclusion of canned laughter.
Twin Peaks – Fire Walk With Me (1992) | Pers: Sheryl Lee, Kyle Maclachlan, David Lynch, Kyle Maclachlan | Dir: David Lynch | Ref: TWI023AA | Photo Credit: [ The Kobal Collection / Lynch-Frost/Ciby 2000 ] | Editorial use only related to cinema, television and personalities. Not for cover use, advertising or fictional works without specific prior agreement
Though I’m still not sure whether I’ll go ahead with this, this is for a potential 12th vignette that takes place only in live performance.