A welcome return to the studio today, another half weekend, but this time a mix of editing and making today which makes a nice change. First I can now share the last of my documentation from last Sunday. Now due to the length of the video I have refined it to just the slow motion speed that I believe is most effective. Any further tests or final pieces would potentially be at this speed of 25%, any slower and you just lose that feeling of shock to just waiting for impact and leaning towards Peckinpah which I don’t want.
The second test video was more of an indulgence piece, which dis allow me to use the camera to explore both videos as they projected onto the model miniature. It’s a bit jerky in places but you get an more of an exploration around the model. Again its only at 25% slow motion again.
I carried on the day making a start on a new and larger model miniature of the same saloon, hoping to see how the images would look blown up. It will essentially be the same piece but almost twice as big. Using what cardboard I have, I’ve had to be creative, which always add another aesthetic to the model. I’ve already used strips of card to join larges pieces together, gum-tape will be used to reinforced and cover joins over. This will ultimately take longer to make die to the size, but shorter in a sense as I am just scaling up. I know how it looks so it will be pretty straight forward until I get get the paint out. I can’t share any images today as it’s not really in any shape to show anything. My instagram post in below though
The next stage is to just pull it all together, make and paint before projecting again.
A really quick post after a long day of waiting for my technical upgrade, now I have an younger computer to make my work from, which is already helping immensely. I’ve been able to put together the documentation with real ease, I feel I’ve been brought forward in tech time. Anyway enough boasting and down to todays test video, which has been put very quickly together, (please ignore the background noise) during the playback.
If you look at the second play as they violence’s slowed down to 25% its more effective, it’s not too brief and not overly long and too exaggerated to the point where you would pass on the piece. I’m glad I documented it from different angles, it really does work in places, distorted in others, just how I found with past tests. I hope the same can be said in the next test which I’ll share with you next time.
The main aim of this weekend was to see how the latest test videos would look when projected onto the model miniature of my saloon. As I have been saying for weeks now. With copies of the videos ready to be run through the projector, I started to set up the kit, tweaking it before documenting got underway.
I found at first that Japanese footage was far more effective, even more so when it the action continues to slow down. It didn’t matter which footage was playing, the original Unforgiven or the remake onto the saloon which shows how I could potentially project any saloon footage onto here. Anyway I played each test a number of times to allow me to record it from a few angles.
Just looking at these still I can see how I could build a larger version of this model and just increase the effect. There were places where the images doesn’t fall onto the model miniature. I could see how it works from a few angles, distorting the image enough that it doesn’t destroy it. I could be building a larger model in the future if I choose to go ahead with this footage. The effect is something I want to really pursue. I’m yet to edit together today’s documentation, which I will share with you as and when they are completed.
I can’t remember the last time I spent some real time with this work which I’ve been working loosely with since the summer. Today I’ve spent some good time in the studio playing with my lights and projector, directing them onto the white models I made in the summer. I’ve finally been able to do what I set out to all those months ago. It was rather satisfying to see these ideas take form, if they worked or didn’t was another thing, to actually follow through on a thought that had been there for a long time means I’m happier for it.
So it was all about colour to begin win, wanting to shine block colour, taking the phrase almost literally – painting the town red – with light. I found that the red was coming out more pink, turning to less obvious colours such as green and blue, before finishing with orange. Photographically the results aren’t the best. I found myself returning to earlier work, which is not where I want to be heading, I need to move away from the literal yet atmospheric.
Moving onto another idea I had was to project video onto these essentially blank canvases which meant getting the projector out and finding clips of Westerns I have, seeing what work. Not really choosing anything in particular I went for the rollerskating scene from Heaven’s Gate (1980) which pushed me to consider how to really use the projector and the model, which with every consecutive scene grew ans grew. With this scene it was more about how can I cove the whole or the majority of the model.
It was nice to see how the image consumed the model, becoming an outdoor cinema, projecting its image against a saloon. The image come up well on the model, it will ultimately vary depending on the model being projected onto. I moved onto a scene from The Searchers (1956) which was more of the same. I went to another scene from the film, this time bringing another model, meaning that the projector had to move back to accommodate them both.
What happened here was that the images took on a status of being bigger, yet still very much part of the same world. When I saw the landscape against the more urban models, this is something I wanted to explore, the background being part of these models in the foreground. Pushing it further with the final gunfight in True Grit (1969) which had wide open spaces to take advantage of.
This particular scene worked more so because of the action, the cinematic presentation of the scene, these gigantic god-like being behind the models. I also moved all four of the models in front of the projector, experimenting with layout, creating shadows, which ultimately don’t really matter as the image is still caught on the models in front, the light becomes sculptural. I carried the god-like status through to the next scene – the family massacre in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) which I was very pleased with, partly down to the close-ups.
For the last set-up I positioned the models into a more conventional street set-up, with a gunfight from A Few Dollars More (1965) which drew me to my final thoughts of the day, linking nicely to the original inspiration of the Marquis in Melton – Street violence, or that of gunfights in the genre. I’d like to see how more models and more gunfight scenes work with this set-up. I still want to see how the cowboy figures work in terms of shadows they produce.
So as you can see I have been very busy and had lots of fun, immersed in the Western. To me this piece is about the violence that is created/depicted in the genre, this is where I maybe leading this piece going forward.
I have to admit I’ve taken the eye off the ball when it come to Painting the Town… which is stuck in hiatus at the moment whilst the animation is into full post-production. However I have found some work part of New Mills Festival (2016), part of the Big Weekend Mark R. Binks has an inspirational piece in the Torr Mill which I had to check out to see how it was set-up, informing my work still very much in development.
Horizon is a light based piece that relies of the public to work, they are invited to make a paper pyramid, all from an A4 piece of paper that are held together by a single paperclip. The placed among a growing collection of pieces that are placed in-front of two projectors. So I have an idea of how the art engages with the public and the construction of the work. Binks is using two DLP projectors, whilst I have a single LED projector. Both are very different, whilst I am also considering projecting video and not just colour onto my models.
I got a chance to meet Mark, who told me what was next for this work, it was exciting to hear what he wants to take the work, elevating it to something really special. I came away from the work with an idea of how to set up the work, whilst I hadn’t considered the public element to his work which makes it unique wherever it’s shown, the public truly shape and define it. After hearing from Mark this piece has a lot more mileage to go further, I can’t wait to see where it leads him, more projectors, more input from the public, here more is better.