Untitled [Floor Pole]

While I had the room to myself, I decided to video myself from a very traditional position. I used a tripod and camera pointing at the pole in order to video myself from this new angle, as previously I had only used the Go Pro and camera from above. I captured footage each time I was on the pole, and I quickly found that I repeated the same moves time and time again. A part of me thinks that this is because I was more comfortable doing these moves, however another part of me knows that I simply could not remember more moves.


The first edit I did included the breathing from Pole GoPro Experiments, which was exaggerated and showed the physical exertion that I take each time I go on the pole. Although I enjoyed this version, I felt that it wasn’t enough and that I had simply taken the concept of doing pole in a gym and put it in an art studio. This was not linked to the feminist and male gaze themes that I was looking into for my performance. This lead me to create a longer version of this, by spreading out the clips from each other. This makes the video long, with plenty of black spaces, however I am looking at displaying all three videos at once, and I don’t want all the videos to be quick. The length of the videos will also allow me to perform on the pole while these are playing.


The last edit I did included the Spoken Poem I created for the performance. This final edit I preferred because of its longer length and because the meaning is more prominent within it. I was a little annoyed, however, at the angle of the camera as you could see the wall plugs, wooden baton on the ceiling and the light. On the other hand, it was even more difficult to find an appropriate place for the camera, as this was the best place in such a small room.

Spoken Poem

As part of the video and performance work, I wanted to look more into making the experience somewhat uncomfortable and more emotional for the audience. I thought that music wouldn’t have the same effects as words, and decided upon creating a small script or poem to speak out over the speakers in the performance. I have also added these to the later versions of the Untitled Collection.
Some of the phrases I used from the ‘top 50 most empowering feminist quotes of all time’ (Stylist.Co.Uk) and after little Googling, Barack Obama even had something positive to say about feminism (Independent.co.uk). I decided upon the quotes that I felt had most meaning and power behind them including;
“Value yourself for what the media doesn’t – your intelligence, your street smarts, your ability to play a kick-ass game of pool, whatever. So long as it’s not just valuing yourself for your ability to look hot in a bikini and be available to men, it’s an improvement.” (Jessica Valenti)
“There is no female mind. The brain is not an organ of sex. Might as well speak of a female liver.” (Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

Look at me.
We are all women. Or at least we begin that way.
So why is it that we are not all treated the same?
Look at me.
What I said. Does that make me a feminist? A woman? Or just human?
“Feminism is not a dirty word. It does not mean you hate men, it does not mean you hate girls that have nice legs and a tan, and it does not mean you are a ‘bitch’ or ‘dyke’.” (Kate Nash)
Look at me.
“A life without femininity – devoid of mystery, emotion, gentleness and the unerring power of a woman’s love – is no life at all.” (Antonella Gambotto-Burke)
Strength and beauty. Not just a body.
Look at me.
Value yourself for what the media doesn’t – your intelligence, your street smarts. If it’s not valuing yourself for the ability to look hot in a bikini and your availability to men, it’s an improvement.
Power and control. We changed history 100 years ago. So why can’t we do so today?
Look at me.
“Progress is not inevitable. It’s the result of decades of slow, tireless, often frustrating and unheralded work.” (Barack Obama)
Some may hope that we never get there, but they don’t know our strengths.
Look at me.
Do you see me as a body? As a figure on a pole?
Or do you see me for a woman, playing to my strengths?
Look at me.
You tell me we are equal, but I am looking down on you.
You tell me we are equal, but you couldn’t do this.
Look at me.
Because I am looking at you.

 

Green Screen Workshop

In our Green Screen workshop we were taught the basics of how green screen works, and the use of Premiere Pro in order to change the backgrounds. The backgrounds can also be changed through a live feed, like we were using in the session.
Green screens actually used to be blue, but it was found that green is better for technical reasons and the fact that people often don’t wear that kind of green, nor there are many people with green eyes. It has been found, however, that blonde hair and a green background can be a little bit awkward as the blonde can pick up some green. To light it, you can for example use 4 lights at the front, 2 at the side and one at the back. Lighting like this makes people pop out a bit more with depth.
The technology behind the green (or blue) is chromakey. You can substitute this colour for a background, nothing (which appears as black), or to white out a room.
There are some quick tips and tricks that we also found out during this session including not to stand too close the the screen as you will pick up a green tinge. The trick is to light the wall, put the person the same distance as their height away from the wall and then light them too. If you light the two different spots then there’s no green spill.
This is also helped by the material used as it is a high reflectivity and a high saturation material or paint. A polyester material is also better than cotton  as this doesn’t crinkle or crease. This is useful when trying to make the background as tight as possible, and this is normally done using weights (or a filled water container). If it is a cloudless day you can even use the sky as your background – as long this is even lighting.
With live chromakey, the green screen needs to fill the whole image. In post production, you just need enough green around the person and then you can fill everything else in green. Wen filming someone in a black room, you light the person and not the room in order for them to pop out. Again, you can alter this in post production.
Other tips and tricks that we learned also included the infinity curve. This is where the fabric curves before it hits the floor, meaning there aren’t as many lighting issues with the LED soft flood lights. With photographs as well, it is better to put the backgrounds slightly out of focus because if it is in focus all the way, it looks fake.
Overall, we had lots of fun and I really enjoyed learning about the technology behind green screen. I am unsure as to how I may use it in my projects, however I feel as though it could be a possibility.

The Male Gaze and Voyeurism

The male gaze can be seen through paintings, pornography, cinema and even in day-to-day life. It is often created by women appearing beautiful, made for pleasure. Film teaches us how to see and how to desire, and those such as Laura Mulvey wish to destroy the idea of beauty that films represent.
Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan believed there was a connection between artist, artwork and psychoanalyst with all three working from the subconscious. Artists, artworks and analysts try to make use of the creative potential of the subconscious. This reveals hidden meanings, forces and secrets of the ego and the mirror phase.
This links closely into voyeurism where voyeurs;

  • are perverts,
  • take pleasure in looking without permission,
  • take pleasure in looking from a safe distance,
  • objectify what they look at,
  • do not treat people as real active subjects but as fantasy images and things to consume,
  • voyeurism is often sexually motivated.

There is no view from nowhere, that looking is a choice, a desire. Art works this way too. In the film Rear Window,  it highlights that the world is for men, and not for women, and they are able to look at anything [including through people’s windows] without being challenged. In nude paintings, women are often stripped of their identity and reduced to their erogenous zones, which are clean shaven and beautifully presented. The pubic hair would not make her the ideal woman.
When switching roles and imagining the female gaze, it is laughable and not serious. Even in artwork, people avoid these in galleries, or avoid them all together because it is ‘unnatural’ for women to return the gaze that men created.
I wish to look at the male gaze through my work, looking at whether it is still appropriate now, in the 21st centry, and whether the female gaze can catch on. I would like to try returning the gaze through my work, to show that women can be serious about this, and that it is no longer a laughing matter.

Waves of Feminism

The three waves of feminism were first introduced to me in an art lecture about polymorphous perverts and voyeurs, along with the male gaze.
The first wave of feminism, and where it all began, was with the Suffragettes. These were women who were predominantely over the age of 30, in the upper- and midde-class, with an education. In 1918 they gained the vote.
The second wave of feminism was in the 60’s and 70’s, where society is believed to be run on behalf of men, and women are second in the chain. ‘The Second Sex’ by Simone De’Beauvoir highlighted this – “one is not born a woman, rather one becomes a woman”. Within the second wave, there is also a belief that there is a difference between sex and gender. The concept of woman is socially constructed in a mans world and even with gifts, our genders are constructed. Even now, men and women fall in his construct and abide by it.
The second wave of feminism is also very radical with some women arguing for women-only groups, and that all men are rapists. Often in this wave, there would be a rewriting and reconstruction of what it means to be a woman. It was also believes that men who had transitioned into a woman should not have the same rights because they got there without the fight.
The third wave, which is where we are now, is less essentialist and takes into account the intersection of gender, class and ethnicity. The third wave of feminism also integrates other voices.

Valie Export

Valie Export created and constructed her own identity through a cigarette packet. This is due to her previous name and it’s ties to her life. The surname is patriarchal in a sense that you take away a part of you identity. This can be done willingly, such as in marriage, or given to you, such as at birth.
Export believed that the women’s social identity was created by men, so women should cause [good] trouble to change this, especially if you are a woman and if you are gay. Each of the performances that she carries out involves her body, often highlighting the fact that she is a woman, and these are the parts that she has.
She often reverses voyeurism and the male gaze through her work, as you have to look in the eye. This is especially seen in Tap and Touch Cinema and Action Pants, Genital Panic (1969). Both of these are very forward in their presentation, and you have to look Export in the eye when she performs these. The experience of these often seems uncomfortable, and unnatural, as it is not particularly normal to touch a woman’s breasts, while looking her in the eye in the middle of the street.
I want to bring this same sense of returning the male gaze and bringing something unexpected to my performances and videos.

Women’s Vote: 100 Years

Tuesday 6th February 2018 marked 100 years since women got the vote in the UK.

“The Representation of the People Act is passed on 6 February giving women the vote provided they are aged over 30 and either they, or their husband, meet a property qualification [in which they must be homeowners].” – Parliament.uk

In 1918 at the same time, the voting age for men was dropped from 30 to 21. The fight for equality was not over yet for the Suffragettes, who were predominantly middle-class white women. There were two groups of Suffragettes who all had the same goal, just different means of achieving them; those who used peaceful tactics and demonstrations, and those who executed hunger strikes and carries out arson and firebomb attacks, as well as smashing windows.
It was only in 1928, under the Equal Franchise Act, did women achieve equal voting rights in the UK. This increased the number of eligible female voters from 8 million to 15 million. This fight was reflected across the world, with the UK being one of the first of many countries to gain equal voting rights for women.
Other equality rights are still being fought for today, with women still being under-represented in Parliament. They make up 32% of the total 650 members of Parliament, even though more women are running now than ever before.

Anne Imhof

Anne Imhof creates an image that encompasses painting, installation art, sculpture, sound and performance that tend to span several hours. Her performances are complex and are suggested to be intimate studies in movement, gesture and action. These are mostly silent, creating a serene atmosphere. This silence also allows you to notice how important physicality is to each and every performance. “With a clever deconstruction of conventional dancing, taking common gestures, slowing them down and breaking them into component parts, she has an innovative way of viewing the human body” (Sleek).
She often relies upon her performers to bring their own feelings towards the performance, creating a spontaneous event. The performances are often encased in thick fog, mingling the performers from whom they were. Phones are often used in her works by both the spectators, but also the performers. In Angst II the performers got their instructions live through SMS from Imhof, creating a spontaneous performance. When performers disperse in this space, it is sometimes difficult to determine who is the performer and who is the spectator. The objects that are used in the performances are later displayed.

“Imhof punctuates the story of gestures borrowed from ordinary life, the same as those of the negotiation in Deal, which she presented in 2015 at New York’s MoMA PS1, and in which the performers shared the stage with giant rabbits (in Basel it was a falcon). She also punctuates it with built elements of striking sculptural quality which recall, in both their originality and their oneiric potential, the objects created by Matthew Barney to complement the action of his films.” – Numero

Adobe Illustrator and InDesign Workshop

Adobe Illustrator and InDesign were easier to learn compared to the earlier Adobe After Effects Workshop. I have previously used InDesign, in my Year 10 work experience at Hyland Edgar Driver Landscape Architects, and it is used for multi-page documents. For single page documents, Illustrator is used. [The images used in this post are not mine.]
Illustrator
As always, we need to make sure we start in a size that we intend to work in. Each time we create anything on Illustrator, it is an individual object. Unlike on many Microsoft Office software, on Illustrator you are able to bleed the project that you are working on, which makes it go all the way to the edge of the paper. You can also make your paper bigger than your project and cut it down afterwards.
Once you have created a shape, you can type of it by selecting the typing tool and selecting the path that you wish to type. This creates a worded outline. On Illustrator, it is all very simple tools, however it is just playing with it all in order to gain the best result. You can also create your own patterns  with a shape previously created. On Illustrator [and InDesign], the different layers means that you can print off different versions without having to print off a completely new project.
When saving, always keep the Illustrator file, but you can also save it as a PDF, JPEG or TIFF file format.

 

InDesign
Again, we need the file size to be the required document size. We can always add more, or take away pages while editing. If you’re putting a photo in the centre of the page on all pages, then you can make a master page and put guides in. You can put this master page on all pages, or specify which pages you want it on. To add the guides, you drag from the rulers at the top or on the left hand side of the screen.
The information palette on screen tells you how big your object is, and from here you can resize it to the appropriate size. To resize the image, however, you have to transform it numerically. If you drag the sizes in, you simply cut the image.
If you want to continue the text on through several text boxes, click on the red cross that is on the full text box. This links this text box to the next text box, showing the rest of the text. Through InDesign, you are also able to add Illustrator images.
For a final print view go through view then display and hit high quality. The programme saves memory by not having to calculate the display, but this does not affect the print quality. To save, export for PDF, but always save it as an InDesign document for later editing.

Adobe After Effects Workshop

After Effects (AE) is simply Photoshop for video. It can be more time consuming and clunky in terms of speed, especially when compared to Premiere, and so some projects are easier on Premiere Pro. This blog post will take you through some of the simple things that we learned in the After Effects Workshop, as part of Week 6 activities. I am personally unsure as to what I may use AE for, however I enjoyed learning about it in this session, especially for when I may need something else to edit video rather than Premiere.
The menu bar, such as on all Adobe software, is the same. We can set our preferences under the programme name [on Mac]. On AE, the composition is about the timelines, which is where we find the place to edit at the bottom. The composition needs to be set up for what you want from the beginning. If you are unsure, then it is easier to scale down but much harder to scale up.
Composition – New Composition – 1920 x 1080 for HD composition and set it to square pixels (730 x 576 with rectangular pixels for old standard definition TV’s) – PAL is 25 frames per second – in composition you can set how long we want the video to be.
The different footage clips themselves comes up as different colours in the timeline. They also come up on different lines, as each one can be individually and specially edited. To trim, it is the same as Premiere, but we cannot divide a clip into two separate sections. To do this, we have to have two different versions of the clips on different lines/layers.
To alter the clip, open the triangle for the layer and you can alter all of this here. It is all done through keyframing: give different value at one point and another value at another point e.g. slowly zoom towards the camera. Press the timer by scale, lighting it up making sure AE understands there will be a difference in value over time. This is how you animate things in after effects. If you want smooth transitions through this, you will need less keyframes. The more there are, the bumpier the transitions will be. You can add and copy a key frame to make a pause in the middle (and this applies to everything). The keyframe navigation tool will pin it to the next keyframe. It is ALL about keyframes! To fade in or out you have to use the opacity tool, rather than the pen tool like in Premiere.
When isolating parts go: layer – mask – new mask – use pen tool to add a whole bunch of points and move them to make a specific shape. The mask path is the shape of the mask. You would have to do this frame by frame to change it. Green screen can also be done this way, but it can also be used in Premiere. To edit green screen, go through effects and to keying.
Simple controls including frame forward and frame backward are page up and page down. To trim at a certain point, use the alt button and left bracket at the same time. Just to note: anything that happens at the same time on the different layers, can be seen at the same time. Also, everything that you edit on AE you can change over time with keyframes (it is still about keyframes)
Colour changes can be complicated if you want to change the whole piece. The simplest way of doing so is to nest – put a composition inside a composition (e.g. put composition 1 into composition 2). This is where you can then add effects and make colour changes to the video as a whole.
To do simple 3D animation, the z axis can be rotated, treating the flat layer as a 3D layer. To spin this over time, create a keyframe. You can also work with shapes, including several on one layer. To work with shapes individually, you must make a new shape layer.
Some things that we very briefly went over include; camera (where you can render from a cameras point of view from somewhere in the room looking at the clip), lights (it’s like turning a spotlight on it and you can achieve a night time effect with this. Can also do things like lens flare and control how big it is, where the centre it and how bright it is) and animation (e.g. slowing the zoom – under the keyframes you can do easy ease/ease in/ease out)
Unfortunately, the ore you ask the programme to do, the more memory it will take up. You can then reduce the number of pixels that you work with, which will not effect the pixels for encoding. AE also has a strange saving system, so it is just best to save as often as possible. To preview the work to determine how it will turn out, preview on the right hand side of the screen.
And finally, to export your final video: Composition – add to render queue – get another tab at the bottom which means that you can have a whole list of them to do all together – render settings [test for quality you can bring the quality down]. Under the output module you always use QuickTime – video codex use (font use animation) H.264. Limit Bitrate Settings to 30,000kps for under 4-5 minutes. Audio codec = AAC. Before hitting render, save it first!!
For more guides, the Adobe website has lots of help, and there are plenty of tutorials online. If you’re still confused, find a master of Adobe software!


Above is the short video that we created using found footage (credits to Rachel Glover for the clips).