Anomalisa, The Revenant and Gone Home
Today I’m returning to London, taking the short journey from one place to another place. I’m looking forward to being in that space again, a space where I feel motivated to do things and make things. Although I have gained what I wanted from the holidays; watching films, reading books and seeing people that I haven’t seen for many months, it felt different. It felt like I had changed but the places hadn’t. This is, of course, a very obvious observation. But it’s still worth contemplating, or at the very least noting for further reflection.
In the last few weeks I’ve been writing my essay, which I completed many days ago now. I decided to write about the Jon Rafman exhibition, easily the most influential exhibition for me during the course of my first term, so it was an obvious choice. I talked about how the spectator’s relationship with the exhibition changes as they move through it, as Rafman teaches them to forget about the ‘traditional’ ways to navigate through an art gallery. This is a small excerpt:
The exhibition as a whole requires a pedagogical relationship with the viewer, teaching them to interact with the installations and throw away the preconceptions that they may have about installation art, relational work or just art work in general. As you enter the exhibition space, you’re immediately confronted by a ‘facilitator’ who enquires whether or not you have visited the space before whilst informing you of the interactive nature of the works. This notifies the spectator that they will have to become a participant to immerse themselves within the work and get the most out of the exhibition. This also forces social pressures onto the viewer, making sure that they understand that they will have to be ‘part of’ the work to actually look at the work.
For the rest of the time I’ve been reading a variety of books (from The Emancipated Spectator to Artificial Hells) in order to learn more about relational art. This has been tough, as the writing is incredibly hard to understand, but as I read more I slowly began to understand and gain an inkling of what was being said.
I’ve also been watching a huge amount of films. Over this holiday period I think I’ve watched 55 films, which is both distressing and incredibly indulging. The ones I watched this week include; Anomalisa, My Neighbor Totoro, They live, The Revenant, Love & Mercy, The Big Short, Back to the Future 2, Carol, Bridge of Spies, Song of the Sea, Princess Mononoke, Akira, Trumbo, The Good Dinosaur, Legend, The Danish Girl, In the Heart of the Sea, Nausica of the Valley of the Wind, American Sniper, Sisters, 45 Years, Spotlight, Lucy, Youth, Knights of Cups and The Diary of a Teenage Girl.
The stand outs this week are Anomalisa, which is Charlie Kaufman’s newest reality twisting journey into his soul. The animation was quite impressive alongside the general ‘weirdness’ of the whole thing. All of the Hayao Miyazaki films were incredibly beautiful. Previously I’ve seen Spirited Away and a few others, but I’ve never properly worked my way through his whole catalogue, which I intend to do over the next few weeks when I have time. Song of the Sea was also captivating and reminded me a lot of Miyazaki’s films, and was the ‘push’ that made me look back at his filmography. The sheer beauty of the story and voice acting had me on the verge of tears. The Revenant was quite astounding, visually and DiCaprio’s acting was very impressive. Within They Live the famous fight scene was hilarious, alongside the worryingly all too real point in the film when Roddy Piper puts on the glasses for the first time. The Danish Girl was well acted, the chemistry between Vikander and Redmayne was captivating, and the story heart-breaking. Youth was also amazing, reflecting on life and how best to use it, etc. Like a lot of the films I’ve been watching recently.
I’ve been thinking a little bit about my artwork, and without the essay being a weight on my shoulders I began to think of what I want to create this term. I still like the idea of the Zooks, and want to continue down that path, making the Zooks trapped individuals, being viewed by other Zooks in other trapped spaces. I’m thinking about making a film, with a variety of different Zooks being weighed down by the big blue block, slowly pulsating and overwhelming different ones as the video continues. These individuals would be being watched on different electronic based devices, phones, laptops, tablets, etc. All by Zooks, trapped in boxes, slowly being suffocated themselves by this ever growing cube, gnawing at their individuality and effectiveness to fight other Zooks. The fighting of the Zooks would also be shown somewhere in the video, being viewed by their. Throughout this there would be quotes being spoken, all taken from different TV shows and films, and centred on the idea of life and the monotony of the whole thing. I intend to start creating this as soon as possible.
As well as this I played the video game Gone Home. Which was definitely an experience. It begins with you, the player, on the doorstep of your family home. The basic gameplay is made up of you exploring this large empty house, learning about its residence and what their lives entail by picking up everything that’s not nailed down. As you unravel this complex narrative the pieces slowly fall into place, and multiple revelations occur. I found it to be truly moving and really captured the mid-90s feel.
The term officially starts tomorrow with the submission of the essay along with a lecture, informing us of what’s to come during the next few month. I look forward to getting back to work, visiting galleries and experiencing what it’s like to live in a city again.