Forum Live 11/7/21

a demo of assignment 2 – post written in early july, but posted in late august

At Clive White’s last FL (as others have said, he will be missed) I took advantage of there being room in the agenda to demo assignment 2 by running the basic output of the code I’d written (adapted from the scrolling gallery I’d developed during the collaborative bit of the Keeping Up Momentum session on Collaboration/Contamination. It was still pretty mute (I’d recorded atmos and bike f/x that morning but haven’t had the time to edit them yet, let alone track them to the pictures) and I hadn’t cleared the grid I’d created to allow me to adjust the timings of the various captions  running over the images.

I asked two questions:

  • Did the animation of the images create an understandable narrative?
  • What did people like (or dislike) about the images?

I also screen-shared  a quickly thrown together version of the cyanotype map of my journey, (digitally) collaged with scans of Instax printed photographs taken with my phone, explaining that this would act as an index for the assignment, but this wasn’t the focus of their response.

fig.1: zoom attendees watch my screen-share

The first piece of feedback came as they watched my screen share (fig.1). I could see their faces as they concentrated on the screen and a laugh or two – at the ‘you didn’t notice when the path recrossed the river’ caption – suggested enjoyment on their part.

This was backed up by the active feedback that followed:

  • The video works as a narrative.
  • The variety of frame-sizes and formats (film/digital/b&w/colour) is a good thing, providing it is considered. (I haven’t finished working out exactly what is prompting my choices of which to use in each instance yet, but it is!)
  • Clive made a particularly interesting point – that the presence of my calibration grid combined with the sense of the images passing without – quite – the time to register what was there, made him think of I had Blow Up (Antonioni, 1965). I had intended to remove my grid from the final version, but now I’m less sure. Let’s see. I’ll run an output video with it on and another with it off…
  • Rather than framing to exclude the pylons – viewed as a very ‘Camera Club’ sort of activity, by Kate – leaving them in is a good thing. Which is good, as electricity’s journey is as central to this assignment as my own journey on a bike in the opposite direction.
  • The pairing of the two images of some industrial buildings and  the pylons on the opposite side of the canal, linked by the repetition of a particular bush (fig.2) was picked out as being particularly effective.
fig.2 – between the reservoirs and the Lee (image 6/11)
  • Zoe wondered what ‘the source’ I had reached was; ‘the source of London’s power’ – both literally and metaphorically as the canal and the pylons channel into NE London and then the docks at Limehouse – I said. The title – Against the Current – is probably not enough, even when it is present on an opening caption card, before the sequence of images begins. I need to start working on my 100-word contextualisation, now.
  • Alan – who has experience of power generation sites – commented on the strange buzzy atmosphere (both in terms of the physical sensation and of the audible background hum) you get there. The huge substation at the end of the sequence (where power lines from four generation sites combine and then are distributed over the national grid – the ‘source’) is the one distinct place where I haven’t recorded an atmos track yet. I need to get up there and get one before I finalise the sequence.

So: stuff to think about and conformation that I’m on the right track here. A good feedback session. Thanks all! (And thanks for letting me use my screenshot of your faces on zoom).

  • Blowup (1966) Directed by Antonioni, M. [Film] Los Angeles: MGM

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