Tuesday, June 9, 2015

"Memory Split" (Final Project) - Michael Hubbard

Allow me to say again that the title of this piece is not exactly an accurate description of the content itself. There is not necessary a split in memory occurring, by rather a recollection to an earlier moment filled with repressed emotions that is beginning facet a split in the person's psyche. The prompt for this assignment asked us to explore the degree at which belief can go, and Memory Split I beg the question of how far a person will allow past memory to cloud their emotions and engender a belief about themselves that may not be entirely accurate. Originally, this was meant to be a longer, more narratively-driven piece that would have curtailed an individual's experience with a high combined with his repressed feelings that originate from his rigid interactions with his family. The character would have seen images and heard smalls voices and cries suggesting he comes from a broken home and neglected childhood when he could be in fact over-exaggerating the reality of the situation and is in danger of twisting his perception of those close to him. The person would eventually see through the illusions and remind himself that he is not alone and that he still loved and cared about by his family.
Unfortunately, plans for that film did not pan out accordingly due to scheduling issues and time commitments from both volunteers of the project and myself. I did however continue rolling with the idea of a memory overriding an individual's mind and possibly altering his personality slightly. Thankfully, my good friend Ben Meunier continues to find time to sacrifice and be a good sport, I thank him for that, again.
De Certeau says that he, "...define[s] belief...as the subject's investment in a proposition...considering it as true," and that, "Little by little...," that belief can become, "...polluted..." (De Certeau 178-179). With the current cut of Memory Split, I would like to get across the idea that while the young man played by Ben is calm at first, he is still haunted by a repressed feeling that tends to lash out and distort his attitude, thus ending with him having moved to another location at night and beginning to smoke, a sign that I try to communicate as being an attempt to conceal and manage those feelings. He ultimately does not want to believe that he has weakness and tries to deny his apparent anger, whatever the reason may have been for causing it.
Memory Split (Class-Cut)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Response to Werner Herzog's "Stroszek"

While I have seen his popular 2009 crime drama film Bad Lieutenant: Call of Port New Orleans and recall his small, corny villainous role in 2012's Jack Reacher, I have been aware of but not entirely familiar with Werner Herzog's work, although his odd-ball style is unlike any other and certainly one of the most memorable of the less mainstream, but well-known filmmakers. After watching his earlier film Stroszek, I could tell it followed many beats similar to Bad Lieutenant, with a story about a strange, lonesome protagonist who finds companionship with a prostitute, but eventually falls due to his destructive habits and general lack of direction, albeit with extremely quirky sensibilities that ultimately make the film more of a tragic comedy rather than a fully grounded and serious drama. That being said, despite the clear similarities, especially with the goofy, random cowboy song toward the end, Stroszek definitely has more humanity to it and is an original story that details issues of immigration and capitalism, whereas Bad Lieutenant is simply a reinvention of a film made a decade before. However, the story of Stroszek is not as important to me as its atmosphere and shooting style. In class, we talked lot about space and time, and with Stroszek there are clear elements of that. When Bruno is in Germany, everything feels cramped and from a past era, whereas when he finally comes to the United States, he is something from the past when everything else around him is not and much more bland and lacking history. Bruno tries to catch up with the then modern conventions of American culture and economy, but he ultimately fails because it feels so unfamiliar to him and is against his initial expectations. De Certeau says in concern with both physical and spiritual  embodiment of history and tradition, "This anonymous hero is ancient...the murmuring voice of societies...all ages. He does not expect representations...Slowly...[he] disappear[s ]from the stage [he] dominated...," and he, "...witness[es] the advent of the number. It comes along with democracy, the large city, administrations...a flexible and continuous mass..." (De Certeau Unpaginated). Bruno, although lacking a significant presence back in his home town, had embodied an unique, eccentric German history and cultural tradition, but once he had reached the United States, he slowly began lose relevance and slipped away through the commercialized woodwork.   

Stroszek (1976) Trailer

Bad Lieutenant: Call of Port New Orleans (2009) Trailer

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sam Taylor-Johnson - Defining Beauty Through Movement, from Budding Photographer to Rising Film Director

For my research project, I looked back at the career of Sam Taylor-Johnson, a British filmmaker and photographer from Surrey, England who has had a surprisingly fast transition from a relative unknown who remains part of a group of then young artists in the 90s called Young British Artists to a now established, mainstream film director, having worked on only two feature films, one of which a large blockbuster based on a popular erotica novel, "Fifty Shades of Grey," in 2015. The argument that I make is that in these twenty odd years of her career, Taylor-Johnson has always remained a purely visual artist whose primary focus has not always been the narrative so much as it has been capturing the "raw emotion" or beauty of movement made by the human body or other entity. Movement has always been somewhat of a central theme of her work, her music video UBerlin a documentation of physical movement of the human body, her short film A Little Death about the movement of decay via elapse in time, and her feature film directorial debut Nowhere Boy about cultural movement with the recreation of John Lennon and the Beatles' budding popularity in their early, developing years as a band and the eventual culture shock they delivered across the world.

*Natural transgression from short experimental film work to Hollywood blockbuster

A Little Death (2002)

"Brief Applause: Artist Sam Taylor-Wood" (2008)

Nowhere Boy Official U.S. Trailer (2009)

R.E.M.'s "UBerlin," starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson (2011)

Fifty Shades of Grey Official Trailer (2015)

Monday, April 27, 2015

My Response to Lawton Hall - Michael Hubbard

(Please note before reading this that I continue to struggle with what I want to do with my life with a degree in fines arts, especially in the world we now live in, and that part of that struggle constitutes a good portion of my feelings in post.)

This was a week where I had to remind myself the subjectivity of art and how there is now apparently little to no basis of objectivity with it in a world of increasingly loose contemporary art. Please bear with me if I come off as a bit condescending, because I am not, but rather using witticism to make light of my thoughts about our visitor as well as my tired mind. Also, this is just my honest opinion, and I am not going to pretend to like something just to be "polite." And honestly, I felt a bit discouraged the day Lawton Hall came to visit, and I honestly did not expect that to happen. I am not blaming Hall for my discouragement, but instead the whole experience in general that he happened to be apart of. When Lawton entered the room, I remember one of the first things John said was that Mr. Hall is one of the few graduates to quickly enter the art world and "survive," or something along those lines. Of course, John may have simply said that out of humor, based on the world's current attitude toward art students in a time where STEM education has taken ahold of mainstream academia, and I may sound like I am about to overanalyze a simple joke, but that statement had me both intrigued and worried nonetheless and continued to linger in my mind to this day, along with the long list of fears I continue to have about the present and future. Apparently one of the themes that Lawton is pursuing is "nostalgia" or trying to return to form of something lost or in the past, and I definitely think he captures something old and tired.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Project No. 2 - "The Slow Cascade"

It would have been easy to imagine that I would do another short film for our latest project, and that is because I personally find film to be the most expressive medium that vividly captures those ultimate artistic intents that are harder to replicate with any other medium, whether it be still photography, music, painting, drawing, or live performance art. So is the case with my latest short film, "The Slow Cascade," again starring Ben Meunier, who thankfully agreed to be on board again with my usual antics, although how many other number of times he would be willing to do it after this is unknown. "The Slow Cascade" takes advantage of the prompt of considering and using space by using time to push that space to evoke a particular emotion, that being of looming fear and dread, although that may not be apparent at first. Things appear calm at first, but also immediately, through the slowing of time, the eery music, and provocative images of rushing water, an empty bench, and a creeping goose, one can only assume that something terrible yet unexplained has occurred and one can only guess what may have happened. The main character appears to be meditating at first, but could he be pre-meditatively considering doing some terrible deed or simply reminiscing having done it already? Clearly that person is actually at that place he is thinking about at that very moment, so what significance does it hold to him? For the short amount of time it runs, this film has no clear narrative and instead asks questions about what happened, considering what the images, the alteration of the film's speed, and music communicate to the viewers. Certeau says that stories "...organize the play of changing relationships between places and spaces," a place being where "...objects...are...reducible to...being there..." and a space being where "...operations..." are being made." Ben's character is in one place behaving how one might consider inactive while there is are things going on around him that he is clearly not paying any attention to, but on the other hand he is thinking about another place where something happened that he probably took part in. The bridge between place and space is made here because he is simply in one place and thinking about another location where some operation was in order.

"The Slow Cascade"

Monday, April 13, 2015

Project No. 1 - "Nighttime Reader"

Working the topic of mundane rituals, I wanted to explore reading before going to bed and how the process of that can affect our internal hardwiring for both the good and the bad. I chose the medium of film because that is where I work best and make the most out of my more elaborate ideas. The film is titled “Nighttime Reader” is simply about a young man reading before retiring to bed. However, there is a twist toward the end that I included to give the film a more interesting narrative edge aside the ambient music, crisp color contrast, and various camera angles. With this film, I also wanted to visually emphasize how there is a simple beauty to what we consider "mundane" through the slow and steady pace of the film as the calming, reflective music plays in the background. Michel de Certeau says in his book The Practice of Everyday Life that, "The 'insignificant detail' inserted into the framework supports [the story] makes the commonplace produce other effects" (de Certeau 89). By inserting the surprise of a supernatural presence, I believe I gave the film further reason as to why carries its grainy, subdued pastiche. That particular aesthetic hopefully adds to the feeling of discomfort despite its comfortable setting with audience having already learned the eery ending of this film. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

ART 340 Proj. No. 1 Proposal - Michael Hubbard

On the subject of mundanity & capturing an instance of it in a day-to-day routine with whatever chosen media, I would like to create a short, two to three-minute video about something as ordinary as reading before going to bed. However, with the intention of giving the film a contextual plot and my keen interest in the cinematic feel, I would also like to add an ounce of suspense and horror to add an energetic spin to the topic of the mundane. The premise would be that the protagonist has been extensively reading a book in his, not paying attention to what is going on behind him as something horrific warps into existence, and soon meets his presumable demise after putting his book away & turning off his light. There will be no sound, only a moody soundtrack piece, and the film may be in color, although that may also be unlikely.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fuck YouTube

I want to formally make a statement to YouTube: Fuck You

You take such a long ass time to process a 3-minute video and you're useless


Michael Hubbard

Final Project Presentation - Experimental Horror Film: "Never Lighter"

*Note: It's taking really long time to upload the video of my film because of the video processing on YouTube

Yesterday we all had our final projects presented for a final critique as well as a sort of public showing. I was overall excited by the whole experience and actually made a new discovery while I was there that could potentially shift the development of films I plan to make in the future.
I as am sure you are all aware, I did another short film similar to the one I did earlier this term, only this time it is a couple minutes longer and carries a slightly more cohesive narrative, despite its experimental form. During our times reading and discussing McLuhan's book I felt like there several elements in his theory of modern technology that could be made into a horror film, particularly his prediction that this technology would makes us basically more detached from one another despite our intention to become more connected a "global village"because we would then require a further overload of unadulterated information we never really need. In my film "Never Lighter," which stars Ridley Tankersley and sees the return of Ben Meunier, there are no really apparent horror elements other than the music and some scenes hinting at it. The film is about two young college students who are not directly linked but are facing a similar situation, which is how modern technology has mired their social lives and made them either paranoid or frustrated.

Monday, March 2, 2015

John Cage, Avant-Garde Music Theorist & Composer

For our brief artist research report, I was tasked with the music theorist and avant-garde artist John Cage. I noticed that in The Medium Is the Message, author Marshall McLuhan does not have much about John Cage other than several quotes just as obscure as McLuhan’s book. McLuhan voices many problems with the advent of modern technology and how it affect our individuality and hamper our ability to proper socialize, and it seems to me that Cage offers a solution to some of those problems with the little page space he has in McLuhan’s book. The argument that I make is that Cage’s solution consists of us taking time to remove ourselves from modern technology.

~ Cage and his prepared piano experiment ~

~ Cage playing on a ridiculously small piano for 4'33' ~

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Print Gallery Reflection

The idea of a gallery in my opinion will continue to be a feasible one since it is one universal method of presenting one's work to the public domain. Artists cannot expect immediate public attention if they believe there is something aesthetically intrinsic or valuable about their work that people need to take note of, thus the gallery is a fantastic way for artists to make professional entrances into the art world. The show we had this week does not hold that much in stake, but it at least provides a good tutorial on how one curates a gallery event. A person hosting such an event should be mindful of the attractiveness to visitors pertaining mostly to its accessibility. That person cannot expect those people to line up to look at portraits, especially in a small room, so there should at least be some complementary drinks, snacks, and books to accommodate them. I believe the purpose of a gallery is to not only show appreciation of art, but to also instigate conversation about it, and a way of inviting that is food and beverage as well as books corresponding to their respective portraits to discuss over in greater detail. The contents of the gallery should also extend outside the small room that it is being held in, and our show did exactly that with our snacks and drinks.

My experience preparing for this show was interesting to say the least. The process of printing photographs and hanging them as portraits is in of itself rudimentary, but understanding the organization of a small event provides a valuable lesson in teamwork and management. Cooperation leads to strong results, and I believe we achieved just that. Many people came in on opening day, and they were respectful and appreciative of our work, and I think that is perhaps the best that we could ask for, especially for a show held in a relatively small room in a densely packed building, among many more accessible locations. Size aside, I felt the room fit with the photographs tonally right, with the portraits exhibiting many different moods and the aesthetic of room being rather neutral and not pertaining to one theme alone. The noninterference of the room also allows for a more open feel and more room for free discussion about the artwork.

The books are probably a more preferable form of presenting our artwork because visitors get to appreciate more of our work than the limited number officially displayed on the wall. I noticed more people gather around the pedestals where the books were located and how there was more discussion going on there than at the walls where the portraits were hung. Perhaps there is a subconscious button in our minds that switches our talkative sides off when we venture near the walls as opposed to when we gather around the pedestals.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February 17, 2015 Convocation Lecture Reflection
Before I give out my thoughts about that convocation thing that a surprising number of people did not like for some reason, I would like to get one thing out of the way by personally admitting I was not feeling too hot and extremely tired, so while I was there physically, I was nodding off a bit. However, I did find time to read an article about one Kwame Anthony Appiah and relatively got the gist of what he was talking about at convocation. Some people seem to be under the impression that Appiah was encouraging the assimilation of eastern nation into western cultures, but I do not think he was doing that in the least bit.

 There is a book by Appiah called The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen that he so obviously references because it covers the same topic and he goes over similar content in that book. Appiah is simply making an analysis of the problems in some honor systems in particular cultures, while not neglecting the fact there also problems with those systems in the west. I am sure that if there is one quote from McLuhan people who were not favor of Appiah's lecture will reference, it is "In the name of 'progress,' our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old," which can be interpreted as western cultures using its technological advancements to gain the upper hand over other less fortunate countries and potentially attempt to impose themselves on them.