Halas Grow on Trees

This week I have been experimenting with Final Cut Pro and footage of myself performing as my character, Hala. This is a still from a video sketch I made this week. I achieved the nine Halas by using the 'tiling' option in Final Cut Pro and 'keyed' the green screen I performed in front of so that I could put my photograph of a lemon tree behind my footage. I used to collect Russian dolls. I find them beautiful and creepy at the same time. It is disturbing that the smaller 'baby' ones that emerge from the larger ones are identical to the older ones and remind me of The Smiths' song Reel Around the Fountain which goes: It's time the tale were told/ Of how you took a child/ And you made him old. The Russian dolls came to mind when I stumbled on this tiling special effect. Also Hala's dark eye make up and pink cheeks draws on the look of Russian dolls.

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Resentment Rites

My final term project is called Resentment Rites. I have chosen this title because I am interested in how feelings of resentment and bitterness are passed down from one generation to another, how we carry these emotions and how they are expressed. 

My last film Run for the Border could be considered a tragicomedy and I am interested in exploring this genre. I have been thinking about lemons as a metaphor for bitterness so I will begin by exploring the tragicomedy of eating a lemon. My initial influence is Marina Abramović eating an onion in her 1996 work, The Onion. In addition to eating a lemon I will film myself doing other absurd acts or 'resentment rituals'.

As well as Marina Abramović, I am influenced by the work of Pedro Almodóvar, in particular the characterisation and appearance of his female characters which is why I chose a bright red dress for this performance. The image below is a still from footage of me eating a lemon. The first attempt was not particularly successful as I had practice eating lemons beforehand and I made it look easier than I wanted it to appear. I was looking for exaggerated facial expressions that might be made whilst eating a lemon and did not get so many of those however the image below does convey something of the experience. I was filmed against a green screen background which gives me the option to 'key' this area using Final Cut Pro. For the image below, I chose a black background because I liked the way it focuses the viewer's attention on the character eating and the lemon. The black also gives a sort of 'lost in space' look and I imagine her eating lemons in space forever.

Lemon eating looking mean hala black background.jpg

Biz Geldik

Biz Geldik means we've arrived in Turkish. 

F O R E I G N E R

This film was made using British Pathé and Associated Press films I found on YouTube which I edited in Final Cut Pro. I particularly enjoyed playing around with the special effects such as 'Earthquake' and 'Underwater'.  The old films and newsreels are portrayals of Cyprus as seen through the eyes of British visitors and reveal the British media's attitude to Cyprus in the 1950s and 60s. This film is inspired by my time living alongside people from the UK in Northern Cyprus from 2011 to 2016.

I overlaid my own photographs of half built houses, which are a key feature of the landscape of Northern Cyprus, onto the footage I found of an amphitheatre I adjusted the opacity of the images so that my photographs appear alongside or on top of the found footage.

I am interested in what makes a foreigner and the experience of being an immigrant. Whilst working on this project I was influenced by the work of political activist and sociologist, Stuart Hall. 

In the film I also included a watercolour painting of one of the half built houses which I made whilst living in Cyprus. I juxtaposed the painting with footage of a British military policeman drinking a cup of coffee. I used the 'underwater' special effect to make my painting 'wobbly'. This was my attempt to describe what can happen in the mind of someone who is living in a foreign place. I wanted to illustrate how living in a new country with an alien climate and culture can be an intoxicating experience.

Chroma Key / Green Screen

Today we learned about chroma keying which is a visual effects technique for layering two sets of footage together based. We began by watching 'The Effluence of Affluence' by Funki Porcini which is an example of this chroma key technique being used at a advanced level. The film begins with us looking out at a runway as an aeroplane takes off. So far so normal but then it all kinds of everyday objects including a pint of milk, a lightbulb and a hat, begin to float by. It seems they are falling from the aeroplane or perhaps they were just floating around there. We were told the effect was created by filming objects tied to bits of thread and then distorting the footage to make it appear as if they were floating out of sight.

I worked with Mary-Ann. We enjoyed dressing up and 'performing' with a view to superimposing ourselves onto some amusing backdrop. We got quite carried away working out a dance routine, something I have not done since I was about twelve. It was a lot of fun. 

When it came to choosing a background we were limited by the footage we had shot ourselves and what we were able to download from the internet. We had hoped to add ourselves to a music video but were were unable to download the ones we wanted so I opted for a shot of a forest which I found by googling free footage. 

The importance of keeping the green screen behind the footage you want to use became apparent when it came to the editing stage. It was possible to crop and distort our footage into order to cut out any unwanted footage of the set but it became clear why having a larger green screen to perform in front is so important. 

We also watched 'Green Screen Refrigerator' by Turner Prize winner, Mark Leckey which is a fantastic journey into the inner life of a fridge. It is a strangely touching film. The fridge describes itself, it's context and is devastatingly poetic, coming out with out with phrases like 'rids itself of the heat of shame' when describing the functioning of its condenser coil. 

Mary-Ann as Queen of Hearts preparing for green screen experiment

Mary-Ann as Queen of Hearts preparing for green screen experiment

Split Screen

We watched a few minutes of Candice Breitz film, Her, (1978 - 2008). I watched the rest of it at home. It uses footage of Meryl Streep from various films using her performance to create a new narrative. For the first ten minutes the dialogue centres around marriage and having children. Certain phrases are repeated, 'relationships are work', 'what about your job'. The effect is that of a chorus narrating the lives of many women, different characters with a shared experience. For much of the work the characters are referring to 'him', 'he' is never seen or heard.      

'Why is your freedom more important than mine?'

The characters engage in conversation. One snaps 'Why is your freedom more important than mine?' which brings to mind ongoing feminist arguments. I found it a powerful and thought provoking piece and am thinking about making it the focus of my essay on identity.

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