Most of my current studio work is dealing with atmospheric detail in an abstract natural environment, often intersected with something man made than is aging or deteriorated. I decided to shoot around the graduate studio annex and the surrounding greenway this morning when the light was softer. However, one of the problems I had when filming was that the construction noises next door kept interrupting the audio I was picking up. I also had trouble keeping my tripod stable when I put it into precarious positions, all of which limited my options for the final video I had to choose, since most of them had a slight movement when I was weighting the tripod down myself.
For my “alternative view” project I decided to use an outside A/C unit as my subject matter. Growing up in Kansas and being accustomed to the often turbulent weather patterns during the spring and summer months, I was strongly reminded of a tornado while watching the blades of the unit rotate at high speeds. I chose the title “Eye of the Storm” to create a direct contrast between the function and visuals of the A/C unit to a tornado.
I set up my camera so that the tripod was leaning against the A/C unit and the camera was focused close enough to the top of the unit so that when the mechanisms were spinning the blades became slightly abstracted. Because of the close proximity to the blades, and because the tripod was leaned against the unit, the vibrations that the blades made lightly shook the camera while recording. Additionally the spinning of the fan creates a loud rhythmic booming noise which creates an allusion to thunder. Half way through the video the A/C unit automatically shuts off and the fans slow down until stationary. As they reduce in speed they become quieter, and the sound of birds becomes audible in the background.
While the A/C unit visually and audibly mimics the sounds and sights of a tornado, it’s function is vastly opposed to the natural phenomenon. While tornadoes are caused by the colliding of two temperature fronts, the man made mechanisms of the A/C unit are programed to control living conditions for the interior of buildings. I believe the contrast from the subject matter and the allusion in the title to tornadoes creates a dynamic that heightens the awareness of the man made object as well as demonstrating man’s influence on nature and it’s elements.
Since the A/C unit was moving based on an unknown mechanism, I had to re-shoot several times until the visuals and audio synced up the way that I wanted while also taking into consideration the angle and composition of the shot.
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The packaged message is about nostalgia; sentimentally looking into the past and about exposing a personal narrative. If we believe that the “medium is the message” then we can begin to understand the connection between the portable, easily accessible video camera and the home videos being displayed.
This also allows for us to use the still life composition (created with two books and one DVD) and the atmosphere created, as a vehicle to further examine the narrative.
Close attention should be placed on the text, shapes and color in the video.