Our research question which we would seek to explore and dissect for this video project is;
How can we merge the creative disciplines of performance and installation, projection and photography, to scrutinise acts of leisure and their paramount excess, probing intimacy and consent, to in turn, heighten the seemingly unconscious act of voyeurism apparent in such?
For the concept pitch presentation, I have been allocated a focus on a concept branching from this idea of separation and “The Fourth Wall” which Sean delved into with more detail here (link) and looking at the possibilities for our film’s mis-en-scene.
The Panopticon & Voyeurism
“The history and concept of [voyeurism] analyzes the fears and fascination, the prohibitions and transgressions attached to the realm of [voyeurism] are as so many expressions of the “uselessness” of… life”. – The Accursed Share by Georges Bataille
Stemming on from this idea of voyeurism and transitional moments in time, as a group, we began to explore the notion of surveillance, which led me researching an institutional building designed by English philosopher and social theorist, Jeremy Bentham. The Panopticon is a cyclical design that allows inmates to be observed by a single watchman without the inmates being actually able to tell whether or not they are being watched. The architecture incorporates a tower central to a circular building that is then divided into cells, each cell extending the entire thickness of the building to allow inner and outer windows. The occupants of the cells are thus backlit, isolated from one another by walls, and subject to scrutiny both collectively and individually by an observer in the tower.
This all came about from a social experiment, enquiring into the control over behaviour patterns of the inmates over a certain period of time. Bentham described the Panopticon as a “new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example”. This idea of forcing our viewers into a space of controlled voyeurism and manipulated surveillance is a fundamental concept that we may wish to explore. Perhaps even creating our own form of a social experiment, like the Panopticon, could be an interesting way to go about our film.
In terms of the overall look, shots and aesthetics of our film, we’ve collectively decided that we did not want to illustrate any form of narrative for our final project. Instead, we would prefer to place a strong emphasis on the filming techniques, settings and also the changes and fluctuations of lighting to demonstrate emotion. As we began to browse through inspiration in the form of artworks, short films, filming experiments and music videos, we started to form a collective and intrinsic pull towards works that were dimly lit, high in contrast, used naked bulbs and were full of harsh shadows with small highlight peaks.
One of the first aspects which we all came to an agreement on was the decision to tell a story through camera angles and ultimately, light. The presence and absence of light will be fundamental to our project in exploring the perception of time, space and how it changes throughout periods of nothingness and our main concept of definitive destructive leisure.
Some works that have inspired us include the use of artificial spot lighting, back lighting, neon bulbs as well as capitalising on strong natural light during the middle/end of the day, and also the combination of harsh lighting with the softness of a human silhouette to provoke emotion, heighten the captivating essence of stillness and a draw attention to moments of breathlessness.