260MC Creative Brief One – The Long Portrait/Cinemagraph – Where is the audience? How much are they allowed to see?

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As inspired by my research into Walt Disney I have been thinking about different ways that layering can be used to capture an idea in greater detail.

As I mentioned in my presentation I am particularly interested in the merging of two different mediums to create something entirely unique. Exhibited at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery quirky installation ‘Man and his Sheep‘ by Ana Maria Pacheco1943 encouraged me to think about what these mediums could be.

Created with traditional materials for its time such as wood, paint but also real human teeth gives a fascinating yet creepy malicious edge to the artefact. No matter where you stand at least one Man reaches out in its macabre realism to you , connects the audience and the persona with its wide eyes. As if it feels intruded on.

This reminded me of the combination of real live action with fictional animation which is now prominent in children’s programming; The wood although human shape is seemingly intentionally abstract to juxtapose with the overt realism of the human teeth. To see it within a darker context fascinated me. Although I wish to specialise in children’s media this module has helped to realise how the metafictional quality of breaking the fourth wall can be used to deal with deeper emotion with greater impact then what it is being expressed alone. In this piece is seems who the audience is, where they are and how they project onto it their own emotion themselves is what the piece itself for the most part is.

Whilst this piece from the Birmingham museum engages directly with its audience as if breaking the fourth wall at all angles, a piece from Castle Galleries in Birmingham compelled my attention; Also having a similar powerful unnerving effect that makes you feel that your relationship with the person becomes your interpretation but using the opposite technique.

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The rat pack by Alexander Mills

The pack by Alexander Mills awoke feelings of depression for me, I feel this piece is reflective of community spirit within the lower classes and the choice to hide their faces is both a cold yet unifying choice. It is there clothes and social class that keeps coalesce. A portrait does not necessarily need a face to reveal a persons identity.

Another art practitioner whose work is currently being exhibited at Castle Galleries  and who’s work is both analogous and yet dissimilar to the work of Alexander Mills is Keith Proctor, also from Birmingham.

The use of children and even a teddy bear in his portraits adds a playful and more youthful mood to his art than ‘The Rat pack.’ In this instance although their faces our covered rather than a mournful association it allows its viewer to imprint themselves on the person. In an almost nostalgic way.

Cloning characters can create a sense of power and unity, whilst a single character in a portrait can create feelings of loneliness.

My research within this module has also allowed me to think about how the level of closeness gaged between a subject and its viewer can also create an impact. Whether that be staring directly down the camera to make an audience member more able to engage with a character or a character hiding it’s face to make the audience feel voyeuristic I now know how and why the effect that this technique within my cinemagraph can impact an audience.

The context of the subject is important but where the camera allows the audience to be is just as subjective to interpretation too and even without hiding anything obviously what lighting encourages to direct the audiences attention to.

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