Subtext & Lies

Experiential.

After producing a very dry and cringe inducing written script translation of the conversations I had held on site with Luke [1.], I was introduced to the idea of making a film as my scenario.

Cringey Script.jpg

[1.] Full Format                                      Spoken Dialogue                            Prompts/Actions

Subsequently, I was directed by Julia towards documentarian Adam Curtis and his process of vocally narrating on top of stock news and archive footage from the BBC as to construct his argument and perspective on groundbreaking historical political events and decisions. His latest work “Hypernormalization“, enriched with this form of the documentary format, launches a taut deconstruction of the foundations and subsequent distractions of contemporary Western society [2.].

Analytical.

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[3.] Use of Subtitle to Bring to the Surface the ‘True Context’ Behind Particular Images.

In using relevant footage of highlighted events and decisions, yet re-contextualised with additional dramatic or contradictory musical cues and additional subtitles, Curtis begins to, or at least appears to, address the underlying actions taking place; cutting through the façade that had been presented to us originally and exposing the truth beneath the surface [2.]. This is similar in some regards, despite the difference in tone, to the subtitled subtext conversational scene from Woody Allen’s 1977 film, “Annie Hall” [3.].

annie-hall-subtext-image

[3.] Scene from Annie Hall, Where Subtitles Express the Thoughts Behind Spoken Dialogue.

This had reminded me somewhat of another film that I had read about that utilised similar processes in telling its story; that being architect turned filmmaker Patrick Keiller’s “Robinson in Space”, that I had come across in his essay “Port Statistics” inside of “The Unknown City” (Borden, 2000).

This accompanying essay to the film [4.] had expressed its examining of ‘a judgment of place by its appearance’, using imagery of Middle England’s decaying industrial aesthetic as well as dilapidated public space as to contrast with the fact that [as of 1995] “Britain is actually the fifth largest trading economy in the world and that young British people, particularly women, are neither as sexually un-emancipated or as miserable as the United Kingdom suggests”.

Propositional.

Robinson in Space.jpg

[4.] Robinson in Space

Robinson, in the context of the films narrative, is a character who journeys through and examines these visual prejudices of the environment, which lead me to begin to reconsider how it is that the actors derived from the Scenario Building Workshops could begin to affect or skew my existing perspective of the site. [I have been meaning to watch all of Robinson in Space but it’s hard to find!].

This deconstruction of the visual image as to assess the true meaning, or subtext of the situation, became fascinating to me in regards to the kinds of lives people lead behind the netted curtains of their homes, or behind their monitors and desks in the workplace – also inspired by the contingent forces of architectural design argued in Jeremy Till’s “Architecture Depends”.

As a result, I plan to photograph areas of the site as to begin constructing my scenario in the form of a storyboard, much like those developed and designed before the shooting of a film. I feel that this would allow me – instead of drawing and sketching from memory – to use the conditions of the site to elaborate and manipulate, as a way of beginning to tell an emotional story of the two principle actors, The Cheaters.

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One response to “Subtext & Lies

  1. Pingback: Sound & Picture, Moving Along in Time | Design As Distributed Agency·

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