As there are no obstructions for this artefact, I have created my own; I have to have three theories behind my piece one for each theme (spectacle, power and memory).
4 ‘The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.’ Guy Debord.
As my spectacle will be an object that is easy for the contestants to relate to either through childhood memories or experience, for example a cuddly toy will be memorable as it may trigger a memory of their favourite childhood toy.
‘The id is a primitive part of the personality that pursues only pleasure and instant gratification.’ Freud’s concept of personality.
The power in my piece will be the power of the mind, that being the power of ‘want’, which will be the prize/reward upon winning, but also the power of being triumphant.
The game and idea itself comes under Frederick Jameson’s theory of ‘Pastiche’ “a world in which stylistic innovation is no longer possible, all that is left is to imitate dead styles, to speak through the masks and with the voices of the styles in the imaginary museum.”
The imitation of the ‘Generation Game’ and how people remember and also what they remember.
I have researched into the Generation Game as this is what my idea is based on.
‘The Generation Game was a British game show produced by the BBC in which four teams of two (people from the same family, but different generations, hence the title of the show) competed to win prizes.
There were always eight competitors, hence the catchphrase “Let’s meet the eight who are going to generate” used in earlier series by Bruce Forsyth. The couple that scored the highest went through to the final ‘conveyor belt’.
At the end of the show, one member (or in later series both members) of the victorious team watched prizes pass on a conveyor belt, and then won as many as could be recalled in a set time. A trademark of the show was that a cuddly toy was always among the prizes. The audience would shout out the names of the prizes, allowing the contestants to carry away large numbers of items.’
I will have 8 competitors, however, they will not be related and the only prize available will be the end prize should they be able to name all of the items, and if there is more than one person who manages this then it will be whoever remembered all items in the quickest time.
From watching this video I have an idea of the number of items to have, how many seconds they get to look at them and how many they get to recall the items. There will be no audience to shout things out in order to help, so this will add to the pressure of the contestants and really test their memory.
*’Debord, G. (1967) The Society of the Spectacle, Rebel Press, 2006.
*’Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern 1983-1998′ By Professor Frederick Jameson
‘When we look at Spectacle we think of things that people watch rather than take part, but what if we did take part, what if we were the spectacle? This exact question has triggered my idea for my Spectacle artefact, be it to look at the spectacle of time and transformation over time, in particular the ever famous company Apple and how it has evolved and transformed over time.’
As my idea is based around the development and transformation of Apple over time I have first looked at the Guy Debord passages from which I took inspiration from:
‘Pseudo-cyclical time is a time transformed by industry. The time founded on commodity production
is itself a consumable commodity, recombining everything which, during the period of the old
unitary society’s disintegration, had become distinct: private life, economic life, political life. The
entirety of the consumable time of modern society ends up being treated as raw material for the
production of a diversity of new products to be put on the market as socially controlled uses of time.
“A product, though ready for immediate consumption, may nevertheless serve as raw material for a
further product” ( Capital).’
*The sentence I found most inspirational was ‘The entirety of the consumable time of modern society ends up being treated as raw material for the production of a diversity of new products to be put on the market as socially controlled uses of time.’ as Apple are constantly inventing a product and then building upon it, each time bringing out newer versions and they are all on the market as ‘socially controlled uses of time’. The extent to which you can entertain yourself on one product is beyond imagination, for example take the iPhone, you use it as a normal phone making calls, texting, but then you have your music, games, social and many more applications and even a personal servant with voice command Siri. You can spend hours in a public place or at home surrounded by people and yet we choose to immerse ourselves into the world of Apple, however, you can use these products to be social when you want to, sharing videos, pictures and social networking.
‘Innovation is ever present in the process of the production of things. This is not true of
consumption, which is never anything but more of the same. Because dead labour continues to
dominate living labour, in spectacular time the past continues to dominate the present.’
*Why is it that people buy anything Apple and when a new version comes out they feel the need to buy that too even if they have only bought the version before 6 months prior? ‘Consumption is never anything but more of the same.’ I have chosen a friend of mine to help me with my idea particularly because he is one these Apple consumers and anything new from Apple be it a new product or an update he will buy even if there is minor changes.
‘In contrast to the passing fashions that clash and fuse on the frivolous surface of a contemplated
pseudo-cyclical time, the grand style of our era can ever be recognized in whatever is governed by
the obvious yet carefully concealed necessity for revolution.’
*The style of our era is to have anything that is new and up to date ‘in fashion’it is fashionable to have the latest products, brands, styles so that you feel accepted in society or to be the cool one a few steps ahead of everyone else. The last line has Apple written all over it as each time they bring out a new product it is kept top secret and all meetings are under the radar, so that when it is brought out there is a massive uproar and demand for the product.
I have also done some research into Apple as a company:
-There were in fact three founders not two; Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Ronald Gerald Wayne who left before Apple became big in the public eye.
-Steve Jobs left Apple after creating the Macintosh and returns after Apple Quicktake camera product, this is when employees began to rise again after being decreased, the log changes at this point almost as if Apple reinvents it’self and the iMac is created shortly after.
-The logo has changed four times since Apple was founded now a dramatic change from the original.
I also looked at the products they have made since being Apple Computers and timelines of products from the following websites:
This was very interesting for me as I had never known how Apple started or that they did all these other products. I think I have chosen a good subject as I have learnt about something that is very much a current spectacle as Apple are watched closely by the public eye wondering what other spectacular products they can come up with, will they ever top themselves?
I have also looked ad some of the best Apple adverts made to get an idea of how to transform my futuristic product into a parody Apple promo, noticing that many of them are based on a white background this is something I will take into consideration, when filming.
I also have taken inspiration from the following videos:
This one because I like the idea of the transformation being created just by the hands and shows a mystical side of who is behind the creating and transformations…
…and this one because of it’s simplistic nature, but still managing to get the message across clearly.
When looking at these adverts I also noted the type of music/sound they use and will have to find something similar to match my piece in order for it to be entertaining not only to the eye but also to the ear. I will be looking at websites such as freesound, souncloud, and danosongs for sources of license free music.
Solomon Asch (1907 – 1996)
Asch was born in Warsaw, Poland, on September 14, 1907, but then decided to go to the United States in 1920 and received a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1932. He was an explorer of gestalt(essence or shape of an entity’s complete form), relation-oriented approaches to perception, association, learning, thinking, and metaphor, as a pioneer of social psychology.
After looking the Stanley Milgram’s ‘Obedience to Authority’ experiment I wondered where the idea had come from and what other experiments were out there, this led me to Solomon Asch:
‘Asch’s most famous experiments set a contest between physical and social reality. His subjects judged unambiguous stimuli – lines of different lengths – after hearing other opinions offering incorrect estimates. Subjects were very upset by the discrepancy between their perceptions and those of others and most caved under the pressure to conform: only 29% of his subjects refused to join the bogus majority. This technique was a powerful lens for examining the social construction of reality, and gave rise to decades of research on conformity. Stanley Milgram’s studies of obedience to authority were inspired directly by Asch’s studies.’
The conformity of humans is so radical it’s sometimes hard to swallow but most of us know that if we had been in that experiment very few of us would have protested, especially back then let alone now where you are more likely to be ridiculed for being different or getting it wrong.
I also looked at other videos linked to social experiments, I came across this very interesting and humorous marshmallow experiment performed on young children.
The instant temptation they receive and pressure of time is interesting, as they are not entirely sure if the adult is going to come back let alone with another marshmallow, what if they don’t have time to eat it when she comes back? These thoughts must all be running through their minds and so the only rational and what seemed to be the most popular action was to wait a little while and then eat it, two is too greedy anyway right? This was less of an authoritative test and more of a personal test, one of instant gratification and in a sense mental strength.
‘The marshmallow experiment is a famous test of this concept conducted by Walter Mischel at Stanford University and discussed by Daniel Goleman in his popular work. In the 1960’s, a group of four-year olds were given a marshmallow and promised another, only if they could wait 20 minutes before eating the first one. Some children could wait and others could not. The researchers then followed the progress of each child into adolescence, and demonstrated that those with the ability to wait were better adjusted and more dependable (determined via surveys of their parents and teachers), and scored an average of 210 points higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test.’
For part of my research for my FMP is mental health as this is the main theme in my short film. As well as having a friend who I can gain primary research through I have devised some back ground research around what it is to have mental health issues, what it is, and what triggers it. In this research I will also be looking at the awareness of mental health and the campaigns around it such as Mental Health Week.
Mental Health by Medilexicon’s medical definition:
Mental health is; “emotional, behavioural and social maturity or normality; the absence of a mental or behavioural disorder; a state of psychological well-being in which one has achieved a satisfactory integration of one’s instinctual drives acceptable to both oneself and one’s social milieu; an appropriate balance of love, work, and leisure pursuits”.
A slightly different take on the meaning of mental health by the World Health Organization:
The World Health Organization stress that mental health “is not just the absence of mental disorder”. It can be;
“a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.
What is mental health and what does it mean to have it?
‘Mental health refers to our cognitive, and/or emotional wellbeing – it is all about how we think, feel and behave. Mental health, if somebody has it, can also mean an absence of a mental disorder. Your mental health can affect your daily life, relationships and even your physical health. Mental health also includes a person’s ability to enjoy life – to attain a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. ‘
I wanted to do my film on mental health as I have witnessed a close friend go through mental issues first hand and it is something you just don’t think will ever happen to you or anyone you know but the fact is ‘Approximately 25% of people in the UK have a mental health problem during their lives, and the USA is said to have the highest incidence of people diagnosed with mental health problems in the developed world.’ We all go about our daily lives and yet someone who we speak to/see on a daily basis may be dealing or have dealt with mental health issues, so what better way than to make people aware so that they can recognise and even be there for someone as it can take just one little comment/incident to push someone over the edge and snap. It can be the most unlikely person you can think of that will or has developed a mental problem ‘We all have the potential for suffering from mental health problems, no matter how old we are, whether we are male or female, rich or poor, or ethnic group we belong to. In the UK over one quarter of a million people are admitted into psychiatric hospitals each year, and more than 4,000 people kill themselves. They come from all walks of life.’
This alone is a scary fact but there are many forms and levels of mental problems some of which we may have ourselves but don’t think of them as mental issues:
- Anxiety disorders – the most common group of mental illnesses. The sufferer has a severe fear or anxiety which is linked to certain objects or situations. Most people with an anxiety disorder will try to avoid exposure to whatever triggers their anxiety. Examples of anxiety disorders include:
- Panic disorder – the person experiences sudden paralyzing terror or imminent disaster.
- Phobias – these may include simple phobias – disproportionate fear of objects, social phobias – fear of being subject to the judgment of others, and agoraphobia – dread of situations where getting away or breaking free may be difficult. We really do not know how many phobias people may experience globally – there could be hundreds and hundreds of them.
- (OCD) Obsessive-compulsive disorder – the person has obsessions and compulsions. In other words, constant stressful thoughts (obsessions), and a powerful urge to perform repetitive acts, such as hand washing (compulsion).
- PSTD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) – this can occur after somebody has been through a traumatic event – something horrible and scary that the person sees or that happens to them. During this type of event the person thinks that his/her life or other people’s lives are in danger. The sufferer may feel afraid or feel that he/she has no control over what is happening.
- Mood disorders – these are also known as affective disorders or depressive disorders. Patients with these illnesses share disturbances or mood changes, generally involving either mania (elation) or depression. Experts say that approximately 80% of patients with depressive disorder improve significantly with treatment. Examples of mood disorders include:
- Major depression – the sufferer is not longer interested in and does not enjoy activities and events that he/she previously got pleasure from. There are extreme or prolonged periods of sadness.
- Bipolar disorder – also known as manic-depressive illness, or manic depression. The sufferer oscillates from episodes of euphoria (mania) and depression (despair).
- Dysthymia – mild chronic depression. Chronic in medicine means continuous and long-term. The patient has a chronic feeling of ill being and/or lack of interest in activities he/she once enjoyed – but to a lesser extent than in major depression.
- SAD (seasonal affective disorder) – a type of major depression. However, this one is triggered by lack of daylight. People get it in countries far from the equator during late autumn, winter, and early spring.
- Schizophrenia disorders Whether or not schizophrenia is a single disorder or a group of related illnesses has yet to be fully determined. It is a highly complex illness, with some generalizations which exist in virtually all patients diagnosed with schizophrenia disorders. Most sufferers experience onset of schizophrenia between 15 and 25 years of age. The sufferer has thoughts that appear fragmented; he/she also finds it hard to process information. Schizophrenia can have negative or positive symptoms. Positive symptoms include delusions, thought disorders and hallucinations. Negative symptoms include withdrawal, lack of motivation and a flat or inappropriate mood. (See the article “What is schizophrenia”)
The most common mental disorders/illnesses are coincidently are what my friend experienced which I can’t even begin to imagine how it would have felt having a combination of these three serious illnesses; Schizophrenia, Bipolar (manic depression/depressive illness), and Depression. ‘Approximately half of all people who suffer from a mental disorder probably suffer from another mental disorder at the same time, experts say.’
– (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154543.ph – 18 Jun 2009 – by Christian Nordqvist)
So lets look into this a little more; ‘Most mental health symptoms have traditionally been divided into groups called either ‘neurotic’ or ‘psychotic’ symptoms. ‘Neurotic’ covers those symptoms which can be regarded as severe forms of ‘normal’ emotional experiences such as depression, anxiety or panic. Conditions formerly referred to as ‘neuroses’ are now more frequently called ‘common mental health problems. Less common are ‘psychotic’ symptoms, which interfere with a person’s perception of reality, and may include hallucinations such as seeing, hearing, smelling or feeling things that no one else can. Between one and two in every 100 people experience a severe mental illness, such as bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia, and have periods when they lose touch with reality. People affected may hear voices, see things no one else sees, hold unusual or irrational beliefs, feel unrealistically powerful, or read particular meanings into everyday events.’
My friend experience both ‘neurotic’ and ‘psychotic’ symptoms as she used to hear voices sometimes feeling like they were in her head and other times feeling like it was someone telling her to do something.
‘Mental health problems affect the way you think, feel and behave. Mental health problems are very common. About a quarter of the population experience some kind of mental health problem in any one year. Anxiety and depression are the most common problems, with around 1 in 10 people affected at any one time. Anxiety and depression can be severe and long-lasting and have a big impact on people’s ability to get on with life.’
There was a stage in my friends depression where for a very long time she felt utterly depressed with her life and felt like she had no meaning or significance as she had nothing key in her life and wasn’t moving forward, only causing her to spiral downwards even more so.
‘Although certain symptoms are common in specific mental health problems, no two people behave in exactly the same way when they are unwell.’
Certain stories and versions of events I had heard from her made me think that she was lying as they were so irrational, but I soon realised that everyone is different and we all react in different ways.
Mental Health Awareness Week
Mental Awareness Week started in 2001 pushing forward different topics each year for the public to absorb such as; fear, loneliness, work-life balance, anger, friendship, sleep, mood, exercise, out at work, and alcohol. This year in 2012 the topic was ‘Doing Good’ as doing good things for others can reduce stress, improve your emotional wellbeing and even benefit your physical health. It feels good to give and it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or even cost money. Here’s what they did for the campaign;
- They asked people to try and carry out one act of kindness every day and report back telling them on their Facebook page how it made them feel. http://www.facebook.com/mentalhealthawarenessweek
- They produced posters to use in schools, offices, hospitals and waiting rooms to raise even more awareness and get people thinking about what they can or are doing to improve/keep their mental health stabilised. Doing Good Poster
- They also published a pocket guide to show the positive impact helping others can have on people’s own mental health. (Which I have downloaded and plan to read)
Published: May 2012
It’s often said that it’s better to give than receive but did you know that this is actually backed up by research? As part of our work to help the nation lead mentally healthy lives, we have produced this pocket guide to show the positive impact that helping others can have on your own mental health, including some tips and suggestions to help you get started and a diary to keep track of how you’re getting on.
03 What is altruism?
04 What are the health benefits?
08 Things to consider before you start
10 What you can do
18 Doing good does you good diary
20 Useful organisations and information
As my idea for my power artefact is based around money and how it benefits those who have it when trying to climb the career ladder and live general life I have decided to research further around the struggles of not having money, looking at pictures for inspiration and listening to spoken word music that not only talks about different types of power but, expresses the reality and hardship of not having money.
My first point of call was to watch the BBC2 programme ‘Who get’s the best jobs?’ in full and form/reaffirm my own opinion from that.
‘Britain is a less equal society than at any time since World War One. In Who Gets the Best Jobs, Richard Bilton investigates access to the professions – and finds that the best jobs are being snapped up by an increasingly small gene pool of privileged, well-connected families.
Getting a good degree matters more than ever – and those from low income families can no longer easily work their way up from the bottom without the qualifications, contacts and social skills that their more fortunate counterparts make full use of.’
When watching this I was instantly drawn in by the subject matter as I come from a not so well off family and as I grew up I always saw my mum going to work struggling to make sure we could afford to be clothed, eat and have a roof over our heads, and so always pushed for my siblings and I to do well in education so that we could get good jobs and not have to struggle as much as she did/does. I have always known that in gaining a good career it is more who you know than what you know, but I had thought that having a degree meant more than any of that, though when thinking about it if everyone comes out with good grades and degrees how are people differentiated? Therefore how are the jobs distributed fairly? I was interested to learn through watching this that the industry will favour those who have had a good and well recognised education, or more so those who have connections within the organisation. Or connections the organisation themselves can use to their own benefit over those who have worked hard to get to where they are and looking to expand their connections. I have also experienced this first hand on both sides of the spectrum when looking for professional work placements, as I had lost count of the numerous emails I had sent to various companies asking to take me on even for a few days, I actually only managed to get placements through my friend’s step brother and a previous contact I had made through my brother’s workplace.
This question kept screaming out at me – Why should those who don’t necessarily work hard gain the best jobs over those who are willing to put in the hard work to climb the career ladder?
Money plays a big part in all of this, as in the documentary there was a girl who was interning for a high fashion magazine for free, for a time period of 3 months, however, she admitted her parents pay her rent and bills and therefore can afford to work for free if it is what it means to create contacts and get recognised. Although, some without lots of money do this, but they then have to pick up an extra job on top to make ends meet, and even then there is no guarantee of a paying job at the end. I was disgusted to find that one of the companies had up to 20 unpaid interns performing proper jobs over a 3 month period, meaning that the company reaps all the benefits and will potentially only take on one of the twenty interns.
I also read a blog post related to the television programme, that in a sense had a different opinion to myself, as I do see it as a money problem, however, this post talks about not blaming the private schools and company recruitment systems but looking to the aspirations of individuals and not ‘throwing money’ at schemes to fix the problem. There are some points I do agree with such as, it is an individuals aspirations that carry them through but, I believe that money is an aid, it is a helping hand to see your aspirations and dreams turn into a reality, and without it you will struggle an awful lot more to reach your goals.
Here is the post: http://hannoir.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/social-mobility/
So when thinking about what images I could create for my artefact to articulate my message I decided to look at images conjured up by the words; rich, poor, struggles of life, easy life and money.
STRUGGLES OF LIFE
From looking at these pictures they create the image of one man’s rubbish being another man’s treasure, but none of these pictures showed normal people like you and I which gave me the idea to look at things we overlook, such as someone making a shoe to those who receive and wear it. This also got me thinking how our everyday actions can be rich to someone less well off than I, the ability I have to make tea with hot water and clean utensils, but I will use this idea against those who get or seem to get an easy ride in life (supposedly those with money). The idea behind the everyday ‘luxuries’ being that we too have power through money but in a slightly different way. I have also listened to spoken word music to help inspire me, by an artist called ‘Majical’ via http://www.mixtapepage.com and from this I looked into having spoken word music to accompany my piece, and have searched soundcloud so that there is no copyright infringement.
*Stranded at a desolate Nevada motel during a nasty rainstorm, ten strangers become acquainted with each other when they realize that they’re being killed off one by one.* – IMDB
I’ve chosen to watch this film as it was one of the films mentioned in our seminar about mental health, and as one of my ideas is based on a true story of mental health I thought this would be a good film to watch and see how it is shot, looking at angles, focal lengths/pulls and the general shots and feel to the film.
At the beginning there are no establishing shots and a focus pull is used within the first 4 minutes to shift our focus from the telephone ringing to who then picks it up. All of the focal lengths and shots are quite close up and I think this makes it more intense as you are drawn to the personalities and recognise them as actual characters, so when things do start happening to them there is more of an element of shock, almost as if you knew that person. There are lots more elements used within this film to make it that more realistic for the audience , for example, there are a lot of pan and tracking shots when in the hotel rooms, making it feel as if you are there trapped and all you can do is look around to what is there, it captures the audiences attention and doesn’t let go. The angles of the shots also make you feel apart of the story as there are no birds eye view shots and definitely no over the head shots when the characters are stood up, most of the shots are level with the characters to create the feel that you are equal to them and put in in the same position. The other shots are from below looking up at an angle towards the characters, and as we don’t yet know who the murder is it makes us too, feel like we are victims of all this violence. The only long shots there is, is for place establishment for example when the cars are on the road you can see that they are in the middle of nowhere, and again with the motel establishing shot showing that it is isolated, and therefore making the audience feel even more trapped. The lighting is very intense with shadows on the face and at points with only light in the background or foreground forcing everything else to be cast in shadow or darkness, creating a real creepy and eerie atmosphere.
When planning shooting my film I will have to think very precisely about lighting as I will wan to it to be quite dark as it is a dark and deep story, I will also have to think about the close ups and focus pulls of objects and faces for more intensity, but not only this as I will have to consider the angles I want to use and why, to keep continuity through out the film, or could my film possibly be disjointed like the mind of someone who is mentally unwell? This film has given me a lot to think about in terms of planning and shooting my own film which is good as my ideas may/will change more than once to find a style that fits.