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A3 FINAl

I wanted to capture trauma, something intense enough in a one minute film to be consumed again and again. I represent this through flashes of memory and discovery.

I was inspired by black and white suspense films like Hitchcock. The approach of the eye was designed to draw you in, make you feel voyeuristic.

The loop structure was carried across from my first piece, but Nolan’s Mementos film was a major influence on the structure, colour design, and time deconstruction.

Thematically I was inspired by Del Toro’s Pans Labyrinth. The fairytale-like structure, with hints of magic realism, it conveys how I perceive the world and how i feel about the topic of where I’m from.

The piece moves with the music, the subject, and the camera movement. I captured calmness with a back drop of dread, movements pulled from Fincher’s Gone Girl, my Audio from assessment 2 was repurposed.

 

 

A1 BLUE: Remoscope

 

I became fixated on the notebook I was writing in while exploring Lyon’s poem Where I’m from. A Notebook (or journal) has highlighted critical points of reflection in my life so I used the notebook as a connection through the piece – while highlighting the colour blue as an inspiration from Yasujirô Ozu’s obsession with red. All of the shots were framed within my car – constrained to the Lumiere rules – to disconnect the interior (and the subject) from the exterior (and the subject’s memories). I alternated between stillness and movement, juxtaposing the two in increasing frequency of cuts, to evoke a sense of remembering and haunting. I also paired extreme emotion with silence, as Zhou points out in his video essay on ‘The Art of Silence’, to create a “numbing effect”. Both of these techniques produce a tension between the subject and the audience. There is a sense of linearity but it’s still remains unclear how it’s temporally structured.

 

an aside:

After completing the project I took away a literal interpretation of the narrative: 
it symbolised the frustration of parking at University. Enough said.

References:

2007, Remoscope, ‘The Lumiere Rules’
Lyon, G E, Where I’m From
Zhou, T, 2014 ‘Martin Scorsese – The Art of Silence’, Every Frame a Painting

Prodding existential crises

When my internal dialogue slips into the negative realm (of despair), I believe its the best opportunity to prod myself with mental enquiries: why is life “life”? What do you want to do with your existence? Does it matter anyway? I suppose I am torturing myself, but it returns some of the best insights into my life. I am fortunate enough to be capable of doing so. I have close relationships to individuals who wouldn’t prod themselves in the same way. To them, their anxiety disorder or diagnosed depression could be worsened via further negative thoughts. I suppose this is true, I am inclined to test out the outcomes of their hypothesis on them, but I care for them too much to pressure them either way.

I provoke my existentialism like fire. On occasion it burns me, or perhaps scares me, but often I’m in awe of its appearance. I have a strong mental state – it rarely wavers.  My outlook on my existence is daring and hopeful, as I am training to make the biggest impact I can. Bare with me as I bolster an image of strength, of optimism, and happiness in my life – before I detail a rather crude perspective on life in general. Life is good.

Except

Life is overall negative, at least it seems that way. I’m not suffering, at least not comparative to others (I’m a privileged white male). But I retain the outlook that life is suffering, it’s sad, pessimistic, and hard to deal with. Life by default is negative, a quality I’ve learnt that philosophical thinkers of antinatalism share. When I mean life, I don’t mean simply your interactions with life, I mean the slither of life that’s cut from an infinite slab of atoms. The unknown before and after makes me fell dull about the opportunity life offers. Like the hand of a (father) god came down and handed me a single penny “Don’t waste it all, kid.” Between these unknowns is a greater opportunity for misery, the balance of joy and fear is unbalanced. As unhappy a conclusion this may seem, I am rather happy with life. I do not deny that life contains beauty, that life itself is fascinating. But to have lived or not to have lived – I lean towards not. I don’t have suicidal thoughts – I explore the idea of how I might die: the implications, the process, the feeling, the hypothetical nothing. But I do not desire it. On the contrary, I repulse the idea of death – as much as its mystery fascinates me it also makes me screw up my hands and shout fuck you.

I do not want death, not for myself nor for anyone. But life, life is haunting and brutal. I can focus on the positives, I can do good, I intend to help, and change the world for the better (at least better in terms of living). But only my actions and others are positive. Everything else is bleak and suffering. Death is the ultimate conclusion of “Why bother”. Why do I continue to bother, I haven’t truly discovered. For now bothering to change the world makes me happy.

***

With this bleak backdrop to life, understanding my purpose in life, my relationships, my feelings, and existence itself, throws me into weariness. Not as much as some might, but it does affect me. I’m not a depressive person, but lingering in the grounds of existence leads to micro-crises. Daily bouts of anxiety and doom, depressed thoughts that ring internally loud and clear. My fortune is they rarely affect my external interaction with life. However once I hear the ringing of a micro-crisis I ring it louder and louder. So far, my mental state has been stable enough to withstand the provocation of my crises. It may be dangerous, I’m not sure – but it feels like handling a dangerous animal; its danger is beautiful. My curiosity is to see how one thought might affect it over another. I learn more from prodding my inner quarrels, letting some fall away into the known and others to snap out. Is this how most philosophers feel? After introspective queries they must emerge tired and bleak.

After my recent bout of a micro-crisis, it’s fitting that I came across an article by Venkatesh Rao advocating mid-life crises: freak out early and freak out often (FEFO). Some of Rao thoughts lead to big picture perspectives, and acknowledging the insignificance of your story. But I felt that Rao intended these conclusions to be positive, that ultimately the more FEFOs you endure the stronger your outlook is. Read it, it’s a good. The same perspective I came away from his article I intend to express (poorly) in this article.

***

So I am fine. I am fine with torturing myself. I am fine with life. I am fine with existence, until the next freak out.

Do more with Audiobooks

Audiobooks now fill up the silence in my days. Whether I’m cleaning the house, driving, or going to the gym; I start playing an audiobook. I’ve increased my reading from 3 books last year, to almost a book a week this year. But reading audiobooks did more than increase the amount of books I’ve read. It made starting and completing those mundane habitual tasks an exciting prospect. Instead of dreading the time wasted, I look forward to the time I can read while completing tasks. Overall I’m learning more and more every day, in whatever spare time I have.

First, find yourself a pair of lightweight and durable headphones – mine are bluetooth wireless (no cables allow for freedom of movement). That way you can hang them around your neck wherever you go and read your audiobook whenever possible.

Also, lets make this clear: listening to audiobooks is reading. Why? Because visual and auditory systems are similar cognitive processes. So much so, that our listening comprehension correlates with our reading comprehension. But why read an audiobook and not a physical book? I love audio books for the times when I have free working memory available but I can’t hold a book. When we practice habitual skills like putting on clothes, driving, or cleaning the dishes, the working memory required to perform and think about the process is minimal.

This is because we have synthesised and compacted the thinking required to perform the task due to a cognitive process called chunking. Our brain chunks information by forming neural patterns that it can recall and use more efficiently in the future. In effect, habitual skills utilise very little chunks of working memory, and therefore do not constrain our information bottleneck, allowing for our attention to be divided to something else: like audiobooks. Whenever you have free working memory, and it’s safe to put some of your attention into reading, play an audiobook. I was surprised by the amount of times throughout the day I could spend reading

So, besides reading many more books a year, reading audiobooks taught me some important learning principles.

The big lesson I learnt was audiobooks became the best incentive and reward for completing tasks. The main reason I started listening to audiobooks was to enjoy my driving trips to work. Before this, I had hated driving. But I soon began looking forward to driving only to get back into the book. Now, audiobooks compel me to complete or continue any task that is habitual. It altered my belief about the value of committing to any task, and relieved some of my bad procrastination habits.  So, use your audiobook to incentivise completing boring, repetitive, habitual tasks.

Secondly, by focussing on the potential time I could spend on reading an audiobook, the idea of completing the task didn’t seem as daunting. By focusing on the process of performing a task, and not the product, I felt comfortable starting any task. From a learning perspective, the concept of process over product is a useful technique for overcoming procrastination. It avoids visualising work as an end goal and shifts your efforts into miniature working stints. Through focussing on the process I also became very good at gauging how long tasks might take based on the amount I had read.

Finally, audiobooks have contributed to improving my life-long learning habits and broadening my passions. Time to read and learn was always there, but I didn’t know how to utilise it. I’d been procrastinating for years on reading book after book. I’d always desired to read, but I just never prioritised it.  Audiobooks has become a surprisingly important tool in my day to day life. The first place I started from was finding a book on the shelf that I kept telling myself I would read. Download a copy from the library, Audible, or wherever you can find a copy, and start reading today.