video & audience part 4 (week 8: testing my boundaries)

video open calls: continuing to test my video work related to landscape, body and gender with an audience, i came across a curious/challenging open call which i was interested in exploring. this open call is for 2 or 3 festivals – the ‘one off film festival’, ‘leap second festival’ (i think?) and will also be part of the ’60 second festival – human versus nature’, which i submitted video work to last week.

video open call 4: ‘one second movies’ for ‘one off moving image festival’ brief: open call for original works of 1 second duration, no credits, about human vs nature – human interaction with nature (part of or detached), 4×3 aspect ratio, mp4/gif formats (web-compatible). while i saw no mention if no sound on the brief, all examples seem to be silent like the brief for ’60 seconds festival’. location: public spaces in valentia spain, gol norway and locations in denmark as part of the ’60 second festival’. dates: february 18-24 2019. cost: none. deadline: 1st feb. link:*

process: over the last year i have been collecting film footage from inside looking out. i guess i was interested in working with these recordings because they seemed to say something about being detached from the landscape beyond yet also directly linked to the landscape through the act of looking. the impetus to record them has been a mixture of wanting to look at the relationship between the outdoor landscape from inside or a domestic setting, domesticity a trope of gendered space. in particular, i seem to be also drawn to recording the landscape through a window in wet conditions as the rain falling on the picture plane plays with and distorts the view of the landscape beyond. from inside, there is also a sense of shelter looking out which alters domesticity from a place of confinement to a safe place, confined if anything by weather. i began by selecting 4 of these recordings and edited them within the duration of 1 second (24 frames). it amazes me how working at this scale – frame by frame, there is a lot of scope to develop a narrative or composition. i experimented with breaking the footage up into 3 second and then 6 seconds, increasing and decreasing the frames at different scales of near and far and changing the light intensity and colour saturation of the frames. with such free range to experiment, i felt it could become very busy visually and was caught between trying to arrest attention in a short time frame and staying true to the essence of the original film footage and its visual quality. i already felt the rain wa naturally making changes to the visual quality and colour of the landscape so i worked with ‘less is more’ in the back of my mind in terms of editing, deciding to limit one new editing element to the film footage rather than multiple. for the first film i divided the film in stepped increases of scale and left all other elements unedited. for the second i left all of the film unedited and overlaid text related to a mediated experience of landscape – a google search like the glass of a window itself. even when paring back and trying to keep it simple, it seems i still have to go through a whole sequence of dos and undos before i reach a more uncluttered visual language that i am happy with.

so, after spending the last few evenings on the film shorts i sent 2 x 1 second videos – ‘screen saver one’ with a sequence of scaled frames of near and far. ‘screen saver two’ with a layer of text. i titled the works ‘screen saver’ because i see connections between the window as a point of contact and separation between me and the landscape and i also see my video work on the screen as a point of contact and separation between me and the experience of looking at the landscape. in relation to this unlikely open call process, it created an opportunity to add a new dimension  to my landscape and i work and put it into some kind of shape which reinforces and expands some of the things i have been thinking about – namely, landscape and lens as a mediated practice and as an embodied practice.

when it came to actually submitting the work, as the videos are short, they could be added as an email attachment which was given on the brief information. i included a little info about me and my work also even though not required.

loop of 1 second short film ‘screen saver one’ (©elaine crowe 2019)

stills from ‘screen-saver one’ (© elaine crowe 2019)

loop of second short film ‘screen saver two’ (© elaine crowe 2019)

next steps: commiting to the open call process has been really fruitful and i realise that there are many opportunities to reach and audience for both my print and video work. although there is no guarantee that the work will always be accepted, the process helps me to put shape to my work and articulate what my work is about. while some open call briefs are prescriptive, others are open enough to allow me to continue to develop work that i am excited by and interested in. i guess i will get better at being selective about what i submit and commit to in time. even the more prescriptive briefs have allowed me to bring something new to the mix of how i work and also stay true to what i want to make and do. not to get comfortable, i am now gearing myself to test my boundaries of where and how i could reach an audience without the scaffold of an open call and will spend next week brainstorming where, what, when and how this could be and gather materials accordingly.

postscript: i just got an email of acceptance and notification that both of these one second videos are part of the festival programme yesterday. reaching an audience feels so good. 2019-01-2908.38.58

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