I’ll be putting in sessions this fall to get a bunch of sites-in-progress going. First of all, I’ll do a big push for www.vidtionary.com — this is a video dictionary website I’ve been making for English language learners. I’ve also finally gotten around to do some work on the archive for the magazine Space Age Bachelor which I used to write and edit. I am also generating some new writing for efeele, a magazine/website devoted to the audio and the visual.
With a new version of iTunes coming out this month, I invite you to take a closer look at the old one.
Video: DoAn Forest
Music: “MoNSooN.” – a song from the alnum MeMoRieS FRoM THe FuTuRe. by mÌиdT૦UcHbE▲Ts.
made in September 2012
About this video:
I found myself fascinated by this bucket standing alone on this rooftop across the alley under the window of my Seoul apartment. There was something deeply satisfying about seeing this full bucket overflowing. The circle of the rim seemed to be a portal. The surface of the water seemed to speak a truth of the universe.
A few days previously, I’d downloaded a recent album by a beat-maker extraordinaire named MiNdToUcH. Without looking at song titles, the track “MoNSooN.” caught my attention. I saw the three ‘o’s of monsoon and thought of the circular rim of the bucket. (This almost became a very typographic-focussed video.)
The song, with its three distinct sections, called out for a completely different treatment in each section. The first part feels meditative and balanced; the middle floats; and the end comes unhinged. Im the video, I wanted to keep a sense of continuity in space; I also wanted to not make myself be limited by own footage, or, in other words, to let the song guide me into territory my own video footage wouldn’t necessarily reach. So, I began with my own cinema, my own bucket (well, technically, my neighbor’s bucket), then I looked in through the window upon the cinema of another, and finally let the cinema be invaded.
I want to give credit to some of the inspirations. First, the MiNdToUcH track; this is definitely a video that would not exist in this shape or form if it weren’t for the track. The music suggested the scenes, rather than being pinned to scenes already set. For the second part, I wanted something sexy and rainy; and, fortunately, a Korean film I’d seen fifteen years previously at the 1997 Vancouver International Film Festival came to mind: Motel Cactus, photographed by Christopher Doyle. I love how this entire film stayed in the same motel room, giving the viewer the time to also get to know the space itself. For the final part, I sampled scenes from the video game Call of Duty Black Ops, using the Kowloon map. As a non-video gamer, what led me to this? Well, just a month before at the 2012 Seoul Exis Film Festival, I saw a film by video artist Ip Yuk Yiu called “Another Day of Depression in Kowloon.” In this film, he took ambient scenes from this same game, turning it into a thoughtful, meditative exploration of space; rather than scenes of war, it was just spacey, still-camera scenes of rain filling the cracked textures of the virtual Kowloon. Seeing this film, my eyes were opened to the idea that video games could be a rich source of cinema (and, yes, I am aware that YouTube is filled with Machinima clips, so I know I’m late to this idea). Here, I didn’t actually sample the Ip Yuk Yiu film, because I wanted something more stalkerish, frenetic, and suspenseful. By the way, I went crazy with the filters in Final Cut Pro X to reinvent the look of the game.
There’s one more thing I want to mention about the first part; when the video cuts away from the roof and the bucket and shows the floating texts, “The earth reflects heavens,” this is footage of a temporary art installation that was at Sun Yat-Sen Gardens in Vancouver in Fall 2011. I filmed it on a rainy day, but it wasn’t just the rainy connection I wanted to make; to me, the wisdom the words was the wisdom of the bucket. The artist’s website is here: http://www.yoonhyungmin.com/heaven-and-earth/
… also check out a video I made two years, documenting a MiNdToUcH recording session in January 2011: http://www.doanforest.com/2011/01/mindtouch-minor-intrusion-sesson/ (or here’s the YouTube Link)
(EDIT MORE LATER) About the video: I juxtaposed footage from 1939 World Fair, bombings of Hiroshima/Germany, and a 1946 atomic test. The background is a projection of the earlier Melancholy edit onto an electronic junk sculpture I was making (but subsequently didn’t finish). Also, the fireworks theme. Basically, it’s about human need/love for artificial light, fire, and the destructive darkness of the light we cherish.
About the Video:
Music by: Stu Reed
50% of the shots in this video are my own; the other 50% are from the Getty archive of stock footage (most notably, the shot of the dancer comes from the stock archive). For the sake of a contest, I was given access to that huge library. Needless to say, some stellar works were created, and this particular video got lost in the shuffle. I can live with that; I was just happy to get to browse and download from that archive.
Here’s the full description of the video that went with the contest entry:
“From the earliest days of cinema until now, the image of the sun shining through trees is a much featured shot. It could indicate travel from A to B, the soul trying to escape the woods, restless longings, or the brain cutting in and out. The sun-through shot is quintessentially cinematic, with its flickering tension of light and dark. Video artist DoAn Forest has acquired a rather large collection of sun-through shots, and access to Getty Images provided the chance to smoothly link all this footage together. Here, the sun’s bursts get locked into the soaring melody, a melody which finally gave these stray shots a purpose, provided by musician Stu Reed.”
Of additional note, in case it is not totally obvious, I was really trying to make the sun bursts time with the music – not an easy task, and I became increasingly less careful about this as the editing went on. But, here I’ll embed the first test sequence of this idea: