An exercise in visualization

For this particular project, I am going to explore the concept of space from the perspective of visual memory and the minds ability to create environments. I am fascinated by how our brain is able to construct vivid events and spaces with the help of a catalyst, which triggers the imagination. This catalyst could come through any one of our five senses, but I am choosing to focus on sound, and the spoken word. Our language has the ability to describe events and environments in extreme detail, thus allowing the listener to envisions the spaces for himself. I am interested in the fact that a group of people, listening to the same story, would each visualize the space in their own unique way, completely different from everyone else. These imaginary spaces are forever imprinted in our minds, and will be on par with an actual memory for the person, until the real space is visited or experienced first hand, if possible. My project will consist of a short film, which I am planning on shooting, acting in, and editing myself, combined with audio recordings of different people reading specifically selected texts. The goal will be to create an inner dialogue of conflicting and interweaving stories and experiences, which will challenge the listeners in attempting to create an impossible visual space. The voices, will slowly layer on top of one another, and will begin to create a tense and illogical narrative of the figure in the film. For the texts, I am selecting a few books from my personal library, The Joyous Cosmology by Allan Watts being a main contributor. In it, the author, who is a world-leading investigator of the psychology of religion, experiments with mind-altering substances. I selected this particular book not to focus on hallucinogenic experiences or the drug culture, but rather because of the abundance of extremely detailed visions and internally created spaces, which the author describes first hand.

“Leaves, green with the pale, yellow-fresh green that I remember from the spring times of my childhood in Kentish spinneys, where breaking buds were spotted all over the hazel branches in a floating mist. Within them, trunks, boughs, and twigs moist black behind the sunlit green. Fuchsia bushes, tangled traceries of stalks, intermingled with thousands of magenta ballerinas with purple petticoats. And, behind all, towering into the near-twilight sky, the grove of giant eucalyptus trees with their waving clusters of distinctly individual, bamboo like leaves.”

 The Joyous Cosmology –Allan Watts

 There was another idea that I had, which I might still explore in regards to the readers. I wanted to ask some of them to write a personal memory of a space, and use that in combination with the text from the books. Any thoughts?

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4 Responses to An exercise in visualization

  1. This sounds good, Serge. I think adding the memories of others may confuse things a bit. You made it clear why you ate using Watts’s writing, but it’s not clear why you would include another’s (the class’s?) written memories. If you’d like to recast the project to include others, I’d toss Watt and make it about them instead.

    I’m going to press you on presentation again. How do you propose to present this video, other than just projecting it on a big screen?

  2. Yea I agree, I wouldn’t do both. The only reason I brought up including other peoples visualizations is because I thought it might be interesting to see how different people remember memories or spaces, and how they would individually go about describing them. But I think I will stick with Watts.

    As for the presentation, I think the big screen would work the best. It might be interesting to project the video unto a specific and empty space, filling it up with this narrative and vision, but given the lighting in the Art Lab, its hard to find a room that would allow a projection to be seen clearly. I could think of a few spots outside of school I could do the projection, but I don’t think we have time for a field trip.

  3. To clarify the previous point, the written memories I would collect would be the actual people reading them. Not the class.

  4. I love your idea Serge. Including texts being read seems really relevant to me because as an avid reader, I read to create imaginary environments. I think if you are trying to confuse the audience by having readings of a specific text while watching a different video, you will achieve the impossible space you wanted.

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