At university I’ve ended up working on several video pieces, most of them very fun to work at. Here are some of them, all created as part of some assignment.
Gaten is a work that had to comply with the conditions of being about the human body, and of incorporating as a theme either ball, string, box, or bag. We went with string (amounting to not much but an initial pretext,) and our answer was devising a human swing. We just took it over the top.
This video, which I titled when uploading to Vimeo An experiment in high-speed filming, is the result of a process of doing just that, but then trying to use the technique acquired for expressive purposes. The concept is of a —I struggle with what to call it— metadiegesis in which us students act ourselves, and, well, saying further would be spoiling it. Despite what the above might suggest, it is a lowbrow, hackneyed little video that we still enjoyed putting together.
I’ve been applying for a Master’s at the Tokyo University of the Arts, a program called “New Media”. In typical Japanese fashion, there’s innumerable hoops I need to hop through for that. One of the steps involved the submission of a physical DVD-Video with a sample of my work (along with other documents), so I created a reel of some of the stuff I’ve made that I like. It’s five minutes long and is comprised of nothing new, but here it is.
I just came back from Japan, after spending six months improving my Japanese there at a language school and generally enjoying being in such a culturally interesting environment. I made tons of friends, Japanese and from countless other countries; it was extremely stimulating.
The place I lived at was a small city called Ueda, located in a valley in the mountainous Nagano prefecture. If you asked someone from one of the bigger cities in Japan, they’d say where I lived was what they call inaka, the countryside. But would you ask the people who had lived there their whole lives, or in one of the surrounding, smaller cities and towns, they would say no, that’s not inaka. Of course, me coming from a pretty large city, the place was small and cozy; refreshingly so. I started using Vine —the short video recording app— during this trip, so here are some of the best ‘moving photos’ I captured from those places.
I decided to make a new video, as an exercise. A quickie—took me two days. Another music video, but this one is for a song I made myself a good while ago, together with Matt Peter.
I used a few family photos from the late eighties, playing up their graininess and color patterns. Their texture made for a much less mechanic-looking set of kaleidoscopic compositions than what is probably the norm. It was also my intention to play with alternately obscuring and revealing the nature of the images, hiding them in the geometry, and slowly giving way to recognizable objects and people. The middle section is intentionally psychedelic, switching to meet the mood of the music. Toward the end it’s much more of a nostalgic slide-show of memories.
For a few days around Christmas, I went to Lican Ray, a small lake town toward the south of Chile. This is the place I used to spend my summers at with my cousins and my grandmother, back a good few years. This summer it was my first time there in a while, so I decided to make a video, also taking the chance to use my new Zoom H2 to capture the environmental sounds. The video was composed out of sequences of photos, whose resolution made it possible to make it my first HD video. I attempted a sort of time capsule, showing the things that have changed in Lican Ray, and that will definitely change in the future.
Made this video quite a while ago, but neglected to post it here. It was made for an art exhibition (Expo Arte y Bicicleta) open to submissions by anyone, and in pretty much any format (other than video, it included paintings, sculptures, volumetric collages, music, poetry…), as long as it featured the bicycle in some way. Fun idea. I quickly made this with recycled footage from Volcano. I love these kinds of collages, as you can see here and here. In the end, the one day I visited the exhibition (which was in a public area in a Metro station, here in Santiago), the projector that was supposed to rotatively display the videos wasn’t even on. Ah, well.
Also with stuff from Volcano, but more recently (just five days ago) I made this 5 by 5: five clips, five seconds in length. A quickie, just for fun.
I made this video for a local competition of short format videos, called Nanometrajes. Sadly, I couldn’t come up with anything to make, until it was already only a few days until the deadline, so I came up with a simple plan. I didn’t have a video camera (the one I use usually is my dad’s), so I’d have to animate. I decided to use my photo camera to capture the zooming shots you see in the video, taking two steps between each frame. Since I didn’t have much of a story or context, I decided to make these oneiric, and basically make it all the interpretation of a dream. That’s how I came up with the narration, which, translated, goes as follow:
I dreamt that, in a fish tank, there was a whale. Every fish wanted to be eaten by it—they crowded in front of its mouth. The rush was such, that, shortly, only the whale was left in the fish tank. Alone, and without sustenance, the whale died.
I thought that a fable was perfect to complement visuals that didn’t have much to do with it. I meant it to represent the metropolis, but it can be read in several ways.
The other sounds all came from my own mouth. I used a Nintendo DS and NitroTracker to sample my voice, and to structure the sounds into what you hear. The video was made using After Effects. This whole project was completed in around 10 hours. […]
I had the opportunity to hear Jem Cohen talk three times in the past three days. The first was a supposed ‘master class’, which was really just a talk, where he was accompanied by Guy Picciotto (of Fugazi) and Todd Griffin, both musicians. The talk was called Another kind of music, and it was about the way he approaches filmmaking in relation to sound and music. One of his insights was that making films can be a bit like making music; there’s rhythm, texture, and other sensory elements in the mix, beside the more evident aspect of narrative that is most films’ core. He also said that the way he shoots his footage is akin to a musician’s improvisation.
He showed some of his short films/videos, or fragments of them. One of those was Little flags, which will give you an idea of what he does. The truth is, I went to this talk not knowing anything about this man, other than him being a filmmaker, and his link to music. For, you see, he seems to often work with musicians, or simply make sound a vital part of his work. The day before that talk, I was seeing Avi Mograbi’s Z32 while one of Jem’s works was being screened elsewhere, called Ciudad de México por azar, with simultaneous live music by the aforementioned musicians, plus DJ Rupture and Andy Moor. I didn’t know this event was taking place, or I would have been there, especially after seeing Chain the evening after the talk, which was already a day too late anyway. Chain is a feature-length, sharp, documentary-like view on the culture of consumerism. After the screening of that movie, he was there to answer questions and talk a bit about it.
He’s here in Chile because of Sanfic, the Santiago International Film Festival, which has been my chance to see some new films, and also hear the directors talk about them, which is quite an interesting experience. The final time I saw Jem was after a showing of a few of his shorts, including Lost book found, most likely the highlight among the bunch. In this short, he tells his story of what it was like being a push cart vendor in the city, and his discovery of a notebook that was filled with a strictly categorized, but seemingly nonsensical, list of numbers, places, things, situations related to the city. I asked him whether the story was real, to which he said it partially was. He refused to say if the book ever existed.
In 2006, for my workshop course in that year’s first semester, I created a graphic work that ironized technology and how the Monkey King (humanity) wreaks havoc on Earth through its lack of restraint and its egocentrism. The next semester I was to base an animation on that work.
This was a semester-long project (it kind of doesn’t show, due to a long preliminary process) for Sebastián Skoknic and Bryan Phillips’s course. Other than being my longest animation since, it marks the first time I ever did anything resembling sound design; I even splashed a bit in the tub to get some water sounds. The most interesting part was using the Game Boy Camera (thus the Game Boy sound hardware) for the electronic noise, which I think worked very well.
The subject of this piece remains the same as the one it’s based on, though I didn’t make any specific references to video games this once, just computers.