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Unit 2: Externally Set


Theme: Rhythms & Cycles

Unit 2

 Unit 2 is an externally set assignment.

 Through a series of lectures, discussions,
visits and workshops you will develop ideas,
experiment with techniques/resources,
Record your work and discoveries and finally
present your final outcome/s through the
creation of a moving image work and
supporting materials (sketchbook).
Assessment Objectives

 Develop your ideas through sustained and

focused investigations informed by contextual
and other sources, demonstrating analytical
and critical understanding.

 Experiment with and select appropriate

resources, media, materials, techniques and
processes, reviewing and refining your ideas
as your work develops.
Assessment Objectives
 Record in visual and/or other forms ideas,
observations and insights relevant to your
intentions, demonstrating an ability to reflect
on your work and progress

 Present a personal, informed and meaningful

response demonstrating critical
understanding, realising intentions and,
where appropriate, making connections
between visual, oral or other elements.
Preparatory Studies

 As before your preparatory studies will be

your pre-production materials and Film
tasks/experiments. (sketchbook & Portfolio
Preparatory Studies
 Your sketchbook should show
 Your development of your personal response to the theme
(Passions & Obsessions)
 The continued development and progression of your ideas
 Test shots or photographs of techniques of filming or conceptual
 Critical review and reflection, recording your thoughts, decisions
and development of ideas
 Wide and thorough research into appropriate sources (artists,
artworks, films, photographers, etc)
 Visual and written analyses rather than descriptive writing or

 Your preparatory studies will be used to

produce an outcome/s under exam conditions.
 This will take the form of an 8 hour editing and
post-production exam.
 Examinations will commence from 03/05/10
The Theme: Rhythms &
 The Cycles of life, death, decay and rebirth have
continuously provided a wealth of inspiration for
artists, designers and craft workers.
 City skylines are transformed as buildings are torn
down and then rebuilt, cranes stand like sentinels
over the rubble and steel skeletons of architects’
new visions. Urban cityscapes pulse with neon
illuminations as the evening’s entertainments begin.
The streets throng with partygoers before the bustle
dies away in the early hours to give a brief
moment’s peace before the dawn breaks with the
rumble of recycling lorries, crashing and clanging
through the deserted streets…
Tension and Release
 One way to look at the theme is to consider the effects of different
editing speeds or patterns.

 Karen Pearlman suggests "All of the tools, the choreographic

processes, and the editor's sources of intuitive knowledge about
editing a film's rhythm are used by editors in service of fulfilling
rhythm's purposes in film... What are the functions of rhythm in film?
… the functions of rhythm are to create cycles of tension and
release and to synchronize the spectator's physical, emotional, and
cognitive fluctuations with the rhythms of the film."

(Karen Pearlman, 05 March 2008, The Art of the Guillotine)

 http://folksonomy.org.uk/?keyword=1363
Rhythmic cutting
 ‘Music videos do not need to have plot changes or character changes
to feel fast paced; instead, they can have lots of cuts and/or lots of
camera moves’.
 ‘In “ Come Together ” played by The Tinku Band (Luke Eve/More
Sauce Productions, 2007), these six stills, and ten others, all flash by
in the first second of the music video at a rate of one or two frames
 ‘The editor, Katie Flaxman, weaves together diverse ideas (expressed
in simple graphics) into a sequence of lateral associations with the
song’s lyrics that is almost subliminal on first viewing because of its
extremely fast pace’.
 (Karen Pearlman, 05 March 2008, The Art of the Guillotine)
 http://folksonomy.org.uk/?keyword=1363

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY_YPPSFDpM
Henry Hills
 A more experimental approach to rhythmic cutting
can be found in the work of American filmmaker
Henry Hills.
 A New York filmmaker, Henry Hills formed a strong
alliance with the Downtown improvisers and the
"Language" poets in the 70’s. These musical,
language based and improvisational influences,
guided his film work toward a rhythmic, multi-layered
works filled with unpredictable changes and a striking
improvisational edge.
 Below is a collection of his work
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hi3Bwwa5-hw
Elephant, 2003 Dir. Gus Van
 The Director Gus Van Sant relies on long takes,
stedicam shots and minimal editing to reflect his
characters who are often trapped or facing inescapable
 In his film Elephant a 2003 American drama film Sant
uses these techniques to chronicle the events
surrounding a school shooting, based in part on the
1999 Columbine High School massacre.
 The film takes place a short time before the shooting
occurs, following the lives of several characters both in
and out of school, who are unaware of what is about to
Elephant Clip
 Watch the clip from Elephant. Note down how the
pace of the film creates a particular mood.
 Think about the use of sound/music
 Does the filming style allow you to see any details or
reflect on the story in a different way?
 Would a different rhythm have created a different
 Why do you think the film is called Elephant?
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaHDf-m1sSo
 ‘In Elephant the ‘deliberate calm’ ‘creates a certain tension, without […] any
perceptible change in the rhythm or […] pace of events’ in the film tension
builds, threateningly, in anticipation of a future event’.
 ‘Fragments upon fragments of minute, ordinary actions are performed and
shown in an unhurried pace that fills us with increasing suspicion. This feeling is
hard to define. What is the source of this increasingly chilly atmosphere that
surrounds us? Of course, we know the story. We know what’s coming. This is
why we can register certain signs here and there (the spleen, the sadness, or
jealousy of the kids), then the more explicit, short little flashes of viewing Nazi
documents, of getting weapons through the Internet, and a rather ominous
moment when the kid with the most gentle face is writing down notes, sizing up
the cafeteria with a view toward a future use. Of course, all this illustrates the
mysterious nature of accumulation: how odd that we should hardly perceive the
approach of danger (turbulence), yet somehow we do sense it, experience it.
We collect the signals that anticipation can feed on. Not one of these is strong
enough to serve as a direct explanation of the massacre. These scattered
moments mentioned above blend into a faceless time of other time-killing
 Referenced from: http://unspokenjournal.com/i-tarr/vital-rhythms/
Capturing Time

 Our experience of the world is made up of

our acknowledgement of the rhythms and
cycles of life.
 Film, the documenting of time is ideally
placed to reflect on our conception of time.
Mathew Moore
 Mathew Moore is a Visual artist and a farmer. His work seeks to reflect
on the effects of modernization on individuals and on our landscape.
Overtly, he reflects on our desire to change the natural rhythms and
cycles of our world for the sake often of convenience.

 ‘Within five years, my home (this land) will transform into suburbia. As a
farmer and an artist, I display the realities of this transition in order to
rationalize and document my displacement from the land on which I was
raised. The trials and tribulations of American agriculture, its roles in
contemporary globalization, and its questionable ecological practices
create a foundation for my explorations. By displaying the past and
future of the farm, I have used our land to explore similarities between
commercial agriculture and suburbia, which reveal their social, cultural
and economic impacts locally, nationally and internationally.
Documenting the reality of land and appetite from agriculture to
suburbia, the decisions of our society reveal consumer models that
make us disobedient to our relationship with land and time.

 Watch the clip of Lifecycles by Moore. He uses Time-

lapse photography to reflect on the changes and
transformations of an area of land from his farm.

 http://www.urbanplough.com/work.php

 You can find more about the artist here

 http://www.urbanplough.com/work.php
Task & Viewing
 Task – Look at the work and career of Doug Aitken and reflect on how
his work could be seen to reflect on Rhythms and Cycles
 Watch and make notes on Electric Earth.
 Read the handout to help you.
 Complete the analysis for homework and add it to the notes
section at the back of your new Unit 2 sketchbook.
Mind mapping

 Think how you want to address the theme

and begin to create a mind map around your
 Have a look at the link below for inspiration
on creating interesting mind maps.
 http://www.mindmapinspiration.com/top-10/
Other Artists to consider

 Stan Brakhage
 Bill Viola
 Mathew Barney
 Godfrey Reggio