Archive for the 'Research for spectacle' Category


UPDATE… Lesbians, Tears and Thought


The scariest thing about that statement is it did, mine anyways. Just to give you some line of reference to me I grew up i a multicultural school in more ways than one! One of my oldest friends is homosexual, a lesbian to be exact she has been since she was about 14, about the second year of high school. We have been friends since about the time she first started to come out and I have seen her with her fair share of girlfriends, all shapes, sizes and personalities. Yet even thought I have seen this world before it still shocks me (when I feel deep down it shouldn’t) when I see a lesbian couple in a cafeteria kissing.

My mind wonders if I saw too men kissing would it strike me as much? In my mind I should not have such a shocked reaction to this kind of sight as I have become accustom to it , but even in my language when I am typing this I know I find it a spectacle in itself. I am left wondering am I trained to think this way by my upbringing, by the culture I live in or is it because of the stigmatisms and stereotypes I have absorbed from the media I have consumed over the last 24 year? In my opinion it is hard to re-write stereotypes in our minds so new ground breaking shows take time to make an impact on what we have already been indoctrinated with.

The following article by Ammonia Pine 4 Me on the website, discusses representations of gays and lesbian characters in popular television, discussing

‘for the number of shows that have homosexual characters, how many of them actually deal with homosexual relationships?’ and how the entertainment industry is an industry; not a business of raising social consciousness, but a business of raising quarterly earnings for shareholders, quoted by Charles Fleming (,

Charles Fleming  teaches entertainment reporting at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism.  This article was written in  2001 and does not take into  account major changes such as Broke Back Mountain and the L word but still its got a point, for years the public has been subject to a conservative version of that particular culture leaving us venerable to surprise when we encounter reality. Perhaps why in the article it states that ‘that the media is doing nothing more than reflecting a conservative version of what the audience is telling them it likes.’ is because it is true, we still demand a certain amount of escapism from reality as I have previously blogged I actively search out escapism themed pieces of media finding it easier to digest. But would our acceptance of this culture be an issue if the media did not exert such power of what it feels we are ready for as audiences?? Take a look at the article for yourself and see if you still agree with the overall stereotypes it can be found at:

My above thoughts on this matter lead me to think about my work on spectacle, what do I want my work to reflect, in the same way that I changed my mind several time on what artefact would best show my point of view at the beginning of this blog I have changed my mind on some aspects of my thoughts towards the artefact I am creating. When I saw the couple as mentioned above in the cafe I realised no one else seamed to view it with such interest, they were not tucked away in a corner or making a deliberate display and no one cared, my work should reflect that normality/ignorance can be a spectacle in itself, what the media tells us we accept could be far different from what we actually would accept. Halloween is a prime example of this, on that night I would accept myself walking past a vampire, werewolf or zombie and as nowadays people are more likely to accept a lesbian couple in a cafe.

How I came to be in the cafe in itself has helped me to re-evaluate some of my thinking towards this project, I had been reading a book I recently picked up at a train station on my way into university. I am a judge a book by its cover person, attracted by the covers. I picked up ONLY DAD by ALAN scroll down from the following bit in red if you are about to start reading it and do not want to know a massive part fo the plot.




The book has an unexpected plot twist the wife of the main male character in the book dies, leaving him and his 16 year old Daughter alone. I have read many fo these book s and very few start off with such a pleasantry as this book did, happy families, love, lust and sex but all within the norms of the imaginary idyllic country family life. But then this mans anchor, lover, object of his lust and his entier world dies, so suddenly its horrifcly emotional.




Well I was totally sucked in by the book and distraught, bawling my eyes out on a public train, only when I reach the lecture (late due to train line failures) did I listen to Will Barton discussing spectacle and that it relies heavily on emotion. This did not dawn on me untill nicely tucked up with a diet coke and pizza in a cafe however as my exhausted brain (from the crying) had led me there. I shortly realised this whole book was designed to attack the reader emotionally and not intellectually, perhaps this is why I like it, read the following blog post I was able to agree with some of the fundamental attitudes and arguments that stem from the comments towards late David Foster Wallace’s novel Novel Infinite Jest compared to Guy DeBord work Society of a Spectacle.


This blog post excellently bats DeBour against Wallace’s more modern takes on spectacle(but you don’t need me to tell you, check it out), for example it discuss DeBour as:

‘His main shtick was that, as he says in the very first line of the book, “life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.” In other words, life is no longer something that we live, but something that we watch, primarily via the medium of TV and other forms of entertainment……….One of DeBord’s problems with a society that plops its fat collective ass in front of the Tube to live life, as opposed to say, actually going out and living life, is that it engenders an insidious passivity. The spectacle demands “passive acceptance;”…………essentially a Marxist whose Marxism was shot through with thick ropey veins of Pynchonian paranoia. DeBord blamed the current state of societal affairs solely on the machinations of the capitalist system and, importantly, those who control it. Or as he put it, “the activities of the world’s owners.” DeBord is interested in power and those who wield it, and he is convinced that powerful are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the rest of us.’

He describes one of Wallis’s fundamental differences in argument against this line of argument as:

‘Wallace’s key insight with regard to DeBordian spectacles is the way that individuals are willingly complicit in their own enslavement. We like having the DeBordian wool pulled over our eyes because its soft and fuzzy and it makes us feel good……as Wallace sees it, is tightly wound around the concepts of freedom and happiness — or, the freedom to pursue happiness at whatever cost. One of the major projects of Infinite Jest, I think, is to show how close we as a society are to taking the pursuits of freedom and happiness to their logically absurd endpoint of mindless masturbatory P-terminal enslavement. DeBord doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge that nobody would be vegging out in front of the TV if it wasn’t hugely compelling to begin with.’

Both these argument gave fuel to what I was already starting to mull around in my head that what I take part in, the vegging out in front of passive consumption television or literature is something I accept into because it makes me happy. As I previously touched upon I can find reality hard to digest so passive intake suites me down to the ground. Why should I have to be intellectually challenged when all I want to do is wind down when I switch on the television or pick up a fiction novel.

I would like my artifact to reflect this way of thinking about the passive intake of society that it is a chosen path. There are millions of things we do not intellectually engage in all around us? People are one of them, we do not analyse every individual we pass in the street, or do we?

So getting to what this blog is actually about and not all the reference I am, making to explain my thought process I am now going to lay down my idea for a stop motion animation involving a pumpkin for the artefact we are supposed to present for spectacle.





Imagine a pumpkin coming alive, it then seams to blend into normal life as if it is not some kind of monstrosity. The idea behind this is derived from other research, see my previous posts and also  the above discussions. Why should this pumpkin man be a spectacle in the world, would he could he not be automatically accepted. One point of the STOPMOTION animation would be about a sean where the pumpkin is walking through a street on seemingly slow motion or the rest of the world in a faster speed to depict an ignorance of society to him being a spectacle.




Step 1. Story board, get what I exactly want this piece to look like. (for example I am thinking about one of the shots looking at an ignorance to the spectacle by depicting a  fast forwarding of the enviroment around the pumpkin man??) 
Step 2. Shoot it, step by step 
Step 3. Photoshop time, get the shots ready for inserting into flash and get all the effects sorted as I do not think I can get one of my friends to actually put on a pumpkin so that might have to be Photoshoped on! 
Step 4. Get it into FLASH 
Step 5. Get sound sorted out. I ant the sound to work well with the animation so might need to think about this in step 1 also.

Trying out different ideas.

Practical work and research for Spectacle


My previous post talked about an idea I was playing with involving taking images of the fair that come to my home town in Banbury every October. I previously notes that I have taken images at the fair the year before and came out with varying results. This year I wanted to reproduce some of the work I had done but I also wanted to expand on this. I used similar techniques to get the images I wanted but of different attractions. I also tried a different approach to seeing the fair which I will explain later.

I intend to alter this image before using it but I wanted to display it first in the form in which it was orginally captured. Banbury Fair October 2009

I intend to alter this image before using it but I wanted to display it first in the form in which it was originally captured. Banbury Fair October 2009

Banbury fair last three days, this image was taken on the final evening after two days and nights of deciding what images I wanted and where the best places would be to get the shots I wanted. I also used the other two days and evening to collect other data such as sounds and some more generic images of the fair.

Last year I took a lot of shots that were focused on singular attractions. I felt that this image could capture the overall feel of the event as a whole. I set up the camera in a position to allow me to get a good view of at least three rides in the foreground with two rides in the background. I also wanted to get people within the shot.

I had to think carefully about the techniques I was using to capture the effect of the light because of the fact I wanted people in the shot aswell. The slower shutter speed I used the more distorted the images of the people would be. To combat this I used the two days before the final evening to find a location that had rides with small children in it and somewhere where people would have space to gather for a conversation longer than say 30 seconds. I looked for a location with children’s rides because I noticed parents tended to stand still watching their children go round and round. I also knew from living in the town that the particular area where the shot was taken was a favorite hang out for groups of teenagers who mill around. I also used a slightly faster shutter speed than in some of the other shots. After last years experimentation with this style of shooting I used a tripod from the very beginning.

I want to add some after effects to this image and see where I go but I wanted to display it as it was captured and to document some of the thinking behind the shot.

My version of painting with light using fair ground rides.

My version of painting with light using fair ground rides.

This image was taken in October 2009 at the Banbury Fair. This year I decided even before the fair arrived in town that I wanted to continue with the technique I started using a year ago but that I wanted to be braver. After looking up some of the following research I decided to try expanding my technique to using a very long shutter speed to try and get more interesting light effects. I was aware that using longer shutter speeds would increase the margin of error with my photography because of the factor of moving objects other than the subject in the line of sight of the camera could disrupt the intended effect and take emphasis away from the intended image. 

Research into Painting with Light:

I found this website by doing a Google search and found it to be very informative on different techniques that can be classed as painting with light. It also leads me to other peoples work and experiments with this technique, some of which I have also added to my list of research.

That site lead me to the following YouTube post that is animation using the painting with light technique

I found this animation to be really inspiring; I want to experiment with this technique. It seems to have a very linier line of progression without a familiar story line so it also seems quite surreal.

I have previously attempted stop motion animation using flash, I really enjoyed doing it and turned out to be quite successful for me at the time. I embedded that particular piece into a webpage that was styled around the animation to give it greater effect. This is one of the background pages used on the website that I made for the stop motion animation.

This was another one of the pages, I used photoshop to write the majority of the text so that I could have more control over the style of the writing as I found some of the font choices with HTML limiting.

This was another one of the pages, I used Photoshop to write the majority of the text so that I could have more control over the style of the writing as I found some of the font choices with HTML limiting.

I would like to improve on my previous techniques by making it less surreal and with a clearer linear plot line, that could be easily followed by the audience. I would have liked to show on this post the stop motion animation I made but for some reason I can not find a compatible version of the file to upload on to WordPress.

I also found the following website, scroll down towards the bottom and you will find the images get more and more interesting:
This was a particular image that I liked because it reminds me of some paintings by classical artists. This image is by a photographer called Dean Chamberlain. I felt like I could stare at this image for hours and still find something inspiring about it.
The light affects reminded me of some of the more biblical imagery painted by classical artists but also reflects some of the more modern pieces.

The light effects reminded me of some of the more biblical imagery painted by classical artists but also reflects some of the more modern pieces.

 I also found the following image on the same site, that lead me to the creator Toby Keller’s web page, where I viewed his work. This reminded me I had taken a similar image of light that I found really inspiring.

You can find this image and many more by the ceator at the following link:
Artist Toby Keller

Artist Toby Keller

The following image is one I have taken, it is not of the same callabour but it has a similar inspiration behind the above picture and of others you can see on Keller’s webpage.

Weymouth Beach, Charlotte Gunn 2009

Weymouth Beach, Charlotte Gunn 2009

I also wanted to look at peoples work that is not nesesarely meant to be professional, a guy who posts on flicker commented on the original website I mentioned talking about different techniques to get the same effect.

This image was found when researching painting with light. The creator Samdanpson (screen name on flicker) commented on another persons work stating that very many people use glow sticks to produce work simlar to this but he was using laser pointers to create the affects seen on his uploaded images on flicker.

This image was found when researching painting with light. The creator Samdanpson (screen name on flicker) commented on another persons work stating that very many people use glow sticks to produce work similar to this but he was using laser pointers to create the effects seen on his uploaded images on flicker.

I also found this image when looking at this particular persons work. I found it very interesting and wanted to draw reference to it for further work.

I also found this image when looking at this particular persons work. I found it very interesting and wanted to draw reference to it for further work.

My research into this technique (currently brief) has given me some brilliant inspiration and I will post up my ideas on a separate post as I have noted down a lot on this post. I am please with how the work I have done over the last week has turned out and will post more of it on this blog as I also collected sound and want to wash the sound with the images. I however might not spend as much time on that as I would like to explore some of the other ideas I currently have cooking in my head. Taking advice I received from both Jonathan Shaw (in the first year) and Jonathan Worth recently, constant work can help me refine my ideas and work through them. So I would like to get out there and shoot some work and also add after effects to my work to creat more dimensions to it.


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