Archive for the 'Updates for Spectacle artefact' Category


Trial and Error – Reflection on Spectacle

Somethings work and others don’t!


We were given two weeks to produce an artefact that would symbolise our thoughts and lines of research into spectacle. My two weeks comprised of following one idea and whilst researching that one trying out another. I tried to lay down detailed plans and ideas to show a line of progression as my head is constantly full of ideas and this year one of my goals is to be more practical with the work I am doing as research can only lead you so far and ideas can be a game of trial and error.

The first project idea I started working on involved looking at the spectacle of the fair, but from a different view point. I wanted to capture things that the nakid eye could not. This started off really well. I took time to decided what I wanted to capture, spent three days planning, taking images and gathering sounds and really enjoyed doing it.

I found the practical work really easy as I took it step by step, althought time consuming worth doing it slowly rather than rushing it. I foudn it difficult to get the sound on occasions as I had forgotten how to use the recording device. I need to work with the sound I have collected but I will have to normalise the sound as some of it is at different levels. I am not sure what I cna use to do that. I did not also get each shot I wanted instantly I had to change the shutter speed to accomodate for the speed of each ride as childrens rides go considerably slower than adult rides. When tkaing one particular shot that focused on a landscape of three rides including tow childrens rides and one fast adult ride I had to time the shot well to get the images I desired which took more time than I had planned for.

When I was finished collectig the images and sound I started to hit a wall as I was not sure how I wanted to put the project together. I started to lose interest in my work but continued to research the techniques I had been using as I as searching for a way of presenting my images. I started to focus on what you could do with light to create more interesting affects. I wanted to incorporate this into another idea.

After a visit to Warwick Castle half way through the two weeks I started to formulate another idea and when discussing this with my seminar leader I was encourage to follow this line of work and research. I wanted to try using light to use the painting with light technique to create interesting visual affects with a pumpkin. I had recently been inspired by theories and writings from Guy DeBour and David Foster Wallace so i decided to explore a project involving stop motion animation with visual affects usig painting with light.

I made a plan of action including storyboarding, shooting and using a programme to compile the work, but I did not get as far as quickly as I was hoping. The weather, illness and family life prevented me from doing everything I wanted to do in a short time scale. I started to experiement with a pumpkin and painting with light but ended up getting carried away with different technical affects, so much so that I did not actually manage to compile a working stop motion animation. I also did not manage to decided on sound or a linear story line on papaer, just what was in my head.

The following images are example of the experiements I have been doing with the pumpkin but nothing is completely finished yet, to my disapointment.

Using an LED candel I placed the pumpkin in my backgarden to see what kind of lighting affect it would have.

Using an LED candel I placed the pumpkin in my backgarden to see what kind of lighting affect it would have.


I then used a glow stick to try and get a different visual affect with the light using a slow shutter speed.

I then used a glow stick to try and get a different visual affect with the light using a slow shutter speed.


I then combined a stable light source with the visual affect of the moving glow stick to see what affect I got, we tried this a number of times.

I then combined a stable light source with the visual affect of the moving glow stick to see what affect I got, we tried this a number of times.


With the help of a friend we then decided to try and affect the exposure of the light by moving our hands in and out of the light to create a broken afect with the light to simulate flames.

With the help of a friend we then decided to try and affect the exposure of the light by moving our hands in and out of the light to create a broken afect with the light to simulate flames.


We even tried using a blow tourch to create different affects it did not turn out as we had hoped.

We even tried using a blow tourch to create different affects it did not turn out as we had hoped.


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.

Spectacle Project Action Plan



Project Idea:

Capturing the event of the Banbury fair from a different perspective. I have been loking at the idea of painting with light (will post my research on this in a later blog post but hear is a quick link to illistrate some of the affects you ca create and think that capturing the rides and scenes of the fair in this fassion is a unique way of looking at the spectacle.

The idea of painting with light and capturing events in a unique way facinates me and I would like to follow this line of practicale research even if some of my ideas do not work exactly the way I have planned.

I would like to capture sound from the event, sound that will give the viewer of the images a general idea and feel to the event and not carry the images. The sound is to be used to help generate a deeper connection to the images the viewer sees.

What I actualy want to get from the images and sound:

I would like to focus of the patterns that the fair rides make beyond normal vision. I would like the people in the images to seam less important to the spectacle (using a long shutter speed will createa blurred affect of any moving object such as people). I would like to capture sound from different areas of the fair and not specific t each shot. For example I will not be shooting images of the hook-a-duck or strong man attractions but will capture sounds because I beleive they help to create the appropriate atmosphere of the event.


Steps of Action.


Step 1. Wednesday – Go to the location of the event. Take test shots of the area and get an idea of the locations of the rides that you would like to focus on. Take in the atmosphere of the fair and think about the different sound combinations you would like. (day and evening)

step 2. Thursday – On location take sound recordings at different locations both in the evening and day time.

Step 3. Friday – On location take images of different rides, vary the shutter speed to gain approprate image as different rides go at different speeds. Don’t forget ot get a toffee apple.




Currently I am not sure how I want to present these images and want to take more time to research this idea and have a chatt with some of the supporting lectures to get some ideas on presentation. I know that I want the viewer to get an idea of the ambiance of the fair and that I would like the to see the beauty of the light dispalys the rides can create but I am not sure how to best display it.


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