I have completed the Video Art project and I would like to share my experience, thought process and approach. You can experience the film via this link. The video is called “I’m ok”. Content Warning: It delves into the concept of suicide and it contains -fake- blood/pills.
Having as a base Bill Viola’s work “The Martyrs (Fire, Air, Earth, Water)”, I have decided to recreate such concept as a response to his work, within the context of the pandemic. So, I came up with the concept of mental health, a matter very important to me and that I would like to put it on the spotlight via this piece.
Extract from the film:
“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and its quarantine restrictions, mental health issues have been impacted drastically. Around 40%* of adults have reported struggling with mental health or substance use with 11% seriously considering suicide.“
Having that in mind, I started visualizing images of suicide, in many different ways relating them with one of the elements that I would use, fire, air, water & earth. With the element of water I had the vision of a bathtub and blood. As this was my starting point, I thought out the rest of the images in relation to that. I wanted to create four different images of four different suicide situations. The second image that came to my mind was a portrait shot with someone wrapped with the cable of a hairdryer whilst drying their hair. It is a connotation of asphyxiation and using the hairdryer as a symbol of a gun. Ironically enough, that image portrays the element of air. Next I thought about the shots in general. I already had a portrait shot and a far away shot, so I wanted to create a balance and have two shots of each. I also thought about the environment of the shots. So far I had two shots within my flat and I wanted to keep that as a common element, in order to portray and give emphasis to the fact thta quarantine and isolation are important factors in our mental health. Also, I was inspired by the work of Fischli & Weiss “The Way Things Go” (1987), where they created a video art piece in a garage by household items, so in a way ithis is my attempt to capture that piece within my flat with things that I have around.
Having set the environment and the shots, I started thinking about the element of fire. I had these thoughts of portraying different situations of someone commiting suicide, so as to bring forward the many different aspects of mental health and for the element of fire I had this vision of a candle burning. I placed that candle on a night stand alongside a bed. The bed is closely related to anxiety, stress, depression and it fit the aesthetic as well. Having in mind the short clips of Roy Raz and his aesthetic, I tried to navigate my piece similarly.Finally, I was left to capture the element of earth. That was the trickiest to do as I was stuck within the mindset of having 4 similar images and I was trying somehow to portray another scene of suicide but luckily, going through the past artists from the lectures, I remembered Pipilotti Rist and her usage of color and flowers in many of her pieces and immedaitely made the connection of earth and flowers. For that reason, I decided to jump to the other side of the coin, that of life instead of death, and create an image that inspires and captivates life. As this image would be on the opposite side of the three previous ones, i decided to play around the concept of binaries, as Bill Viola and Roy Raz, so beautifully portray, hence I decided to use the technique of time-lapse which is essentially the opposite of slow-motion. The final image that I had in mind was seeds blooming out of the soil as the element of earth.
Throughout my whole process I took into consideration many artists and tried to analyze how they would approach the creation of a piece, what they take into consideration whilst composing an image etc. but also things that had been discussed throughout the lectures. I took into consideration each composition’s color and set, always keeping in mind the rule of thirds as well.