EXPANDED CINEMA – JOURNAL 5

 

Movement in Film & Music

On week five, we saw lots of different footages regarding movement and how it affects our behavior within society and the creation of films. Movement in film and everyday life is applied constantly, everything we do involves movement. From the moment I wake up, I am already using movement, as I go to the kitchen to get my cup of coffee, while I take a shower, when I am walking downstairs towards my car, while driving, at school and at work.

It will be ironic to think that movement is not a part of my life. The same applies in any type of cinema. Actors, Directors and everyone involved in the creation of a film must coordinate on how movement will be use and how it will create the final version of a film. Movement in film is crucial, from a simple shot of two people holding hands to a car racing scene in the streets of New York

Let’s take for instance the series of documentaries about Andy Warhol. What he did in some of his featured films involved movement that was so surreal at the time. When I say “surreal” is because me, as a “viewer;” I perceived things from a different point of view and in his films we experience scenes and cases that we were not expecting to see and then it happens.

Andy-Warhol.jpg
Andy Warhol

When I saw the clip from his film “kiss” in class; well, at the beginning you see no movement and as soon as these two guys kissed, I just went like “wow,” I did not see that coming, not because I saw two guys kissing; but instead because the image was fairly static and I thought it was an actual image and then out of the blue I see movement that was very unexpected. It was just brilliant. The way Andy used expanded cinema in his films was remarkable. True, at one point you see that it is low budget film, but Andy’s contribution to underground cinema as an artist in society showed his ideas and woke people up to a reality that we lived in. I was not shocked on the fact that I saw two men making out in front of a camera, I mean we live in Canada and I am sure at this point in life the level of openness and self-expression we have is plenty. This type of progressive movement made Warhol’s films so iconic even up until this day. I admire Andy a lot, I think when he came out with his artwork, he had something new, edgy, different and that is the whole point of artistic and expanded cinema; to innovate, improve and make the masses realize that there is a another way of exploring film that connects with your mind at a level which makes you think more about reality.

The video that is included with this part of the journal is one of the clips from Madonna’s Rebel Heart World Tour that took place on September 9th, 2015 at the Bell Centre. I attended the event and I have the entire show on camera and of course it’s featured on my website and my YouTube channel. The reason why I wanted to include this video and relate it to the topic of expanded cinema is because we see her perform her classic smash hit from the 1980’s “Holiday,”  and it really feels like an out of body experience when you see it live, kind of like when I watch films that involve plenty of special effects. Her graphics on stage and perfect movements really got me thinking about the way her shows take control of your mind and transport you into a different level of consciousness. The digital graphic art she used on stage and on the screens was one of a kind, similar to the graphics that you could see at a Rave or in an actual film that has visual effects. The only difference is that this event is taking place live, in front of your eyes. Some people actually take MDMA to see the show and it has been said the experience is ten times better and the feeling of expansion and euphoria takes you by surprise.

The show featured, rotating platforms, a huge and interactive stage, logos, symbols, perfect choreographies, a different combination of colors on stage that gave me a sensation of a trip into a complete new world. Through the use of this graphics and the entire show, this type of event even though it is mainstream, it definitely helps you expand some thoughts and questions on other topics. As an artist, Madonna feels like she has the right to open up people’s minds with her artistic shows and she clearly does. She always has a controversial topic to discuss while the show is taking place, through the use of performance, dance, movement, special effects and graphics. I saw political, economic, religious and social punches that were given to the audience in a form of film through the screen and of course through the body language they used during the performance.

Of course it is a music show that involves movement as a principle, but it also has new dance techniques as The Queen of Pop can only perform and re-invent. This woman is such an icon, when you see her shows live, it feels like you are transported to a different level, it almost feels like you are in a movie set while a film is taking place in front of your eyes since there are so many special effects and a perfect coordination involved with timing, lights, mis-en-scene, movement, costume design and the advanced use of technology. We know she invests a lot of money in her shows and it is remarkable to see all the technological art forms that capture your imagination within two hours.

Everyone knows Madonna and her legendary music spectacles. With her amazing ability to re-invent herself over and over again, her shows are filmed and are later on sold on DVD, making it a new experience for the buyers who perhaps did not go to the live event, that way they can enjoy them at home. It really becomes a massive production, I mean it is a concert that feels like a movie and has a massive amount of millions of dollars invested. The way this show relates to expanded cinema, will be the in the way that it is not your normal typical music event, it actually takes you into a complete new level of the mind while you watch, you start feeling euphoria, media hysteria, your body just wants to dive into that world and you start thinking about what is taking place on stage and you wonder, how was this possible?

The use of movement during the spectacle, the lights and the out of this world technology that it is used throughout the show like a moving stage, rotating screens, machinery that goes from one side to the other one, it really makes you believe at least for two hours that you are having an out of body and mind experience. When I compare the article “Rhetorics of Expansion,” to her show, it clearly shows the amount of technology invested in her shows is way over the top, very similar to the article on the fair. The article talks about the technology fair back in 1964, that shocked the audience. At the end of it, they both had the same effect and goal, to expand the human mind through visual technology.

If I reference this journal to the context of the first few pages on the reading:

“Rhetorics of Expansion” I can certainly connect the fact that we as a world, as a human race, as a community, we have evolved and advanced in every aspect of technology, true not all countries have done so, there is still plenty of poverty in third world countries.

This reading explained how in April 1964, the World’s Fair came to New York. The fair showed a very advanced world of tomorrow or the future. Back in the day people were probably impressed to see all this technology been presented in front of their eyes. Who will think that after almost four decades all these technology was going to become our way of life. As a human race we are meant to evolve. We must keep an open mind and share our ideas with each other in order to succeed as a city, a nation and a planet. We have created amazing structures such as skyscrapers, museums, subways, cars, mind-blowing movies, the internet, all thanks to the use of technology and our views of expansion.

I can relate the reading to expanded cinema since, it shows how we have expanded as a civilization and the ideas we had at one point were shared publicly once, became a part of our lifestyle now days. If someone had the idea to create an artifact that will help our way of life and then this idea becomes true, well we are doing and showing progress of expansion. What we perceive in some type of underground movies are ideas, thoughts from artists that are portrayed in front of your eyes and in a way helps us think and become critical about issues that are taking place in the world and how to view them and think on a different level. Technology increases how nations interact with each other all over the world.

When I was a kid, I attended a fair in Colombia. This type of fair showed technology improvements from different countries that were not out yet worldwide, after maybe ten years all these innovations were seeing in most industrialized countries. Innovations like a DVD, Plasma TV’s, laptops, etc. Mediums we use to increase our potential of expansion.

Written by Felipe Medina for the Expanded Cinema course at Concordia University in Montreal.

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