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Lisa Project 1 : Where the Heart is

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Project 1 : Explanation of “Where the Heart is�

My idea for this project was to portray a traditional love story in a more abstract/conceptual way. I chose the fabric as a prop partially because I thought the fluidity of fabric would translate interestingly in stop motion, but mainly because I thought it would work well to symbolize a barrier between two people. We already interpret a hanging sheet of fabric (a curtain) as a barrier between two places, and the sheerness of fabric I used allows the viewer to see what is happening in both places simultaneously.

I tried to allow for different interpretations of this project. For example, it’s not clear why he appears suddenly out of nowhere, or whether he is really there or just a figment of her imagination. The concept of “homesickness� (the reason the characters leave each other) can be interpreted in different ways as well. I personally think of it as a wish to somehow get back the things that must be sacrificed in order to have a stable relationship with another person, or a wish for one's identity to be completely separate from the identity of this person. I wanted to raise questions about the barriers that exist/that we erect between ourselves and the people we love (whether we can truly break through these barriers, and—if we can break through them—whether we should) and let people answer them for themselves.

My intention was to use frame duration, as opposed to sound, to build tension and emotion in thi piece. I tried to edit the different sections so that each would feel different to the viewer and have a different emotional tone. I also flagged each section with text to clarify when we are entering a new phase of the story, and also to help viewers understand what is happening since there is no sound.

The first trick I did in this project was making him appear to come up through the floor. I photographed the opening sequence in reverse, starting with him underneath the fabric and then using those photos as a reference for making a him-like shape out of wadded up clothes and pillows (I put a sheet just beneath the fabric so you wouldn’t be able to see the wads). Then I gradually slipped the wads of clothes out from under the sheet until “he� was gone. Another trick was the characters passing back and forth through the fabric, which was done by taking a picture with the character on one side of the fabric and then having them come around to the other side and taking a picture there. For the part where I “jump through� the fabric, I strung the fabric between two chairs, zoomed in enough to get the chairs and my lower body out of the frame, then gradually crouched down until my head was underneath the fabric (and then my feet pop up for a second!).

It was more difficult working with the fabric than I at first imagined; I had it taped to the ceiling and it kept falling down, and it was super static-y so I had to keep picking pet hair off of it, etc. It was also really hard to throw the fabric up and get it positioned correctly in the frame above our heads. Then it turned out not to be so easy to get the people who were helping me to understand what I was trying to do and to be serious about it. That said though, I think the final product is fairly close to what I had envisioned and I am happy with the results overall.