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Breanne Subias, Final Project

I know this isn't the right way to put this on here. I'll fix it later.

https://mediamill.cla.umn.edu/mediamill/embedqt/12768

The results of my final project were not exactly what I had in mind when I wrote up my proposal. I started this thing with elaborate plans of using shadow techniques in order to portray the ideas behind the dream of losing teeth, which is apparently the most commonly reported nightmare. I have these dreams all the time, even once during the course of this project, and the commonness of this dream surprised me. When presented with the commonness of the sentiments behind this dream, many of which have to do with feelings of inadequacy, it was not at all surprising to me anymore. I’m not sure whether I really subscribe to the idea of being able to interpret dreams that many people share with one explanatory swoop across the board, but it’s an interesting idea anyway. This piecing together of common elements to create something unnerving, I thought, lent itself better to a collage than to shadows.

The face in my project is created out of elements of my own face from a few different pictures I took especially for this occasion. I wanted to use elements of existing pictures, but none worked. The teeth are cut from a picture of my own mouth and mounted on cardboard to be easily mobile, and the same is true with the pupils and eyebrows. The point is that I was able to create something grotesque and disproportionate out of elements of my own being, but something that clearly functions in a human way and feels emotions.

I incorporated video footage into my piece in order to add a human element that was originally unclear when looking at the stop-motion footage by itself. It also clarifies the fact that we are seeing into a dream, as well as separates the dream from reality (dream is stop action, the sleep footage is clearly not). We are left unsure as to whether the narrator has a place in reality or a place in the subconscious of our dreamer. I think that the narrator takes a role that is very much similar to that of a psychotherapist. She is the dreamer, but she is a third party observing as well, hinting at the idea of self-analysis, which is really what this project ended up being for me. The footage of the “therapist? picking her teeth kind of brought those two sides of the character back together. This is interesting because that was the only piece of footage I shot on a whim, and it ended up being a vital element of the piece. Or at least that was my interpretation.

I worried that maybe adding a sleeping person to the piece was a “captain obvious? move and could make the project a bit hokey overall. Nothing quite accomplished that like the music I chose, however. The audio was honestly fine before I added the track, but it was very blatantly lacking at some points, and I could not just leave it. After I played with song after song, I am ashamed to say I just settled. There was no more time to change it. I am completely unsatisfied with the music I picked, and if I had to do it again, I would use eerie ambient sounds conservatively in places where they made sense rather than a near-solid musical track. It was also difficult to get the different volumes to fit together correctly while allowing for the narration to be clear. While I could have fine-tuned the executions a little more successfully, conceptually, I am proudest of this project out of all three this semester.

On a somewhat unrelated but still relevant note, this class helped me realize something: I like art I can put my hands in. I like crocheting completely impractical things and seeing what they turn into, and cutting out paper, and drawing and compiling and getting dirty and messy. It isn’t that I’m not proud of having learned a new skill…it’s just that this new skill leaves nothing under my fingernails or on my floor when I’m done with it. And that, to me, is unfulfilling. This project let me incorporate that creative, hands-on element that I love with the necessary and wondrous technology that I hate to make something I could be proud of on a level that mattered to me. And even though I have groaned at the basis of this class, for today I have been humbled and silenced. And that’s a pretty damn impressive accomplishment.