Words and images : Kellie Craig
This week first year students from Illustration with Animation, Graphic Design and Interactive Arts travelled across the Pennines to Yorkshire Sculpture Park to kick-start their collaborative Unit X activities. As a brand new partnership, Interactive Arts having previously merged with Fine Art and Art History, we hope to see the projects and activities attacked in new, exciting and innovative ways.
Arriving at the park, students were split into groups of six, a pair from each course. Although seeming hesitant at first, the students quickly ventured off into the park in order to explore. Collaboration is central to the aims of Unit X and the opportunity to explore with other School of Art students undoubtedly produced a varied creative dynamic.
The introductory project for the week gave students the ability to use their smartphones and cameras in order to create a two-minute short film, about an individual within their group or a fictional character, using Yorkshire Sculpture Park as a backdrop. As an insight into the lives of others, the students were given a brief that detailed the manifesto of the Dogme Cinema Collective, which was first written by Danish filmmakers Lars Von Trier and Thomes Vinterberg. With Dogme Cinema came the act of purifying filmmaking and focussing on performance, something that the students had to abide by through observing the manifesto, which included:
Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in.
The film must not contain superficial action.
Optical work and filters are forbidden.
Needless to say, the Sculpture Park was filled with numerous means of inspiration. Natural sound, lighting and props were in abundance (somewhat facilitated by the unexpected glorious weather!) meaning students had the freedom to explore the entirety of the park without hesitation.
As well as producing a short film, students used a variety of methods of documenting their visit, including photographing, sketching and taking notes about particular sculptures. Speaking to groups of students I found that they were demonstrating inquisitive behaviour in finding out more about the sculptures, the materials used and how they were made. With this nature of inquisition, the themes between groups varied greatly, from ‘obscurity’ to ‘shadow’ and ‘life’, demonstrating how they could use their own bodies, or simply the nature around them, to create a piece of film. Many films were unrehearsed and unscripted, with some students documenting the path their feet took through simply filming others walking. This simple and organic idea certainly gave the students an insight into the ways of the Dogme Collective and their naturalistic means of producing film.
Having the rest of the week to edit individual contributions into a finished piece of film, the introductory project will culminate in a screening next week. This grand day out in Yorkshire was certainly an icebreaker!