Mikajima, Saitama, Japan
I cycled through and around Mikajima one ferociously, hot afternoon early this month. Mikajima is a very rural area of Tokorozawa-shi , Saitama in Japan.
In the middle of nowhere I felt, surrounded by fields, farms, orchards, meandering dirt tracks and farmers scattered around in the fields. I’m not alone then. The sky cloudless with a slight soft breeze, insects buzzing and screeching away at high volume. I’m filled with a wonderful agoraphobic sensation.
Along a long stretch of road, I passed an old house and stopped on pause. The improvised wind chime in the form of spinning beer tins tingled away when catching that bit of breeze. An old man gardening, looked my way, smiled though nonchalant about his spinning tins being filmed.
From the fields and down a mysterious pathway I pedaled, round a few corners, the not knowing started to excite. Then, a dusty lane took me down a path, obscured by flowing trees. I ventured down and come across a few hidden, rickety, forgotten old houses. However, my attention was immediately grabbed by a structure which seemed half standing and half falling, like something in suspended animation. The surrounding shrubbery, gloriously unkept with an abundance of discarded objects decorated the scene. As I drew nearer, the rotting wood, rusty corrugated iron strips, weeds peering out and the hard dry earth all became more apparent and visual. A deserted spectacle but now left as an exhibit to the curious passer-by. I found a shady area, took out the sketching tools and began to record, after all, it might be gone by tomorrow.
My last project (Don’t Have Nightmares 0.2: The Tokyo Underground) was to be shown earlier this month to my peers. However, and unfortunately, due to time limitations, the project didn’t get a critique (gutted!).
Final Reflections: To be honest, I don’t think it’s an accurate representation of the project, the main aim was to capture the fear in confined spaces on the Underground but filming was so problematic at times, I ditched a lot of footage. In hindsight, I should have documented more of the downs as opposed to ups on my blog. However, I’m pleased with the animation. I had little idea as to the end result. That’s the beauty of working with the medium. Tales of the Unexpected!
Sound: I’ve done quite a bit of experimenting with the audio, using train ambient, crackling fire wood and buzzing insects in Audacity. Not great results due to my technical ability but I’ve assembled the audio to how I would like it.
PART ONE Duration: 3.00 (with voice-over)
PART TWO Duration: 2.07 (with voice-over)
Alienation & Conformity Collage (2015)
The animated rotoscope and motion picture footage were played on a loop while I filmed the interior of the maquette. Around 10 sequences were shot in total. Each sequence being between 15-30 seconds in duration. For continuity purposes, I intended to film all the footage on a tripod. However, difficulties arose with cinematography issues (i.e. framing, filming (blurred vs in focus) and obtrusive light getting into shot). Though filming hand-held gave me more freedom, I wasn’t particularly pleased with the overall tests and as a result, I scraped most of the hand-held test footage.
By filming an area of the bathroom, I could focus on other objects; moving away from the animated/motion picture shower scene. By doing so I could build a tension between object and subject. The inspiration came from Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965). The black and white film is predominantly shot in an apartment. Polanski builds psychological tension focusing on inanimated objects for lengthy periods of time. I experimented in similar style using a penetrating buzzing sound to enhance the tension and to create a disturbing fusion with the soft lounge music and the fierce electric saw audio.
Watercolour and Lighting
The watercolour paint and lighting failed (gloriously!). My intention was for the watercolour paint to slowly drip down the cling film. Slow moving slimy liquids are considered a cliché in contemporary horror films. To fulfil my aim without involving digital effects would be something of an achievement. However, while filming I continually kept painting on the cling film. Due to the heat from the monitor, the paint just dried in seconds. Also, the monitor light was too bright that the paint became silhouetted. I had far better results using the PET bottle. When constructing Maquette No 3, I’ll use the same technique again but employ alternative strategies such as a lighter interior, acrylic paints and my daughter as an art assistant perhaps? As for the decoration lights, they were far too weak and didn’t have any overall impact though I was encouraged with subtle gentle flickering.