Well, it’s been an eventful few months. Tears have been shed, weight has been gained, and hair has been shaved in new and exciting places. But whilst that’s been going on, I’ve also been busying myself with a little uni work. Uni work which has been both fun and scary.
What’s that, you say? Fun and scary? How can such a thing be? Did it defy the laws of all physics? Well, I sat down with John Invisibleman for a quick Q&A session to get the skinny on the work I did this term, how I got there and most importantly, where I go from here.
JOHN INVISIBLEMAN: Michael, you are a legend in this university, and are also both wise and handsome. Tell me about the work you’ve produced this term. Are you pleased with what you’ve made?
MICHAEL: Well firstly thank you, John. And yes I think the work I’ve managed to produce is grand, simply grand.
JOHN: Okay don’t get smug. Anything in particular you think has worked well?
MICHAEL: Honestly, I think all of the individual pieces have worked out well. I’m particularly proud of the fact that they all consist of original material, and not just ripped-off YouTube clips. Anyway they each turned out how I intended them to, which makes me a happy man.
JOHN: Really? ‘Cos I saw that thing with the tramp, and I didn’t really get it. Also your hair is thick and shiny.
MICHAEL: I said it was grand, not comprehensible. I showed that video to David Lynch and he was like “Whuh?” Bad sign. But I’m kidding.
The fact is, I’m very proud of the artifacts I’ve made during this term, and the possibilities and ideas they’ve helped me come up with for future projects is making me crazy with excitement. But as I’ve said before I tend to come at things sideways, and there may have been a few clarity issues with some people. But honestly I think that’s a good thing, because ultimately it’s art. Even if it’s a crappy TV show or an abstract watercolour, it’s all still art and art shouldn’t be easy all the time. It should make you think and question and possibly itch a little.
JOHN: Okaaay… So did anything go wrong? Any mistakes you want to admit to? It’s important to learn from your mistakes.
MICHAEL: I know what you mean, like that time I shaved too close to my-
JOHN: Michael!! I meant about the work.
MICHAEL: Oh right. Well if I’ll be brutally honest, I think the only major thing I dropped the proverbial ball on was the interactive Power video. Probably could have made more of an interesting narrative than ‘Guy gets out of bed’.
JOHN: But reading all that nihilistic existential stuff you wrote about life gave me the impression that that was the point you were trying to make with your ‘boring’ video.
MICHAEL: True, but not everyone should have to read an essay before enjoying a slice of fun. I need to keep that in mind in future, and give a more visceral pop to my work, because that’s where I like to make my home.
JOHN: Cool. Speaking of existentialism, don’t you think you got a bit deep in that blog? You sounded so depressing!
MICHAEL: Me? Depressing? Don’t be ridiculous! And no I don’t think you can get too deep with this stuff. I enjoyed having the opportunity to explore such a diverse range of influences and let them guide and inspire my ideas further. From Alan Bennett to Sartre, Soderbergh to Fireman Sam, I pride myself on enjoying bring all these different flavours and ingredients together in one pot. Even gits like Banksy have inspired me. By the way John, your invisible fly is open.
JOHN: Whoops! Ahem. So, do you notice any recurring themes in your work this term?
MICHAEL: Yep. As a matter of fact John, I noticed them even before I was asked to by the tutors.
JOHN: Alright Michael, no one likes a clever dick. Go on then, what did you notice?
MICHAEL: Two things: identity, and the passive viewer becoming active. All three items deal with these themes on some level, and this was done very consciously. The idea of someone finding their own identity, what makes them who they are and letting that self-awareness empower them is, I think, an incredibly strong and sexy idea.
A lot of people, through ‘video collages’ (i.e. ripping off YouTube videos and sticking them all together to ‘create new meaning’) seemed to be saying that the media is controlling our minds, and that we should all be scared for our lives.
Well, it’s a valid point and one that I too am intrigued by. Are we storing our very souls online? Are we avatars of ourselves? But what I’ve tried to touch on, and what I really hope to explore on a more tangible level next year, is coming up with a feasible way to not only let the viewer become more engaged and active, but for them to also enjoy it on a new level. Basically, I want to make some form of Pilot ‘episode’ of a web series, where every individual viewer gets a different experience. Something akin to a nihilistic video game meets online TV series.
Whatever I make, either at uni or elsewhere in the future, it’s going to be a funhouse ride of excitement, fear, existential angst and partial nudity.
JOHN: Sounds awesome! I guess we’ll have to wait till next year to see what you’ll hopefully cook up.
MICHAEL: You know what John; you’re not so lame after all.
JOHN: Will you hold me, Michael?
MICHAEL: Yes, John. Yes I will.
JOHN: Oh by the way, you didn’t seem to take much notice of those Obstacles, did you?
M: The what now?
JOHN: Never mind.