I have made three promotional videos to promote the ‘pathway’ event, which will be posted in the lead up to its opening day. Taking up the central ideas of Tom Perrotta’s novel, ‘The Leftovers’ – memory, loss, grief – the videos I have made seek to capture the apocalyptic nature of personal grief, but also the revelatory power of memory to alleviate that pain. In each video, the protagonist wanders the landscape alone, exploring the natural world, at once filled with wonder and loss. She is the last person alive – forced to endure such beauty at a cost. Now, this is expanse of space, once freeing is almost horrifying in its beauty. The films are also about tactility and using the senses to connect with the past. Now, alone in the present, the only way she can connect is through her senses, touching, feeling to bring her memories to life. It is through this sensory experience that she is able to reconnect the past with the present: awe-filled at the revelation that time is a lie.
The promos have been filmed in scenic locations that work to evoke a sense of escapism and wonder, enveloping the audience in a strong feeling of warmth and comfort. This element, combined with the heavy influence that the chosen music has over the audience works to transport the viewer to these stunning views of nature, introducing a powerful element of hypnosis, thus creating very captivating pieces. The footage for the first promo was shot in Lowestoft on a green located just off of Lowestoft Beach at sunset. All of the film was taken purposely out of focus, in order to recreate the feeling of having a memory or a thought just at the edge of your grasp or on the tip of your tongue and you can almost reach it but it hasn’t become fully clear yet. This introduces both a sense of frustration as the viewer will wonder what the true image would look like in its true form, mirroring “real life”, and also familiarity as this effect represents that feeling everyone has experienced at one point when they just can’t fully pin-point that thing that sits at the recess of their mind, just out of reach but not completely unobtainable. This aspect also adds to the hypnotic element I previously mentioned, thus providing great depth to the film. Capturing the figure wandering through the wooden structures present in the green, decaying, discarded, forgotten as well as filming countless wide shots in order to fully convey the vastness and openness of the space, evoking a strong sense of both isolation and discovery that is such a beautiful juxtaposition and is truly entrancing. The sage suit worn by the model immerses her into the location and establishes a strong connection between the two. The footage has been to cut the song, ‘Visions of Gideon’ by the breath-taking musician, Sufjan Stevens. The use of this track leads the viewer to feel a strong sense of loss and the haunting aspect that the song has with the hushed and echoing vocals and the soft yet demanding melody of the track work to envelop the audience in a strong state of escapism and exploration. This established bond between the focal elements; location, subject, music present symbiosis, signifying the importance of the journey of the individual and the power that location and music have over the mind when in relation to memory which is what ‘pathway’ stands to communicate.
The second promo was shot at the River Blyth in Blytheburgh, a stunning landscape filled with reeds and flowers and bodies of water that stretched out for miles. Style in a modest nude high neck dress with white floral embroidery detail, the wardrobe selected combined with the stunning location with the sun beaming down onto the river bank, there is a powerful angelic element introduced to the pieces, wrapping the audience up in a strong sense of comfort and warmth. However, this is combated by the song paired with this footage, with the haunting edge that is introduced by SYML’s ‘Mr Sandman’, a truly eerie rendition of the late 50s song originally sung in the jolly, upbeat temp of The Chordettes, that works to put the viewer slightly on edge as the narrative is then deterred to have a dark side that would otherwise not be realised. This, therefore, lies proof that the power of music and the emotions they have the power to create heightens the true essence that of ‘pathway’. The combination of shooting the majority of the footage in stunning clarity, with sporadic appearances of clips that are out of focus work to mirror the feeling that of being in a dream state and how when in a dream, everything seems crystal clear but then when your body awakes and your subconscious abandoned for reality, aspects of the dream can become fuzzy and somewhat unclear. The close-up shots with the camera hovering over the shoulder of the subject, paired with shots whereby the camera is abandoned by the girl as she surges deeper into the grass, being enveloped by the sun and surrounding nature, work to create an interesting juxtaposition within the moving image piece that is so captivating.
The third and final promo was shot in a woodland area in Kessingland, Ipswich and proved to be a very interesting shoot as I had visited the place a year earlier and it was covered in these amazingly vibrant purple flowers, which is why I chose to style the subject in the lilac suit, however due to it being winter, upon arrival, the autumnal elements had taken over and the forest was enveloped in a vast coverage of orange, yellow, brown and green. Seemingly problematic given the wardrobe selected, however the colour scheme of the location worked surprisingly well against the garments and the two worked in harmony to complement each other. Much alike the first promotional video, selecting a colour block suit provides a clean, sharp presence to the piece and establishes a sense of sharpness but with a soft edge in the light colour palette of the garments. The use of the slow-motion shots when the camera is positioned directly up to the sky, spinning in a sea of beautiful shapes and strong, sharp lines, creates a mystical and hypnotic feeling that works to captivate the viewer. The opening shot is reminiscent of ‘Where The Wild Things Are’, thus successfully evoking a strong sense of wonder and enchantment that instantly grabs the attention of the audience. Being completely immersed in such diverse nature in one location is simply stunning from the rich hunter green holly tree that displayed the most beautiful contrast against the lilac suit to the twisted tree trunks that are graced with the most spectacular grooves, showcasing the most incredible patterns – true sights that only nature can provide. Exploring these areas only works to intensify their significance in how strong nature can be and how beautiful it is to discover, which is exactly what ‘pathway’ aims to achieve – an immersive experience of self-discovery and also to discover new knowledge on such an important cause. With the footage being paired with Max Richter’s ghostly track ‘Path 3 (7676)’ from his unbelievable album, ‘Sleep’ – the tone for the piece is automatically set on edge, introducing a beautifully chilling feeling, sending a tingling sensation down your spine as you hear the combination of deep hums and operatic vocals of Grace Davidson, thus creating this beautiful yet twisted fantastical feeling, setting the viewer on a path that is darker than it seems.