work by jemma gaisford

Graduates 2021: Jemma Gaisford: Interior Architecture

“The narrative of the project was crucial to understanding the spatial needs – what happened, why, and how. To understand this, I created a short three minute animatic-style short film describing the process of applying for the exhibition.”

Hi Jemma – please tell us a bit about your work and your influences

“The work I have completed this year has focused mainly on the film industry. Over the past three years I have found a deep passion for film – both watching and creating, so it only felt right when given the brief to speculate on the near future of a specific theme, to choose to speculate on the near future of film, the industry, and how audiences will engage with the changing medium.

“This was the crux – or foundations – of the project. It ended up manifesting into an interactive exhibition which questioned the future of streaming compared to cinemas in relation to the experience had – what I see as a social event (going to watch a film) has become somewhat solitary, spurred by concurring lockdowns and the rise of streaming services which allow for greater access, but limit the experience.”

“The project began with in depth research into film movements and their connection to major historic events – interestingly there was a correlation between the two. For example, the links between the Russian Revolution in the early 1900s and the movement of “Soviet Montage”. In brief, the short supply of fresh film stock meant filmmakers had to begin reinventing the shots which already existed [using found footage and changing its meaning through editing].

“Spurred by this, there was the realisation that the individual shot was not all that mattered, but also what came before and after. The meaning can change simply through editing. This not only helped my personal film work, but also impacted the completion of the final portfolio – curating each page and carefully selecting which pages would follow in order to create a fluidity throughout the entire document.

“Then began the research into how the concept could be portrayed architecturally. I chose to study both watch towers – for their observation across the horizons they are placed upon, and monoliths – for their relation to evolution, speculation, and more specifically sci-fi films [most commonly in “2001: A Space Odyssey”]. Both of these typologies represented the themes present in the initial conception of the project, and went on to influence the final design of the monolithic structures which would line the site of “Black Rock” in Brighton.”

“The narrative of the project was crucial to understanding the spatial needs – what happened, why, and how. To understand this, I created a short three minute animatic-style short film describing the process of applying for the exhibition, how the characters arrive, what they do, for how long, and generally the overall experience. This helped the project develop in ways it otherwise would not have. Exploring different mediums in order to communicate has been a large part of this project, from the creation of screenplays, storyboards, films, timelines, magazines, posters, collages, models, and of course architectural drawings.

How have you found your course and time at Brighton – why did you choose to study Interior Architecture?

“My time at the University of Brighton has been full of unexpected realisations, to put it bluntly. I turned up for my first day to study “Interior Architecture” as a young nineteen-year-old who had never lived away from home for an extended period of time, was quiet and observant, and wanted to solely become a property developer.

“There is still a part of me that believes I will do that down the line, but over the three years I have found a true passion for writing – specifically screenplays – filming, and directing. The observant nature has not left me and in most situations there is an aspect in which I mentally note to write someway into a character or plot, simply through observing.

“This passion has been able to grow into a possible career through the course’s projects – from creating a short documentary about the senses and their effects on the perception of a city, to animations, animatics, and news broadcasts. Each project allowed for multiple roles to be experienced.

“Besides the course, the overall experience of being at university – especially during a pandemic – has been full of growth. Learning to be self-sufficient both in living and working, the independence has allowed for personal projects to occur from the confidence I have gained.

“For example, in February of 2020, I was the production designer for the University of Sussex’s production of “Chicago: The Musical” – I would never have had this opportunity if I did not study the course and have the confidence in my ability to undertake the work. This led me to be encapsulated by the theatrics and move into a writing and directing position, with a short animated film being completed over the first lockdown, and a full feature script being written and completed in January of 2021 – which has been submitted to various competitions.”

“Due to this, I have applied for a masters in Screenwriting, however if I am not accepted, I have pre-emptively booked a one-way flight to Portugal in July to write my second feature-length film in the Algarve over the summer. This is something I have always wanted to do and thought now was the time to do it – having no ties to a specific place for the first time in my life with the possible ending of my structured education [for now].”

What are your plans after graduation?

“Overall, moving away for university, and studying “Interior Architecture” has led me from a foundation in formal architecture, to set and production design, to writing and directing. This process has been fluid and easily adapted to the course, with my final project being heavily narrative based – which was encouraged by the tutors.

“Knowing myself and my hatred for idleness, I began writing a short film in the final months of university in order to direct at the end of June. It has been time-consuming and mentally draining to complete the degree as well as produce a short film [which involved writing, story-boarding, budgeting, creating prop lists, location scouting, production design, casting of actors, writing up contracts, and finally filming at the end of June], but it has been made with the intention of submitting to festivals and building up a personal portfolio so I have a somewhat peaceful mind in Portugal knowing that I have created a completed film whilst writing the next.

“The course has taught me a lot, mainly in drawing skills which have been beneficial in designing sets and storyboarding, and in confidence in myself not just to live independently, but strive for the life I wish to have.”

Watch Jemma’s films on YouTube:

Find out about studying Interior Architecture BA(Hons) at Brighton.

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