I’m due to be working with some young people soon in an area of Nottingham called Sneinton where we will be responding to the film Children’s Games, Heygate Estate by Mark Lewis that is currently being shown as part of the Somewhat Abstract exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary. We will be making our own film – mirroring some of the dolly techniques used to make the film and experimenting with choreographing action.
I am keen to explore themes of mapping, journey, body, movement, gesture and making place with the young people. In order to do this I need to consider how the immaterial world of the film and the fluidity of the filming techniques offers a freedom that perhaps walking through areas of Nottingham might not. I am interested in the thematic connections that we will be able to discover through our experimentation with rolling/roving shots.
Mark Lewis has noted that “(…) the assumed mobility of the subject in architectural space often feels like a simulation of the virtual mobility assumed by the subject in the filmic space” (Lewis, 2011). The ability to imagine yourself as the subject of the film is an interesting one and has been experimented with since the 20’s with the prevalence of city symphonies and montage based films without human leads capturing the urban space. I am interested in how the idea of simulation and Lewises notion of virtual mobility seem to impoverish the experience of anthropometric data that informed early modernist architecture. I will be intereste to find out ‘what happens’ to the body as we film the chosen spaces and perhaps how our own horizins might be altered by the filmic space.
Next steps for me are researching the area. Considering useful techniques for mapping the space and working with the young people to think about how to do this. I am keen to introduce basic CAD skills, to get involved with making dollys and ramps and to make literal marks on the space that document usage (in contrast to the readymade walkways of the Heygate estate piece and the choreographed action of childrens games)
Lewis, M., 2011. Film as Re-Imagining the Modern Space. In: F. Penz & A. Lu, eds. Urban Cinematics; Understanding Urban Phenomena through the Moving Image. Bristol: Intellect, pp. 119-135.