It was required that the Power artifact examines a question about Power, includes split screen or compositing, draws from at least one influence, and includes properly licensed third party content where applicable.
The idea was to respond to the brief by exploring power relations within the city. The intention was to juxtapose images of power and surveillance, how they inform and whether they influence artistic expression in the urban environment, focusing on the side of urban art that is not literally expressing anger or repression.
Looking at concepts such as Jeremy Benthan’s Panopticon structure (extensively explored by a number of theorists, including Michel Foucault), and methods for controlling behaviour within the city, it was decided that the author’s camera would turn its lens to CCTV cameras, challenging their role and power. On a visual level, the works of Banksy dealing with CCTV and the pervasive use of cameras in the urban environment were heavily influential, and a similar visual treatment was pursued. The idea was to both give the piece a context, and to try and continue the conversation about CCTV cameras on the streets, initiated by Banksy and other urban artists like him.
The other side of the idea was exploring creative expression around the city – street artists using public space both as a canvas and as display for their work. It was decided that instead of looking at expression of anger and repression, it would be more benefitial for the piece to juxtapose power symbols with symbols and expressions of love and positive creation. Here, the pieces that the camera was looking at informed the visual style – vivid colours, smiling faces and heart-shaped scribbles covering large brick walls and bridges. The idea of using positive images was influenced by another artist exploring urban space – Pahnl. In the ‘Nowhere Near Here’ video installation, he looked at the hidden stories of the city, innocent, vivid and largely untold. The final artifact that was created for the Power brief is also hinting about some untold and hidden stories and the people who are part of them.
In terms of the sound / music treatment, a music track was chosen to fit the whole mood of the piece and to try and add a level of meaning to it. Tab & Anitek, in their album ‘Project Monarch’, explore control that is exercised externally, with structures of power and authority conducting experiments on subjects who were largely unaware what was happening. This particular track, ‘Merlot Downer’, has a very strong and distinctive rhythm and powerful sound, which accentuates the images used in the final ‘Urban Expression’ video.
A lot of the visual treatment was informed by previous photography and video work already done by the author, with substantial creative interest around the ideas of urban expression. When initially presented, the piece received very positive feedback about its strong and clear idea, and was only re-worked to reflect the feedback received on the technical execution and editing.
The final artifact demonstrated that a clear idea, informed by a good understanding of concepts, and combined with an adequate technical and visual treatment, can result in a strong, effective final product that creates impact and takes the viewer on a journey, inviting them to explore the subject from an often unexpected perspective.
Hypebeast (1999) Banksy “One Nation Under CCTV”. 30 November [online] available from < http://hypebeast.com/2008/04/banksy-one-nation-under-cctv/> [29 November 2012]
Joe, A. (2011) CCTV. 9 January [online] available from < http://atsukojoe.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/cctv-3/> [29 November 2012]
Mason, M. K. (2012) Foucault and His Panopticon. [online] available from < http://www.moyak.com/papers/michel-foucault-power.html> [29 November 2012]
Pahnl (2010) Nowhere Near Here. [online] available from < https://vimeo.com/17087679> [29 November 2012]
Tab & Anitek (2012) ‘Merlot Downer’. Project Monarch [online] available from http://www.jamendo.com/en/track/891603/merlot-downer> [29 November 2012]
Zlatkova, R. (2012) Urban Expression – Inspiration & Idea Development. 4 November [online] available from < https://rumenazlatkova.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/urban-expression-inspiration-idea-development/> [29 November 2012]