For the degree show, I had thought about using the very first short film I made ‘Seeing’, which I think would fit in with the works theme, however I decided against this and planned to make a new film.
I wanted this new film to be very ambiguous and simple. Thinking about using audio, I left it out as I felt it would be unnecessary. I chose to search for explosion clips, keeping in mind that I wanted to strip this of the colour and sound. The found two clips which I decided to experiment with, one of which seemed to be from a CCTV camera of a quiet road and another of a very busy road.
Playing with both, I found the first to work best as it was more ambiguous as the location is more undefined and questionable. Stripping it to black and white made the film work a lot better, I heightened the contrast making the imagery bolder and more indistinct.
I found it difficult deciding whether to buy flags or make them, mainly due to size and quality but I decided to buy them. The flags are 5ft by 3ft which are actually quite a good size considering there are 5.
My plan for the flags was to hang them outside the foyer keeping with the exterior colour theme. However I decided to make black and white versions of them to be sewn together. The black and white versions would only be seen as you exit the foyer keeping with the interior theme of black and white. However when trialing this out, the flags were too light to be hung outside and would also be very distracting from the large Union Jack vinyl that will be going up. As a result I tried hanging them along the right hand window pane and found this worked extremely well.
The chosen flags: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism & Judaism reflect the five main religions of the UK. The colour versions hang facing outside keeping with the colour theme and the black and white hang inwards contributing to the monochrome space depicting the simple narrative of good vs evil that no longer exists.
The initial hang which would be levelled out.
The work I produced for Futurity titled ‘A New Generation’ explores ideas about the children of Islamic State called ‘cubs of the caliphate’ which was inspired by the quote ‘a new generation of fighters’.
I presented the work on a small monitor with speakers to enable the audio to be loud and dominating. Along with this short film, I also projected a film still on to the wall depicting children playing in a river with one child holding out his hand motioning the number ‘1’.
I feel that the work was received well and definitely brought attention to itself through the intended use of loud audio, however I feel that the work may have been too similar to the work ‘Seeing II’. Both take a humorous approach in the way they have been edited and music juxtaposition, but having said that this could enable a series of work.
Looking at the work of Sergey Shutov and the way he merges cultures together to display the peaceful co existence of religions inspired me. His work Abacus involved audio of a mixutre of prayers. This prompted me to explore how I can use this to display Islamaphobia and fear of the ‘other’.
Considering that Christianity is the predominant religion in the UK and the existence of Islamaphobia, I wanted to play on the constant battle that is evident between the both and also draw on the fact that many Christians find themselves converting to Islam.
Before coming to the final version, I played around with various prayers, finding two that depicted the struggle that is met, which led to the title Contention. The sound piece is 3 minutes 33 seconds.
Something I’ve mentioned before whilst researching ISIS is the recurrent ideology of “a new generation of fighters”.
Originally when I wrote a proposal for the Futurity exhibition I was looking to explore the idea of destruction and restoration and the juxtaposition it poses when trying to create a new world through destruction as an act of restoration in relation to how ISIS want to create a caliphate and restore the world to the way it was pre 1400’s (with intentions to conquer beyond the Middle East). Although this is relevant to the idea of ‘futurity’ I have decided to make work regarding the youth of ISIS, who are called ‘cubs of the caliphate’ as I find this is a lot more pertinent regarding ‘the future’.
ISIS are training young children from the age of 8 (possibly younger) at camps teaching them martial arts, how to use weapons and Islamic studies. They are the future for ISIS and if the Islamic State continue achieving their goals, these children are the future the Western world faces. I am going to make a short film (continuing with the same theme used when making ‘Seeing II’) that will involve a sense of humour as I juxtapose imagery of these children being trained with the song ‘Lets get ready to rumble’ which featured in the film Space Jam.
I chose this audio as any 90’s kid (like myself) will recognise this song and associate it with our own childhood. This creates a juxtaposition between the visuals of children of this time with innocent nostalgia. For me this brings the realisation that society is ever-changing and whilst my childhood involved playing with toys and watching Disney films & Looney toons, these children of the Islamic State are subjected to a very different reality. I am not condoning what ISIS do but for these children this could be the best and most exciting childhood they could have which is inevitably going to shape them into the future of ISIS.
In the most recent version of my proposal for the Elaine Thomas Gallery, I have mentioned the use of a tank.
Work that inspired this idea was Amy Cheung’s full size wooden tank which I saw in the Saatchi Gallery a few years back. The tank allowed you to climb inside and ‘operate’ it. The scale of this was incredible and dominated the space. The use of a real tank could definitely have a domineering presence if placed on the the university driveway pointed towards Farnham town.
Whilst considering a catwalk I found my ideas related to Madonna’s original American Life music video which was made before the war in Iraq. Its a very powerful piece of imagery which I feel I could draw from. At the time it was made, Madonna had no idea of the events that were to happen, which later made this very controversial and she changed the content of the video.
If this kind of work was displayed today it would be far more controversial and would not be very well perceived by many. It probably wouldn’t be condoned at all and just seen as offensive.
The work makes such a powerful statement about women and power and I feel this is something I am also putting across in my work exploring the independence and submission of women.
When considering doing a catwalk show on the opening night of the degree show, Chalayan’s work is inspiring as it is so fearless. My intentions are to put on a ‘fashion show’ using four females and one male who will strut up and down the runway, which will be covered in charcoal/black soot (symbolic of the burning people). The catwalk façade will explore the glamorisation of ISIS and the way in which women fit into their male dominated society bringing to light how this becomes problematic culturally. Western women flee to Iraq & Syria in a bid to regain independence and become “bad b*tches” but in reality upon arriving in the arms of the Islamic State they become submissive jihadi brides, used to “breed a new generation of fighters” in turn bringing feminism backwards. For Islamic women in the East it is not condoned to show their skin in public, which is something I am going to play on while contradicting it with the excitement and celebrity ISIS have become.
Max Hattler’s animation combines patterns from the Islamic and American flags presenting them in a kaleidoscopic way creating an abstract field of reflection.
Hatler makes a strong political statement by combining these two flags in quite a subtle way which is something that I could definitely take on. The work I have made previously has been quite strong in itself with the content I have used so it would be quite a challenge to turn it around and make it subtle.