Work Title: THE LOSS OF SUBURBIA
Projection and Sound Work
Overall Loop: 3:40
Name: David Gusevski
‘The Loss of Suburbia’ is projection/sound work that portrays a local resident’s experience with construction and over development in her area of ‘Wolli Creek’ in Sydney’s south. Centred around her struggles, this piece showcases her challenges as she faces the loss nostalgia with the increase of high rises against and around her home.
Featuring pieces collected from her home, this installation is created in combination with this work to display a living room design. These were featured to set the subjects point of view, helping to understand her story and connection to home. The film work is projected onto a mock window, displaying the changes and fast paced notions of this updated community. This is used to symbolize the lack of control these residents have as they watch these changes occur. Featuring a stop motion effect, the differentiation of each frame creates radical shifts that maintain a sense erratic inconsistency. Accompanied by a heavy sound piece, this work highlights the subject’s emotion and experience, opening up about her struggles. Displaying these thoughts, this piece reveals a sense of chaos through intense layering of collected construction noise from these areas, creating an unsettling feeling for audiences.
With the increasing amount of areas affected by over development this piece gives insight to individuals situations as they battle modifications throughout their community and surrounding suburbs, leading us to discover how these advancements are not always positive.
As this is the final week before the project is due I am finishing off this work for presentation. I have begun to collect my items to make a living room setting which I am looking forward to creating. I played around with having my video developed off a green screen but ultimately I feel like it is much easier for me to build it around the size of my mock window. Emailing with Aaron back and forth this week he has approved this change and suggested I make my window smaller to avoid it looking tacky. I think this is a better Idea as I want to ensure the setting looks as realistic as possible, reflecting the real thoughts found in the interviews and projection.
The next week:
As I began to collect my shots featured on Google Images I was having trouble ensuring the quality of these images were cohesive. As these were captured in past years these images contrasted against the updated ones brought the quality of my work down significantly, creating it to feel very scattered and unfocused. Although it focuses on an interested aspect of this suburb, I don’t feel confident utlising these images. Facing this issue I decided that it would be best if i captured my own images of the area in hopes to showcases these changes. With this in mind I found it would also reinforce the ideas and challenges discussed throughout my interview, giving audiences an opportunity to match these stories to a visual. Driving down to Wollongong I borrowed a DSLR camera for two days to photograph the main parts of the community where this construction and over development has occurred . Attempting to steer away from the traditional slideshow of images my goal for this video work was to create movement through still image, pairing with my sound piece. Using a stop motion effect, the video showcases over 80 images moving through these suburb streets, symbolising the movement of change. This was added to create a sporadic effect, highlighting the feelings of chaos and resistance. After developing this film I decided to curate a test run at home with a mini projector. While the video worked to display the stories and emotions discussed in the sound piece, I decided to edit in a window frame onto my this film to ensure audiences were able to understand the vision of this piece and layout. Although I did have doubts with this living room design, I was happy to see that implementing these changes has created a more cohesive project. I am now just adding in collected noises of construction, cranes and trucks from this area to create chaotic ambience, intruding into the safe space of home. I am looking forward to hearing Matt and Aaron’s thoughts on how I have taken their advice to improve my overall concept/ work.
Final Layout Form:
Over this week I have conducted an new interview with my grandma that I am pretty happy with. Again, her interview was fairly long so I have begun editing down to the main points so it is more cohesive with video. As she is very unwell at the moment it was quite challenging to find time where she was well enough to talk, but I am happy with what I have collected. Listening to this sound piece, it offers a great description of these areas as well as her thoughts and feelings. I have begun editing my video and I am looking forward to see how both this sound piece and film will look together.
The next week-
This week I have decided to alter my project. Although we are drawing close to the due date, over the past week I have been brainstorming ways to push this idea further. After drawing up designs and testing I have decided to move towards an projection/installation piece rather than an single screen, as I think I can design something that would create my work to be more engaging. Describing my final idea further I am developing an installation piece that illustrates my grandmother’s feelings towards her neighborhood and it’s changes. I have focused this project on one subject rather than capturing six perspectives to steer away from journalistic aspects. For my work I am capturing film from past and present years to display the immense differences in my grandmothers area. This will be presented against a fake window frame on the wall to symbolize her witnessing these changes whilst her own surroundings remain the same. I am still creating a sound piece that features more of a ranting style to convey her frustration (which I found more entertaining). In my last talk with Aaron he mentioned that I should showcase aspects of isolation within her home. With this is mind I have decided to create a living room setting to accompany my projection, featuring items from her house to depict her perspective. These items look to invite audiences to sit experience her thoughts and emotions through the combination of the projection and sound piece.
Throughout the week-
This week I have conducted a total of three interviews as well finalising my editing for two of them. With the end of classes approaching I want to have enough time to practice test my ideas and see if it will work in class. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Aaron in person for a couple of weeks so that something that I am aiming on doing this week. Along with this I also want to get my group and other peers opinions on my work to see where I can improve. Focusing on obtaining feedback this week I am excited to hear what these people think as I haven’t had a chance to update them with my new idea.
Emailing with Aaron before class this week he has told that my concept comes across as vague and directionless. His advice over email was for me to focus on a more specific issue found throughout these interviews. Although getting this response was a bit discouraging I wanted to stay optimistic because I knew Aaron could help to move this into a strong direction. With this in mind, I have sent through the interview with my grandma so he can take a look at what I’ve created before our discussion on Monday. I am both nervous and eager to hear what he has to say.
After our discussion-
After talking with Aaron he has given me a lot of advice on where I can improve this project. He stated that the aspects of six interviews and their storytelling looks to be more journalistic rather than artistic. With this we went over the aim for this project and what I should be focusing on. He suggested that I should stick to a single area rather than multiple as it may start to get confusing for audiences. Sending through the interview with my grandma’s he advised me that he enjoyed the aspects of ranting and frustration as well as the noise of construction and chaos. However, he thought I could do without the background music as he found it cheesy and takes away the effect from her story. He said that I should focus developing this further and play off her emotions of dealing with isolation within your own home. With this advice in mind I looked to my peers to gain some further suggestions on where I can improve. Speaking with many of them they stated that they also found my grandmothers interview the most interesting and that I should take Aaron’s advice to focus more on her situation. Moving forward, I have decided to scrap my other conducted interviews and focus on the thoughts behind my grandma and her story (as this was the most well received). Over the next week my plan is to re- interview my grandma to focus more on her ranting and frustration over the typically storytelling as I don’t want this to feel journalistic. I think following this new path will ensure that the overall video makes more sense, as well as making it more entertaining for audiences.
Looking at my projects progress, although I am happy with the direction of my interviews, I am worried with the lack of a visual representation in this work. This past week I have been brainstorming and testing different screen work ideas to incorporate in this peice. Working with Final Cut Pro I first starting to experiment taking photographs of the city scape and high rises in my area. While this does showcase the growth and changes found in these areas, I found this visual has a disconnect from my interviews as these individuals are sharing stories from their past and touching on more nostalgic aspects of the community. With this in mind I wanted to find a way of illustrating what these areas were like before as well as how they are now. Doing some research I found an article on this use of Google Maps Josh Sanburn for Time.com. The article looks into Google’s Street View , and how it has become the closest thing we have to a teleportation device. This site allows visitors to travel anywhere with just a few keystrokes. Discussing the advancement of this Google feature he showcases how this virtual map of the world has always been limited to the present — or at least the most recent images transmitted by its camera-equipped vehicles. Each time those vehicles captured a site, the new images would become searchable and the old ones were taken down and relegated to Google’s servers. However now, this Street View feature is trying to turn its teleportation device into a time machine, with all captured images taken over the last 10 years being be viewable as part of a new feature that allows users to see how places have changed since Google began photographing diverse areas.
Looking at the examples shown in Sanburn’s article I think this could be an interesting way to highlight my interviews using visual examples. I looked into my interviewees areas and I am eager to see what I can develop. Although I have been struggling throughout this development, this addition to my project has helped revive the passion I’m aiming for this work. I feel this visual piece captures the essence of these people’s stories, emphasising their issues and struggles.
Looking further into this Google feature a concern I do have is the amount of areas and clear captured shots I have to work with. With this in mind I am thinking of interviewing a number of subjects from different areas to show how this affects a wide range of people from different suburbs. With this overpopulation and heavy construction even spreading down to areas in Wollongong, I thought it would be interesting to conduct interviews to learn how these people from these less populated areas deal with this issue. This afternoon Aaron emailed me asking how my development was looking which I very happy about as I haven’t had the chance to sit down with him to get his thoughts on my ideas. I filled him in on what I’m looking at creating and I am hoping he likes the idea as well as give me some advice on how to make it stronger.
Over the last week I have been keeping my eye out for factors that inspire a concept or story for my major work. Spending time with family over this past weekend the topic of my suburb and surrounding area came up which stirred a huge debate. With my family growing up in the same area their whole lives, the main argument raised by grandparents and elder relatives was the amount of changes that have occurred, especially over the last ten years. While I initially saw these differences to benefit these areas, as my family reminisced on the days in their upbringing throughout this suburb sparked an idea for this final project. Looking at my area we are bombarded with construction and over population due to new spark of high-rise apartments and new ‘trendy’ businesses. With members of my own family having such strong concerns for what’s to come with this area I thought it would be interesting to collect thoughts and stories from individuals who are both old and new to this area to gage opinions on the changes of this area and if they have been either positively or negatively effected. Talking about this with my family, my grandma volunteered to do an interview with me so I was able to start testing and developing this concept. Although I didn’t have specific questions ready I felt this created a more organic conversation, helping her feel more relaxed so she was able to open up about the struggles.
Talking with her the unedited interview came to about 15 minutes long. Although I was happy I did have a lot of content to sort through, with the idea to interview 6 or more people, I need to ensure each individuals stories and thoughts were short enough to be able to keep audience interested. With testing on my mind I wanted to start editing this interview as soon as possible to see if this idea was worth exploring further. Working on this I was able to cut it down to around 1 minute an and 50 seconds (1:50) which I am pretty happy with considering the length of content I had. My method for this editing process utilised the parts where my grandma speaks about the hardship and struggle of living around this area. Although she discussed a wide range of arguments I found these to be the most engaging and relative as it depicts the nature of her living situation clearly. Playing off her thoughts from this interview I also went outside to record the sounds of construction to further emphasise her issues. I felt this created a chaotic environment that pairs with the interview quite well. Too add effect I am also playing around with a backing track that matches the emotions of her story.
The first edit of this interview:
Over the next week my aim is to conduct at least two more interviews before I ask for feedback. Looking back, a major problem in my last meeting with Matt was having a lack of work to show him where my idea was heading. Further producing this work before the meeting should showcase my thoughts more clearly and help both Matt and Aaron to understand where I want to take this project.
Before the lesson:
Throughout the last week I started to gather research and past works to develop my concept further. I have begun sorting through news articles and captured film from the march to construct my idea. As my work looks at creating two screens I have decided the best way of tackling this project would be to focus on developing one at a time to ensure the message behind the work is clear. With many individuals being against the use of guns and violence I knew developing a screen work that showcases the positive attributes would be challenging. With this in mind, I have decided to focus on this part of the work first, as I am able to judge if this concept is effective without constructing a whole project. Looking into my research I am finding it very difficult to gather sources while still remaining ethical. Although I do want to showcase the extreme nature of these weapons, I still want to ensure my work isn’t crossing boundaries that will negatively affect audiences. I also want to ensure throughout the construction of this piece that I am not inflicting my own opinions or views on this law , as I don’t want to alter viewers responses. At the moment I have started editing a rough cut of news footage, photography, interviews and political speeches to begin developing this work. My aim is to have this finished by the end of the week so I am able to show Matt and Arron what I’ve been working on to gather further feedback and idea for improvement.
After the lesson:
After today’s lesson I had a talk to Matt about my concept and future plans for this project. Going into this talk I was excited to get his thoughts on my work as well as areas of improvement. Speaking to him, he wasn’t completely sold on the idea. Stating he felt the project wasn’t grounded and lacked specific research. He added that the work would need to implement aspects of a debate to make it challenging. When discussing the utilisation of the juxtaposing screens to form a discussion, he stated that it would be best to steer clear from juxtapositions and the data on gun violence. Speaking on my concerns from earlier in the week, I wanted to get his opinion on the ethical challenges I was facing and if it was worth developing further. Not being to keen on this idea, he stated that as these events are a more prevalent in other countries like the United States, it would be difficult to incorporate this into a work that relates to audiences here, as we aren’t affected by this law. With this feedback I am thinking it would be best to test new concept ideas and develop something that will be better received. Looking back at my discussion with Matt I am happy with the feedback he provided as it was clear and direct, which has been extremely beneficial . Throughout the next week my plan is to curate new ideas for this project. I aim to start testing and am looking at having a final idea by the end of next week. Using the opinions from my group was another great source throughout the development process so I will definitely looking to my peers for advice as well.