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Sarah Hirst - disability arts online
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Ta Da!!!!!! film completed! / 22 May 2013

Have finally finished editing!  Any feedback welcome.

This film evolved from my research for my dissertation and inspired me to take the realms of my reality to the forefront.  Using film I wanted to invoke emotion and empathy in the audience.  To show what I experience on a nightly basis and the struggles emotionally I have.  I wanted to challenge the viewer’s perception of someone who suffers with mental illness and the role they are perceived to have in society.

Following on from Antonin Artaud’s essay on mental illness and how it is perceived in society, I researched how mental illness has been represented throughout history in society and art in order to inform my ideas and convey my experiences.  I realised that I needed to research deeper into surrealism and began looking with Andre Breton’s Manifesto of Surrealism.  Exploring the movement in detail helped me to see that my project was very much interwoven with the beliefs of the surrealist movement and the writings of Sigmund Freud.  I believe my dream paintings are a reflection of my subconscious and my hallucinations are created by my subconscious, which are then being revealed to my awakened self.

Exploring surreal artists I decided that because I work in film I needed to further examine what makes a film surreal and what role the artists play in this.  The significance of the eyes features strongly in the films and I was particularly inspired by Louis Bunel and Salvador Dali’s ‘Un Chien Andalou’.  The emotive use of the eye footage gave intensity and that was something I would take into my film but in a different way.  I wanted the eye to be ever watching, but also to embody the feelings of me being constantly watched.  Samuel Beckett’s film entitled ‘Film’ starring Buster Keaton influenced my ideas.  In this film the viewer is contantly aware of the protagonist being watched and no matter how hard he tries to hide, he is always being watched.  This has similarities to my reality at night and I felt an affinity and understanding that I wanted to convey through film.

I wanted to incorporate an animated element to my film to link through my watercolour paintings.  I felt this would help highlight how my night time experiences affect me by interlinking my awake hallucinations with my dream interpretations.  The audio on my film helps create the emotive atmosphere and give the sense of flowing.  I didn’t set out with a clear sense of the details of the audio; I just woke up and recorded my thoughts and feelings.  I felt this spontaneous release was very effective as it was real emotion and that came through well as opposed to a script. 

An unexpected addition to my audio was a poem that I had during a dream.  I woke and quickly wrote down what I had dreamt and thought then that it would be good to use as an audio version of my dream painting.  Both the audio and visual linked together made each other more meaningful and emotive in embodying the experience of my night time. 

The audio gives an insight into my personal thoughts and tries to confide in the viewer my innermost angst.  I hoped that the audio being personal in content but also in voice tone would involve the viewer and pull them into my night time world.