In terms of the sound for my pastiche I realised quite quick that I couldn’t have just any soundtrack and that actually the less sound I would have, the better, as I think just as it was important to have a lot of white space in the video- it is important to let the silence speak as well. Calder is work is very monumental and has its own presence that translates best into silence. Awe.
However, the sounds I did put in are:
- Some “dings” that sounds like glass or a metal bowl because it has that resonance that “travels”. It’s a sound that continue to flow around a room which is perfect as Calder is all about room and space and how you can create something (in this case a sound) that then gets life of its own. It also ties back to Calder’s own experiments with sound and how he sometimes hung his mobiles purposely close together so that when the wind decided it was time for them to move and eventually touch, the metal would create a “ding” kind of sound. All very random and precisely what I wanted to reflect in my video as well.
- In the middle of the video when the shapes are balancing around I have put footsteps and some birds chirping. This is to represent Calder’s studio in the south of France, how he worked a lot outside and how his work requires you to move around. It’s a background sound and something we might not think about but here the background is what is important, the environment. It also brings nature into it which makes everything more human and maybe less serious which is good. The shape almost becomes human, like it was the shape walking around instead.
- Windchimes are what is playing last when the mobiles dance around, combined with some wind blowing. I wanted to accentuate wind, air and space at this part, making you understand that the mobiles move because the wind tells them to. It almost sounds a bit eerie but I think that is a good thing as it highlights Calder’s thoughts on space and how in his workshop, he looked up at his many mobiles hanging in the ceiling and thought of them as making up this own space. Creating their own universe.
“Just as one can compose colours or forms, so one can compose motions.”
The above quote is what I have been basing my pastiche on. It’s by Calder and captures his way of creating so well and summarises his work weather it be static or moving- he composes motions.
Deciding I want to create my pastiche digitally I went back to a screenshot I saved months ago when starting this project. It’s taken from the website of A2/SW/HK and is the visual identity they did for an architecture firm. It’s not visible in this picture but the black negative space of some of the letters that by themselves create abstract forms, move up and down, sort of floating in space.
Work by A2/SW/HK
This movement and the shapes to me really breathes Calder but in a more “modern” way if you want to call it that. The shapes have a weightlessness about them that embodies the whole way Calder looks at form and how sculpture does not have to be static. Nothing is pulled down by gravity but rather living its own life- moving in a random way and every shape has its own personality. This is what I am basing my video on.
When researching videos of Calder and his mobiles I always seem to end up watching the same one where a boy walks into Calder’s workshop and is amazed by everything that moves by its own. (video here) He stares at the mobiles hanging from the ceiling, living their own sort of life of there, creating their own universe. He looks at this play for a long time, eventually finding it hard to differ between dream and reality as he is more and more mesmerised by them. Every time I watch this I want to make mobiles.
Last time I thought about this project I was really into doing a stop motion animation. Today I ended up giving the mobiles another go and made another one.
Been reading up more on Calder, his career and how he came to create the art he created to get a better understanding of his working approach and philosophy as it will help me for my pastiche. Immersing myself in videos from different exhibitions about his work, videos that other people have made about him, exhibition reviews and articles about the artist from museums previously exhibiting his work I feel like I have more research to lean back on and backing up my decisions developing this project. There are so many things about this guy though that I really wanna capture in my video and at the moment it’s giving me serious creative block.. I’ll have to put this aside for a couple of days I think.
- Circulation of air
- Pull of gravity
- Play of chance
- Powered by the wind
The book Alexander Calder and His Magical Mobiles is a really pleasant read and full of quotes that I might use for my video. I haven’t given the text that much thought but I don’t want it to be too formal with only information so stealing some quotes from this book might be a good way to go. I’ve also looked into more of his style of painting and think I can use that as well for my project. Initially I wanted to write things out with wire to represent his wire sculptures but I think I’ve changed my mind- I want more colour.
Really like this print (to the right) and how much it feels like Calder. Using that somehow!
Though he did other sculptures as well and many paintings, Alexander Calder is essentially mobiles and I want one in my pastiche. A real one. Trying out some animation in After Effects and thinking about how to build something that can move and spin only ended up in me being frustrated because it didn’t look good at all. Because Calder’s designs are so clean and restrained in their visual language, animating something using only lines and dots seemed like a good way to echo his style but in my attempt of doing so I realized I lost that handmade factor that I would like to capture. What I made seemed too disconnected from the sculptor’s rustic studio overlooking the grassy hills of Saché, France. And that’s not good.