In Major Mal Function and the search for the panopticon I wanted to explore the concept of centralised surveillance as envisioned by Orson Wells in the book 1984. My premise was that there wasn’t one centralised focal point or even a number of disparate hubs but rather a complex web of surveillance that is interconnected along security, commercial and social networks. This web can be monitored by sensitive and mobile entities that can harvest information according to their needs. I make the point in the video that there are three distinct agents of surveillance, the government, the corporations and the consumer and introduced the concept of suiveillance (or I watch myself). This is a position that I would like to explore in the third assignment.
The Search for the Lost Panopticon took a lot of conceptual thought and I found it difficult to focus on one simple message, it is such a complex area. The planning began with the evolution of the character of Major Mal Function where I realised that a suggestion of an adventure was an appropriate context. Unfortunately, I think the use of a single security camera hampered the dynamic potential of such a narrative, but this is something that could be addressed in Assignment 3. In view of the action adventure theme I went with a quick paced editing, not dwelling for too long on either character and utilising rhythm in the overlay images to counterpoint the dialogue. Finding images for the overlay material was interesting and I had to be creative with search functions, so many wanted to throw up images of surveillance cameras or military relevant pictures, an interesting comment on the surveillance community. From approximately 30 selected images I included 10 in the finished footage, a clear indication of the ruthless commitment to my vision, each image being carefully vetted for its appropriate contribution to the narrative. I have deliberately set out to facilitate a complimentary taxonomy rather than contrasting imagery, I did experiment with telling an opposing story with the imagery, suggesting reasons why surveillance was necessary, but found that the overall effect was confusing and clouded the intended meaning. Once the theme was firmly established the choice of music became obvious but, despite broad ranging and intensive searching, no suitable music licenced under creative commons was found to be available. In the end I opted to purchase a licence to use the selected music as it was a worthwhile investment and the funds went to support a fellow artist.
The key lesson I learned was that I need to be more adventurous in my production planning, I erred on the side of caution when designing the cinematography and regret not being more liberal. Recording the sound from the security camera’s perspective was always going to be a challenge and I recorded my voice from a phone in my pocket as well as from the phone recording the footage. Unfortunately, the shirt I was wearing had a high starch content and the recording was marred by the sound of fabric rubbing however the sound from the video phone was of sufficient quality to be useable with some amplification and provided a balanced aural quality to the sound track. The recording of “The Eye” was done in the loungeroom and lacked the resonance of Major Mal’s soundtrack. This was addressed by applying reverb to the voice, giving it an “other” worldliness, even digital, tonality.
All in all this was a lesson in learning by doing and I am looking forward to the assignment three challenge.
Major Mal Function is searching for Foucault’s Lost Panopticon
With images from
Parliament of Ontario 1871 by unknown from Wikipedia. copyright expired
Epic Cinematic Logo by jmac713 from Audio Jungle purchased under a music standard licence.