BEHIND THE PEACEFUL AND INNOCENT FEATURES SOMETHING BLOOMED
ROMANTIC IMAGINATIONS THAT WERE NEVER EXPECTED TO TAKE ACTION
WHEN THEY DID, SHE SEEKED FOR CONFIRMATION
SOMEONE TO MIRROR HER TRANSFORMATION
THE NIGHTS GREW DARKER AND STEAMY
THE FEVER MADE HER UNABLE TO SEE THE TRUE REFLECTION
FOR CURE SHE TOOK BATHS IN LUKEWARM WATER
NEW SKIN PEELED OFF AND THE GLOW WASHED AWAY
A 100 YEARS HAD PASSED.
Back to library, took all the books from my bibliography, and photocopied the most important, strongest and influental images in large size. I divided the pictures in 5 groups, representing the 4 chapter in the film (I. Bloom, II. Summer, III. Fall, IV. Au revoir) and one for general imagery about styling, set etc.. Then I cut the images and laid them out in chronological order, following the script. These images represent the kind of scenes and mood I wanted for these chapters.
From the images, I started to make collages about the characters, styling and finally the scenes I wanted, mixing my illustrations and notes. This would help both me and people I work with at the shoot to understand my vision. The pictures above are about the styling, but also the "script "is presented this way.
After the first shoot, I printed out the stills and photos and laid them on the table. Now I could see which scenes I still need for the film to fill in the gaps (the notes present each scene)
I moved the images from the shoot to my sketchbook, so that now I had the original collages that represented the kind of scene I wanted, and the final outcomes on the same page. This will help me when I continue the shoot to remember what kind of make up I need for each scene, so there won't be any unlogical changed in the styling.
lace & architecture
Street in Milan - Street in Paris - images by me
Originally, I wanted to hide lace from the screen, so that my only reference to the subject would be the research process - starting from
(1) traditional lace making patterns & techniques in different cultures.., developing into researching..
(2) ..similarities in the human body (anatomy and medical books & exhibitions, finding imagery of arteries, neurons, diseases) ...
(3) deeper into mental illnesses - insanity, obsessions and how modern technology can make them visible by various techniques
(4) heart diseases - research of heart tissue scans, idea of "pain in the heart" and how it is made visible - expressions
(5) dark romanticism - themes of insanity and love and how the painters such as Henry Fuselli have expressed these emotions
(6) how photographers (also fashion photographers) explore the same themes - love, darkness, insanity , etc - in terms of lightning, models, direction, styling, etc.
(7) David Lynch - The Grandmother - use of black background and the same themes as dark romanticism painters reminded me of this film which became hugely influental in terms of set design, also the idea of relationship
(8) expressions - study of theatre/clown make up, influenced by the Grandmother, also more research about facial expressions in medical/anatomy books and how they can be manipulated
At this point, the idea for the film started to construct and I had already an idea for the script, styling, set, characters, etc.. but the element of adding lace physically didn't come into my mind until I went to the fabric shop to buy black fabric just for the background. Just seeing all the different types of lace they had was really inspirational and different types started to link to the characters and scenes I had in my mind immediately.
The primary research of lace was really important here too because it reminded me of the differencies between French and Italian lace I had paid extra attention to, because this reminded me of my experiences in Paris and Milan - when I was in Milan last summer for the first time, it kind of reminded me of Paris , but the architecture was much more bold, strong, colourful, very beautiful (or handsome, some reason the architecture to me was very masculine), but sometimes maybe a bit too much (one could say distasteful), where as in Paris the architecture is always well considered, exquisite, restrained color palette (and feminine).
This actually helped me to develop the characters I had in my mind further - refine the kind of person I needed and how to show the transformation in styling exactly - the French lace representing the innocence and pureness that we see in the starting scene, the moment before the transformation begins, after introduction to the influental, very different but exciting and attractive strong character.
4 types of lace - one for each chapter
Italian gimp lace - Portrait of marquise Lucrezia Ricasoli Zanchini by Luigi Sabatelli
Italian bobbin lace
Cabaret dancer in a lace dress, Paris 1926
Parisian bobbin lace
The Grandmother by David Lynch
above Lyle Ashton Harris, America source
below The Head of Niobe, G.-B Duchenne de Boulogne from Mecanisme de la physionomie humaine (1862)
"The smooth forehead and level eyebrows do not show the sculpting produced by the expression of pain."
scans from Aesthetic Surgery by Angelika Taschen
The face of horror; the face of insanity
"The face-to-face eludes every category. For within it the face is given simultaneously as expression and as speech. Not only a glance, but as the original unity of glance and speech, eyes and mouth, that speaks, but also pronounces its hunger... This unity of the face precedes, in its signification, the dispersion of senses and organs of sensibility. Its signification is therefore irreducible.
Moreover, the face does not signify. It does not incarnate, envelop or signal anything other than self, soul, subjectivity, etc. Thought is speech, and its therefore immediately face. In this, the thematic of the face belongs to the most modern philosophy of language and of the body itself."
- Jacques Derrida
Unidentified artist, "The Muscle of the face" - G.B Duchenne de Boulogne, "The Muscle of Sadness"
Facial muscles, expression
"In Monster Reborn he sits next to himself in a double portrait. One of the images shows him as a perfectly ordinary young man, while the other is a distorted mirror image of himself with tape criss-crossing his face. A representation of a split personality where the artist refers to e.g. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, creating a picture of his own inner monster. At the same time, however, the picture takes on an ironic feel due to all the tape, which subverts the seriousness of the message. Even so, a remnant of the image of evil lingers."
scans from book 1000 Clowns more or less
by R. Thomas Steeler
The Shadow by Andy Warhol
Capturing the overwhelming darkness in photography : enlightning the subject in it's pitch-black surroundings, mental states expressed in facial expressions.. the deepest shadows, the lack of contrast in the endless mist, the moment before breakdown, the insight
Photography by Paco Peregrin
scans from Light Fantastic
by Max Keller
Franz von Stuck , The Sin
"And for in that moment of pure darkness, I see your soul shining brighter than it ever has.
I love the weirdness in you and the gentle way you make me go insane."
Even love and insanity, are based on changes in the neural connections
Salvador Dalí (1904-1989), Ballerina in a Death's Head
Exhibition "How do we look?" at the Francis Krick Institute
"On display are a collection of working images, rather than works of art, each created by a scientist to help solve a research problem. From simple illustrations to computer models, the selection our scientists share in the exhibition is diverse. Some are extraordinarily beautiful, others deceptively simple; all have been created as tools for discovery."
"Timothy created the film by magnifying the heart under a microscope and taking over 1,000 thin slices from it using a machine called a microcrome. The cut surface was photographed each time a slice was removed and the stack of photographs reassembled using computer software into the virtual 3D model of the heart that we see here."
scans from The Sick Rose by Richard Barney
Signs of mental illnesses are visible in the brain, but what about a lovesick heart ?
"Electricity is currency in the brain. A tightly choreographed ballet of electrical currents constantly - and fathomlessly - flickers throughout the vast expanses of the neutral plains, engendering our every decision, every belief , every crush, and every aversion.
Your experience of red in Warhol?s Campbell?s Soup Cans, your feeling of helplessness in the face of death, your body?s reaction to a fall (along with its accompanying jolt of fear), and your most intimate secrets are all somehow carried by neurons that speak the language of electricity. Your very language faculty - learning English, deploying it in conversation, reading this book - is produced by their electrical activity. These neurons? currents were set into motion before you were born and will persist through sleep and consciousness until the final moments of your life.
You are the summation of the electrical activity in your brain."
source: Carl Schnover: Portraits of the Mind
When starting this research about lace, I wasn't really inspired by the traditional use of it, or its qualities it is often linked to, such as transparency, lightness, purity etc.. In terms of color, lace is often made of white cotton or silk, which didn't inspire me this time at all. I started doing research about the way lace is being made and found a lot of tutorials and sewing pattern, which looked interesting aesthetically. The main quality was how the process requires precision; every thread has to be connected perfectly to each other, and repeated over and over again so that it finally starts to create a pattern.
These small jointed lines remind me of the human body, especially on the inside; the many functions only the brain has, are based on neural connections, even the most elaborate ones.
scans from The body : photoworks of the human form / William A. Ewing.
scans & quotes from Brain Story by Susan Greenfield
Anatomia Barocca by Museo Zoologico "La Spevole" dell Universita a Firenze
Ghost in the Shell by Robert A. Sobieszek
Brain Story by Susan Greenfield
The Body by William A. Ewing
Portraits of the Mind by Carl Schonover
Aesthetic Surgery by Ed. Angelika Taschen
Dark Romanticism: From Goya to Max Ernst by Roland Borgards
Martin Myrone: Gothic Nightmares
The Sick Rose by Richard Barnett
Mental States by George Condo
A short history of the Shadow by Victor I. Stoichita
Light Fantastic by Max Keller
The Image to Come by Magnum, Cinematheque Francaise
Symbolism by Robert Goldwater
Henry Fuseli by Carolyn Keay
Doubleworld by Sarah Charlesworth