In my artefact, POWER & CONTROL, I undertook a piece on the lines between power and control and tried to convey a type of power relation and the reasoning of how that power relation was in place. I wanted the piece to be a take on abuse in relationships and how believing somebody’s excuses for their inexcusable behaviour is giving them power over you and allowing them to control you.
One incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute and on average, 2 women a week are killed by a current or former male partner. (Womensaid.org.uk, 2015) This is a disgustingly high statistic about disgusting actions by disgusting people. I was inspired to create this artefact through the desired outcome of creating an emotional piece that raised awareness and got a discussion going about domestic abuse.
I developed this idea through research of the topic and developing it, then placing that research into practice. “If you do your research well, you will reduce the risk of making a serious mistake.” (Rea and Irving, 1995). I tried my best to reduce the risk of making a serious mistake by doing diligent research. For example, I got ideas for the female character’s speech through first hand research of speaking to someone who had been abused and through researching domestic abuse websites. So, then when I developed this idea by personifying these words into actions in front of the camera, I had very low risk of creating bad dialogue. However, I could have perhaps improved it by using actual victims/perpetrators of abuse rather than actors. “the cv/direct technology/technique seems to offer an ultimate possibility of show-and-tell– of telling a real story…. rather than sitting back and creating it from remembered experience and imagination… cv/direct is closer to life than art. That it can seem unselected, formless, dull – a mere record” (Ellis and McLane, 2005). From this, we can see that it would have improved the piece if we told the real story from the real people rather than just recalling it through vessels in the form of actos for our research and imagination.
First hand, I spoke to a friend who had been a victim of domestic abuse. She spoke about how she tolerated his behaviour and constantly came up with excuses for his actions because of the low self esteem he had created within her by acting this way towards her. I tried to convey this as accurately as possible within the media product by giving the female character traits which showed she wasn’t very confident such as looking away and taking pauses in speech. Also, the dialogue I decided to use is all very similar to answers she gave to the questions I asked. (Aidan Reilly YEAR 3, 2015). I tried to place all the dialogue into situations in which they would be applicable. However, I perhaps should have spoke to her in more depth to understand the specific situations she faced in order to more accurately represent an abusive relationship.
I went on a few websites that specialised in domestic abuse. Specifically, I looked for what excuses and reasonings abusers, and people who were being abused, generally give and how abusers act. I visited verbalabusejournals.com (verbalabusejournals.com, 2015) and loveisrespect.org (loveisrespect.com, 2015). All the information on the websites was collated from the victims of abuse. This second hand information was very important and helpful in creating dialogue. This is because we can know that these words have legitimately been spoken in the situation I was creating. Therefore, I could develop the situations I was creating to be more accurate and powerful.
I would consider this media piece to fall under an unique avant-garde genre. “avant-garde wants to bring art down to the banal level of everyday life and popular culture.” (Graf and Scheunemann, 2007) I can see that my artefact sits in this genre as it brings the art of film and the love in relationships down to the banal level of everyday life through the grim subject matter and the use of the dark, evil, red lighting. However, I could have perhaps done this even better by deconstructing the film framework and having actual confrontation on screen midway through, breaking out of the interview structure and into “real life”.
My artefact has the form of representing reality. “Representing reality deals with meaning meanings and values, interpretations and purposes, not simply with signs and systems“. (Nichols, 1991) So, I had to think about the implications of what I was creating and how everyone would interpret what I was producing. I had to ensure that it was very black and white and have all the signs and systems pointing towards the same end goal. However, I could have perhaps represented reality better by adding in a slight bit of neorealism. “Neorealism not only provides a repertoire of techniques for giving the formal effect of representing a reality that evades the control of the filmmaker… it also lapses back toward the very conventions at an overall level that it avoids at a local one” (Nichols, 1991). By leaning towards neorealism, it could ground the film more towards the real world, thus becoming more of a believable piece that could greater elicit emotion in the audience.
I learnt a lot from the primary research of speaking to a person who had suffered domestic abuse. When talking to somebody who has experienced what you are trying to convey, it greatly helps in embodying that successfully on screen. I could speak to her in depth about her personal actions/experiences and put those directly into the character/story on screen. This helped in creating a more accurate and moving artefact, more so than I have been able to before without such hands-on research.
Aidan Reilly YEAR 3, (2015). Artefact 3 – Primary Research. [online] Available at: https://aidanreillyyr3.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/artefact-3-primary-research/ [Accessed 18 Nov. 2015].
Ellis, J. and McLane, B. (2005). A new history of documentary film. New York: Continuum. p.224.
Graf, A. and Scheunemann, D. (2007). Avant-garde film. Amsterdam: Rodopi. p.267.
Nichols, B. (1991). Representing reality. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p.13. p169.
Rea, P. and Irving, D. (1995). Producing and directing the short film and video. Boston: Focal Press. p.106.
Verbal Abuse Journals: Domestic Violence & Abuse Exposed, (2015). Things Abusers Say And Do. [online] Available at: http://verbalabusejournals.com/about-abuse/things-abusers-say-do/ [Accessed 5 Nov. 2015].
Womensaid.org.uk, (2015). Statistics. [online] Available at: http://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic_violence_topic.asp?section=0001000100220036 [Accessed 19 Nov. 2015].
http://www.loveisrespect.org, (2015). Apologies and Excuses –http://www.loveisrespect.org. [online] Available at:http://www.loveisrespect.org/content/apologies-and-excuses/ [Accessed 4 Nov. 2015].