Early Sci-fi Media AP1

As part of my research in both this module and previous modules, I immersed myself with sci- fi and traditional film/media techniques, most importantly the use of primitive materials. A main influence came from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the monolith sat amongst a primitive form of man, acting as a beacon of the unknown future. The use of low budget materials feeds directly into the low-fi nature of early space travel as well as the makeshift/gatherer quality of survival and working in an art school. The beams of bright colour acting like a lighthouse, beckoning and immersing as they viewer surveys the exhibition.

Stanley Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1961)
Stanley Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1961)

Kubrick’s colour pallets, explore two complete opposites in terms of space and light. Scenes stretch from either very chromatic with a splash of bright pigment, which zones the observer into a key element/event happening on screen that they need to be focusing on. Or a completely vibrant screen with an element of contrasting colour, which creates a sense of discord and claustrophobia (especially when red is used).

Stanley Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1961)

The monolith became symbolic of human’s need for space domination, and the development of technology reaching beyond our inhabited world. Kubrick used this symbol by literally placing it in a primeval version of our world, directly contrasting the ‘modern’ and the ‘primitive’.

Stanley Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1961)
Stanley Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1961)

When moving around the monolith, crisp mirrored edges reflect the space and work around it, further confusing the viewer. The piece looks integrated into the space, both hidden behind the mirror and yet dominating, touching the surrounding space with its light.

Stanley Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1961)
NASA Space Shuttle Re- Build (2008)

I find the idea of man using primitive materials to build a vessel (space ship or monolith) that can transport (physically or spiritually) to another plane one of, if not the greatest achievement of the human race. Early space shuttle missions required tin foil, and other such household items in order for the ship to function, and protect the passengers inside from imminent death. Such a thin and flimsy piece of material can withstand live in an environment devoid of anything and made up of vacuum.

Likewise, early sci-fi media used what would be considered basic techniques to create visual phenomenon that are still stunning to witness. For the majority of the human population, the closest we will ever come to touching space, is through these films/ photographs. We can recreate what we think space would feel like, but never actually reach out and touch any of it. My work is my attempt to build my own piece of space phenomenon, using such primitive techniques/ materials (wood, foil, lighting) to create something visually dazzling. To encourage the viewer to loose their monotonous worries, and consider their place in the wider universe.

Georges Méliès: A Trip to the Moon (Colour Restored) (1902)
NASA Space Telescope (2013)
NASA Space Telescope (2003)

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