Artist: Alysse Stepania
Run time: 7 minutes
When I first started watching this film (somewhere in the middle), I was a bit offset from what I was observing. From the reused clips, the constant droning noise in the background; I had no idea what was going on. I watched it a second time and still didn’t quite get what the artist was expressing. But on my third observation of the piece I believe I started to realize what the artist was trying to say. The room filled with various infrared videos from UAVs and explosion sounds all around the room were trying to show that the world has become a place of violence and hate; where no group on Earth is safe from destruction. These video and audio clips are seen and heard throughout most of the video. At one point we see the American flag in a washing machine; rolling around in the drum being drenched in water. Later in the video, the strange cow woman returns to the machine to find the machine still washing the flag. I believe the message in this part of the video is trying to say that no matter how long we spend trying to “cleanse” America (reputation or otherwise), we are wasting our time and resources; it will never be done. All in all, I thought this was an okay video that expressed its viewpoints to a certain extent, but perhaps could have done so in a different fashion.
Artist: Andrew Kaufman
Run time: As long as you’d like it to be
At first glance, this was the weirdest short of the 17 Days series I had ever seen; more than the previous short. But after watching it for a few moments (video is continuous loop; no break point), I started to make connections to what I was seeing. Observing the plane’s nose, you will see it is slightly crumpled; indicating past damage. Taking this into thought and the fact that the plane is constantly spiraling, I made the connection that the plane is a metaphor for the artist’s life; spiraling out of control. The artist has experienced emotional/physical damage and pain, but yet still has no control of his life and is stuck in an endless looping free fall; spiraling out of control. The shattered glass is meant to represent everyone on the outside’s perception; broken and distorted. By seeing the artist in this way, we are unable to realize the harsh experiences the artist is dealing with; whether clearly or at all. So after being completely dumbfounded as to what I was watching, I was quite pleased that I was able to make a connection with this eerie, psychological piece. The video itself is well composited as well as the audio.
Title: In Dreams
Artist: Samuel Blain
Run time: 2:30
This piece does a very good job at using symbolism all throughout. In this short, people explain details about their nightmares. Some dream of their teeth falling out, others their hair, and some explain being grabbed by evil trees. To further make a connection with these dreams, the artist composited CGI models of items related to the dream; I absolutely love this. For example, the woman talking about her teeth falling out has the head of one of those gag chattering teeth toys. Even better, rather than having the toy mouth not speak, the artist animated the mouth opening and closing in a fashion that looks realistic as to what that toy would look like if it were actually speaking. From the documentary style of filming and sound design, to the fantastic motion tracking and compositing for the visual effects, this piece does a great job of making a seamless short that shows a great deal of symbolism for each person being interviewed about their most dreadful nightmares.
Artist: AH Jerriod Avant
Run time: 1:19
The first few times I viewed this piece, I was quite confused as to what the message was that the artist was trying to express. I tried only paying attention to the photos a few times, and then the words being spoken by the narrator. After doing this a few times, I was able to make a few connections between the two aspects of the piece. My final conclusion is that the narrator is speaking of a moment in his life where slavery was legal; describing his time in containment of someone else’s power. The black and white photos have a supernatural but dark aspect to them; ghostly. This is done to show how the narrator views his days in confinement of his owner. The photos in color on the other hand (example: the swing set that is shown every so often) is to symbolize the freedom he wishes for. This is a very well composited piece but seems to have some trouble making it easy to express its main idea.