3.52. Authenticity

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7. The final scene of the video, continuing the fragmented view of reality.

Welcome to 3.52, where I talk about my latest art film experiment: Authenticity. This video is 2 minutes 29 seconds long and consists of random, time-lapsed scenes, and a soundtrack of two people having a philosophical conversation. This post serves to outline the ideas and questions behind this piece, how they relate to the execution of it, and discuss the feedback I received for it.

In my last video experiment (called How Many Removes? You can read about this in 3.51), I opened up a more overtly philosophical discussion than previous works this year. All my works this year have touched on this concept called the ‘real,’ but now I’m exploring this idea in more detail, which I feel is opening up an interesting narrative for my practice. I felt that it was setting up a conversation about these ideas, leading to the idea that an actual conversation might be an effective way to explore this narrative in detail. There is also something about casual speech which intrigues me: it can be an effective way to build tension, or to create a certain atmosphere, or to subtly allude to something. Filmmakers use dialogue in a variety of ways; Quentin Tarantino’s use of dialogue in particular really adds value to all of his films.

In Tarantino’s 1994 classic Pulp Fiction, there are frequent scenes of fairly banal dialogue, like this one, interspersed with intense action and drama. The relatively inconsequential conversations create an interesting contrast with the violence, and both elements seem to be intensified by the other. Calm conversations in the context of this film have a peculiarly tranquil, yet tense, atmosphere that I find really effective artistically, so I want to explore how conversation can be applied to my own film work. The soundtrack of Authenticity is a conversation I had with my girlfriend about the very thing we were doing: attempting to replicate a ‘real,’ natural conversation for a thing that wasn’t real: a film. It was an odd exercise and the conversation acknowledged this, bringing up ideas of representation, the real, and we even ended up naming the film by discussing the idea of authenticity, and how an artwork can be authentic.

The visual elements of the film were largely taken from last week’s film, and here they serve a symbolic purpose: all of them represent a kind of fragment or remove from authenticity. For example, two of them involve an impressive skyscape that is clearly from a window, showing a remove from the skyscape itself. It almost invites the viewer to say, ‘why wouldn’t you go outside to enjoy the sunset? Wouldn’t that be a more authentic experience?’ However, isn’t the most authentic view of the sunset from up a mountain? Or from the international space station? This film deals with the question of what authenticity is, how absurd the notion is, and whether it is possible to be truly authentic, and the imagery is a symbolic extension of this.

So, how effective is the outcome? Well, from my point of view the film is interesting in terms of the philosophical questions it raises, and the introduction of dialogue to my film work. However, I wonder if the realisation of it is a little thin. Perhaps there is opportunity to give the piece more depth by presenting it in an installation format, like I did with The Hyperreal (you can read about this in 3.49). Upon presenting this film to my tutor, I was encouraged to think about the self-aware nature of the film, and to research the concept of breaking the fourth wall. I was recommended a program called Fleabag, in which the main character not only breaks the fourth wall, but other characters seem to be aware of her doing it, so it’s kind of doubly self-aware. Perhaps the next step for me is to create a film that breaks the fourth wall, and to see how effective it is in terms of my practice.

Thank you for reading!



Published by William Fowler

Hello! I'm studying Art and English Literature at the University of Reading, and I'm currently working with art films to investigate philosophical ideas of the 'real.' As always, my aim is to create pieces of art that are more than the sum of their parts.

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