I have been taking a two-week break from posting during this holiday season. Absence I hope has made your heart grow fonder. Though not posting, I have been busy working on the Ambient Movie project. Of all the material on this blog, Ambient Movies have received the least love. Perhaps it is because they are akin to abstract art, not something everyone enjoys or appreciates. Or perhaps it is because they are the most removed from motorcycles and photography. Maybe it is as simple as they are not that good to begin with. I’m not sure except to say the videos have received few views compared to the writing and photography (on one motorcycle forum, individual posts have received up to 1000 views). What may be lacking for the Ambient Movies is a more comprehensive context of what these videos are; some more explaining may be in order.
The idea behind Ambient Movies was to create videos where the formal structure created by the editing process would tell a visual story rather than the narrative doing so (as tends to happen with traditional videos). Like abstract art or a symphony, the meaning in such purely visual works is purposely ambiguous and If used well, it evokes emotions in the viewer. Nonetheless I have come to realize I need to bring more of the motorcycle location into the structure of the video as this would add narrative that could reinforce the visual story. This can be done while still having the visual aspect of the story remain primary so that the idea of Ambient Movies will not change. It is a delicate balance — the amount of narrative verses visual story — a balance I will explore as I collect the necessary ride footage (working on that now). For now I remain focused on telling a pure visual story, a much harder job in many ways. I know I am asking a lot of the viewer and am grateful for those who stick it out with me. This is the nature of art and it is important to bracket judgement at the beginning. I hope I can reward your patience with increasingly better videos and eventually something truly fresh.
There is one other element about Ambient Movies worth mentioning given that some feedback I received has been along the lines of “there isn’t enough going on [in the content].” This may certainly be true: I may well have created a boring video. There may, however, be another reason for this reaction. The postmodern age is an age of hyper-speed. While the origins of this can be found in the latter half of the nineteenth century, the computer and the internet have ramped up the speed into hyper-speed. Today it is difficult to hold anyone’s attention for more than 30 seconds unless there is always something going on. This video content, however, is minimal by design to encourage and challenge the viewer to slow down. It is designed to bring up the question of why there must always be fresh content to hold our interest, why reflection can go on only so long before we find ourselves feeling an anxious urge to move on to the next thing. This is an important question to ask because if we do find ourselves constantly needing fresh content to hold our attention, we have lost something critical to developing a Eudaimonic Self. As the visual story does move forward, so there is a narrative to occupy the viewer. What an Ambient Movie does not have, however, is the shock of the new (The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change, a 1980 book and subsequent documentary that explored the frenetic pace in development of 20th century western art). These videos are not designed to jolt you with shock and excitement; they are designed to bring you to a very different state of mind and body.
The Ambient Movie, Sunlight Siren, is the most visually structured piece to date. It is a story about red and blue light encountering each other and their interaction. Please take the time to view it in its entirety. Especially for Ambient Movies, feedback is critical since I am too close to the work to be able to tell if they work or not. If these videos don’t work for you, it is important for me to know that and why. Feedback would be very helpful in improving the videos so they can tell the clearest visual story. I hope you will find this latest effort worth your time. While not a central part of this blog, Ambient Movies are shaping up to be an art form I will be developing over the coming years (similar to the Digital Collage art form I did in the 1990’s). I am excited to have a new form to work with in addition to the more traditional photography I’ve been working on the past three years.
I will be back with my usual posts in 2014 though less frequently than recent months. With winter soon upon us, my desire to ride and write will drop off as tends to happen every year. Come spring, however, I expect a return to weekly posts, photos and videos. Until then I hope you enjoy the holidays with family and friends. Oh yeah, don’t forget to tell them about Cruising Photography & Eudaimonia!
May You Always Enjoy The Ride