The main idea I am exploring in my project looks at the way the camera can be seen as a ‘being’ or ‘entity’, and we are watching and sharing everything it sees as if it is happening in real time. The viewer is ’embodying’ and ‘becoming’ the camera, as though the camera is the viewers ‘eye’.
This looks at the way in which viewers get sucked into the experience of watching a video, they become immersed and feel as though what they are watching is real and is unfolding as they watch it. In a way there is no camera, our eyes are the camera, or the camera is an eye in which we are sharing or making our own, nothing else around us can be seen when we are totally engrossed in a video. One theorists that looks at this is Vivian Sobchack in her book, The address off the eye: a phenomenology of film experience (1992). She argues,
‘When we sit in a movie theatre and perceive a film as sensible, as making sense, we (and the film before us) are immersed in a world and in an activity of visual being. The experience is as familiar as it is intense, and it is marked by the way in which significance and the act of signifying are directly felt, sensuously available to the viewer. The embodied activity of perception and expression – making sense and signifying it – are given to us as modalities of a single experience’ (1992 p.8)
This shows that watching a film is a visual experience in which we become so involved that we feel it is real, we feel we’re in the movie playing or following the role of the main character, in my case the main character is behind the camera and is the eyes of the camera itself, so we are sharing those eyes and seeing what this ‘being’ is seeing. This embodiment of the actor or camera makes the whole experience even more enjoyable and produces more of a sensual experience of becoming the camera, not just watching it. Vivian also states,
‘Watching a film, we can see the seeing as well as the seen, hear the hearing as well as the heard, and feel the movement as well as see the moved. As viewers, not only do we spontaneously and invisibly perform these existential acts directly for and as ourselves in relation to the film before us, but these same acts are coterminously given to us as the film, as mediating acts of perception-cum-expression we take up and invisibly perform by appropriating and incorporating them into our own existential performance; we watch them as a visible performance distinguishable from, yet included in, our own.’ (1992 p10-11)
So in a way we always know we are watching a film and are not in control of the choices made, yet we still play them out and experience them as if its us doing them. Also we can see areas of the film that the actor might be unaware of, so we might know more. Although in my case we see everything the camera/character sees which hopefully will make the embodiment stronger. The added blinks and black flashes between sequences might though perhaps hint that we are not with this ‘entity’ for its whole journey and are missing things, which might bring some uncertainty and unknowing effect to the video.
Another theorist, Patricia Pisters in her book The matrix of visual culture: working with Deleuze in film thoery (2003) presents arguments on film theory made by Deleuze from his cinema books of the 1980’s and Deleuze’s reactions to Hitchcock’s films in the 1950’s which aimed to enter peoples brains and put them in the eyes of the characters in the films, to make it more real for the viewer. (the idea I am approaching myself) She brings to light that,
‘As Deleuze argues in The movement-image, the essence of cinema lies in the mobility of the camera and in emancipation of the viewpoint whereby cinema stops being spatial and has become temporal. (2003 p. 2)
This argument states that space and time must exist in film and show movement and sensation. The cinema is its own reality and the image shows indication of thought through the space and time used. The mobility of the camera is important in my video as I feel it has a big impact on how the footage is read, if the camera presents a smooth, ghost-like movement it will create a more unnatural effect than a camera shaking with every footstep. So this use of mobility is needed in order for the viewer to become fully involved with the video. Pisters goes on to say,
‘The spectator can identify with the character’s eye/look and at the same time feel his or her guilt and fear of the Gaze of God or the Real, as Zizek calls this impossible entity; the spectator never can identify with the Gaze of God. (2003 p17)
I believe this is stating that when we watch a film we become the characters and we see what they see. we fear the real, the life outside the film, as we want to be engulfed in the moment and we want to experience the life we are viewing as reality. We don’t want to end this feeling by remembering that we are just gazing at a cameras view like we are God looking down on that life. In day to day life we cannot identify with the ‘Gaze of God’ as we are not in a film and no one is watching us. I think that this is the excitement of video and is why it has the power to pull people in. This is all about the imagined part of ‘becoming’ the camera, this vision gives us excitement. Without this film is just merely a show of objects and people in spaces. I want my viewers to become lost within my video and forget that they are even watching. It arises the question that, when we are so distracted by a film do we actually feel our self sat there? or do we rather just become what we are seeing?
Another theoretical context that could be linked to my piece is Simulacrum, an idea put across by Baudrillard who stated,
‘The simulacrum is never what hides the truth – it is thuth that hides the fact that there is none. The simulacrum is true’.(1994 p.1)
So in the case of my video, I am making a copy of something that didn’t exist, it is a simulation which then in turn creates a simulacrum and a hyper-reality. So what you are watching is no longer there in reality but yet it is present in the video and reveals aspects of reality. This supports the idea that my video will be viewed as if it is happening in the present and all unravelling in front of the viewer.