The Yorktowne
I set out to explore the relationship between various states of consciousness, specifically the one that exists between the wakeful and dreaming. The use of both moving and still imagery, notably the stop-motion animation, attempt to mimic this space between realms. Utilizing this intermediality between traditional photography and cinema parallels that of the space between spheres of consciousness. This work takes a surrealistic approach as it explores the relationship between these two states of consciousness rather than focusing on the otherworldliness of the dreamlike state. As Michael Richardson states in Surrealism and Cinema (3):

Surrealist are not concerned with conjuring up some magic world that can be defined as ‘surreal’. Their interest is almost exclusively in exploring the conjunctions, the points of contact, between different realms of existence. Surrealism is always about departures rather than arrivals.

In this way, I am attempting to include recognizable, common elements that have been distorted, or otherwise displayed in a less than traditional sense, to highlight this conjunction.
This can be seen in the vignette with the masked character and the telephones. A person sitting at a desk with a phone ringing is a natural, expected and accepted occurrence, however, the masked character surrounded by a mountain of ringing phones is what thrusts it into the realm of surreal.

By employing setting, lighting, and sound, I aim to create a sense of uneasiness. This is an attempt to place the viewer into the, sometimes uncomfortable, space between states. The vignettes’ purpose is to create the sensation of entering in and out of different dreams and scenarios. Because of this, I intentionally diverged from a traditional narrative, favoring instead one that questions the institution of time. I am more focused in developing the feeling of existing between states of consciousness than in telling a story. My hope is that the lack of a story mimics the helplessness and disorder along with a general sense of disorientation that can exist when transitioning from wakefulness to sleep and vice versa. The backdrop of an abandoned hotel was chosen as a representation of the isolation and personal experience of the dreaming realm.

I applied the use of masks to give the viewer the opportunity to project their own dreams and manifestations onto the characters in the hopes of making it a more personal experience. I was also interested in exploring the connections between the face and mask, more specifically, what gestures are lost when the face is concealed by a mask and how is it then possible for that character to convey emotion. Through this, I’m aiming to highlight how the face can operate as a mask in the same way that the mask can replicate emotion and serve the purpose of the face. As Hans Belting writes in Face and Mask: A Double History (17):

In life, expressions change the face we have  into the face we make. This dynamic triggers a perpetuum mobile of many faces, which may all be understood as masks once we expand our concept of the mask.

It is my intention for the audience to make this revelation, and see that even the physically unmasked characters are still employing the benefits of the mask by the expressive gestures they make with their face.

The ultimate goal of this work was to draw attention to an experience, or a state of consciousness that many experience, but is rarely explored. By approaching an illogical state of being in a pragmatic way, I hope to elicit a interrogative response from the viewer, as well as a desire to further explore the connections between worlds.

Richardson, Michael. Surrealism and Cinema, Bloomsbury Academic, 2006.

Belting, Hans. Face and Mask: A Double History, Princeton University Press, 2017.


BACK