Pete McPartlan

Field Study

New short film.

It’s made using the same process as Entoptic Acid - doing a drawing, photographing it lots of times and then adding to it and repeating.

I’m trying to straddle a couple of things and as such I’m not sure this film really gets the balance right:

Thing one - a kind of chaotic texture, smashing particles around to make a soup of motion.

Thing two - organized motion.

Thing three - an interesting tension between the two

I wanted to make it so that I wasn’t just drawing a series of frames that happen to be arranged on a surface but took advantage of the fact that it was a a continuous field. Unfortunately, as the circles come in there becomes extremely tempting to shoot them in sequence. It’s as if they have gravity.

I've been reading some of Paul Sharits' writings on film and how he discusses the difference in perspective between the audience and someone composing the reel and looking at it as a physical object with material properties because of this different dimensionality. There's something similar at work here, where I'm aware of this continuous field that I'm extracting discrete frames from and I'm curious how these two perspectives co-exist.

In the previous film, I made it in 100 frame chunks however in this one I improvised more - shooting as many frames as I felt I needed to express an idea before I added to the drawing. Trying to ignore the larger scale structure. Because of this it felt kind of confused when I eventually saw the whole film in sequence. I tried a number of different soundtracks, recording some bits and reusing some parts I had recorded previously and it just didn’t sit together well. I then tried using one track that I made a couple of months ago and had to force the timing a bit by looping short sections. I feel like that sits together better, but detracts slightly from the purity of the concept and the integrity of the process. On the other hand it still has the compromises that it wasn’t envisioned from the start as a kind of “visual music” tightly synced to the audio. I could go back to it and start working on it digitally, adding layers or effects, or more precisely re-organizing the frames to fit the music but that really takes me further from the process I was trying to understand.

I think the next film I’ll make in this series I’ll take the approach of a loose visual structure coupled with a tight and pre-determined temporal structure. So I’m recording some bits of sound that I could work with in that way and also looking out for music that people might allow me to use as a soundtrack.

The images below are of the painting at various stages through the process.