Transcinematics: Collaborative Transformational Filmmaking

Transcinematics. The origins of the term emerged with the inception of The Grey Man project: The project that eventually became The Gaps Between.

If you prefer bullet points there is a list below that you might find helpful, otherwise this is as good a place to star as any.

As I say, transcinematics is cinema that goes beyond, it was the first time I had felt the idea with a certain conviction. I was overwhelmed. It happens sometimes when I get an idea, or at least, when I perceive the range of an idea. Inevitably feeling marooned by the inadequacy of language; forced to communicate a coexistent manifold of potentialities in a linear sequence of utterances.

Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers I suppose.

 

So, definitions…

O   Transcinematics is about transformation.

O   It is about you and it is about me and it is about us.

O   It is about using film as a medium to reflect people, as individuals, or as a group, back to themselves and/or to others.

O   It is about exploration and a collaboration.

O   It is about challenging oneself; to do that which you would not normally do, to say that which you might not normally say, to make that which you might not normally make: To play beyond the edges of your own assumptions.

O   It is about expressing yourself freely, but not without direction.

O   It is about doing something unique, participating with people in a way that generally doesn’t happen in day to day life.

O   It is magic.

O   And it is about a search

for joy,

or meaning,

or value,

or strength,

or all,

or some,

or none of the above.

It is sort of what you choose to make it

And you are sort of what it chooses to make of you.

__________________________________________________________________

Of course none of this is binding, or even guaranteed. It does however illustrate that this mode of working does go beyond what most people do with video cameras, both in the scope of how our content is created, how it is filmed and framed, and how it is delivered; how it finds it’s way back to the world.

It is not quite like anything else. At least not yet.
Yours in anticipation,

 

Clive Austin

 

 

                        all material © 2014

Film: Human Nature

Human Nature was a commission through a department of the NHS that deals with mental health in Devon. It was very low budget, covering one days filming and two days editing (plus expenses).

Our interpretation of the brief was to trace a line from the south coast to the north coast in a single day, approaching random strangers we encountered on the way and asking them an approximation of the following question:

“What is your philosophy on life?”

 

We paused halfway and filmed the sky until the sun broke through. We had planned that much. Why? Well, because that was what the day suggested to us, and because there is beauty in the sky, and it is symbolic of thought, and the sun breaking through the clouds works as a metaphor, and so do the silver linings on the clouds, and the camera left on auto going in and out of focus. It wasn’t planned that way. We shot it like that because it felt like the right thing to do. Pretensions to cleverness can abound in the wake of such moments of inspiration. It can be all too easy to take credit for something, that in truth was suggested by the world, by the subconscious responding to it; the intersection of elements, time and space conspiring.

It was a good day. If nothing else it reminded us of how generous people can be, how open and how genuine. How we have all overcome something to get to where we are. What value there is to be found in reflection and what beauty in the stories of lives.

 

Yours in reminiscence,

Mr X

 

                        all material © 2014

The Magic of Film: Children of the Tide

Back in 2005 I became involved in a collaborative arts project with Phil Smith and Maggi Squires located at Shaldon Primary School, which sits at the mouth of the river Teign in South Devon. We worked with them for a week running a series of workshops that included a mythogeographic survey of the village, the creation of a puppets from gathered materials, poetry making and the creation of a piece of music. These creative explorations culminated in a ritual act of performance which saw 130 children process their puppet avatars to the sea shore and set messages, folded into paper boats, afloat on the waters for the tide to take away to the waiting world. Sadly, due to a omission of planning on our part, the tide, which was coming in, washed straight back onto the red sand in waterlogged clumps, but the sentiment was there, and the rest of the day went as smoothy as these things can.

My role, in part, was to provide a document of the performance in the shape of a film. Of course, I declined to make this a straight forward affair and attempted to integrate as much of the process into some sort of narrative, shaped by the general theme,  described by the children narrating the film.

One month later we returned to show the finished film at the school. We drove through torrential rain to get there, only to discover that the school and much of the village had been evacuated due to a freak flash flood combined with a high tide. Once you have seen the film you will be better placed to understand why this felt quite so significant. It was not until we collectively viewed the film a couple of weeks later that the significance of the films theme came home. It felt  as though we had collectively, albeit unintentionally, designed a magical act that would summon the sea to us in an act of unity.

Of course the whole thing was just a coincidence. Yes, of course it was. Cinema is not a magic act. There just happened to be a high tide combined with a flash flood on the day we planned to show the film. Nothing strange there. Nothing strange at all. Other than the film perhaps. I can’t remember what the children thought of it. I seem to remember a lot of fairly blank stares. I do remember one of the parents telling me that they felt it was a cross between a David Lynch movie and the Blair Witch Project but I can’t remember whether is was supposed to be a critique or a threat. I took as a compliment and have kept it to this day, to share it with you, here.

 

 

Yours dubiously,

Mr X

 

 

                        all material © 2014

 

The Great Walk: Conversations

It was one of those party’s that started in the middle of the afternoon. One of those parties where those attending are old enough to know how to pace themselves to make it through to breakfast the following morning.

We were in costume; a future imagined by imaginary Victorians – steam powered, tea driven, opium crazed adventurers, delighting in the whimsicality of the post colonialism of it all. Or at least I was.

At about six in the evening that an attractive aviator handed me this…

Map Tube

“Read the label.” She said.

MapTubeCathy2

…it said.

She smiled as I un-scrolled the contents of the tube.

MapGiftCathy1

“That is Fantastic!” Was my response.

Those who have seen the film will get the joke.

She then ordered two more copies of the film, we talked for a while longer and then parted.

Suffice to say it was an interesting trip home.

 

Two days later I received a text from her.

It said: ‘Retraced Anton Vagus walk in Exeter up Prospect Steps.’

This is a level of engagement with the film I had not expected but absolutely delight in.

 

My current definition of art is this:

That it speaks of a soul, or it speaks to your soul.

I am beginning to think that this might be because, in what each of us calls art, we recognise a soul; a complete experience, one that might be changed or altered by it’s context but retains something that withstands relocation; it can stand by itself.

The Great Walk appears to be just that for some people. There are people who appear to be in conversation with it, beyond any relationship they have to those of us who made it.

I like that.

In fact I think it’s rather great.

So thank you all for playing.

Yolo.

Mr X

 

 

 

all material © 2014

From The Great Walk: The Seven Dimensions of Walking


In ‘The Great Walk’ there is a notion that there are 7 dimensions – plains of conceptual and material reality through which one might filter their perception of the world. The following extract of text was included in the general section of all scripted participants (which was everyone but Phil). It detailed one of the most significant events in the history of the elite walking group and details the essential set of principles that they were to adopt in the years that followed.

__________________________________________________

A Transcription of a Declaration by Anton Vagus on the Subject of the 7 Dimensions of the Walking State.

Transcribed by Lachlan Graves. Published Oxford 2002.

“I’ve been doing some thinking about walking, and I think that there are dimensions of walking; like we are walking dimensions; dimensions of walking…

Let me explain.

The first dimension is to imagine a journey. Also it is to journey in the mind, and also to journey with the mind.

The second dimension of walking is linear. It is what happens when one walks from A to B. Simply that. A to B. You feel thirst, you stand up, you walk to the place where you can satisfy your thirst. Do you see, A to B.  Two dimensions. The physical path may go round corners but in your mind you are following a single path. Do you understand?  Most people walking in two dimensions do not notice up and down, simply because they are focused on the need of their walking, not the act of walking. They do not see much of what is around them, they are too focused on the destination.

In the third dimension there is a widening of space, a widening of our conception of space, and also of our abilities to engage with space. It is to add the ‘up’ and the ‘down’ of the world. It is most clear as physical exploration, when we open ourselves to paths that are no longer restrained by need. A and B are just one axis. if A is where we are there are now an almost infinite number of B’s: an infinite number of destinations. Not only this there is now an almost infinite number of B’s there is the quality of C to add as well, which we might call elevation; up and down, through and under, and over. It is about  creating choice. It is also the state of over coming obstacles.

In the forth dimension we engage with time, with the context of the passage of time. To walk in this state is to comprehend the perspective of time. Think history, geology, archeology, all these things, ways of seeing, of thinking about time and it’s effects on the world. Remember you are a part of that, but remember that also you can look at it like you are only an observer of it.  If you place your focus there it is what happens when we think of effects, what were the causes of the things that we find around us, what will they cause in turn, what might we cause by being there in that moment, do you see, it is not just one thing. To walk in the forth dimension is to walk among the names of things.

Which leads me to the fifth dimension of walking. There is no me without you, no you without me. And we only exist against the backdrop of everything else, all those names, all those feelings. A universal unfolding in an individual incarnation. All the knowing and the being we perceive meets inside of us. The path of the fifth dimension of leads to the realm of the psyche. When we walk this path we become aware of how we intersect with the world, what do the names mean to us, why does the world make us feel the way we do, why do we notice some bits of it and not others, what happens when we force unexpected experiences upon ourselves, what then?   There are so many people trapped in the fifth dimension because it can seem like an end in itself. Some get fixated by their own reflections and miss the actual experience: they get stuck, lost in language and symbols. In the fifth we see the world as we are. To realise this moves us into the sixth because what we fear and desire are not things of the world but are things of ourselves, born from the currents of the mythological, the collective psyche, the collective unconscious, you know, the places inside us where the significance of the symbols overlap. To walk there is to walk in the Sixth Dimension, next to angels and demons. In this material lies madness. Those who have not prepared themselves, well… much of the world is trapped in collective delusions – so at least you won’t be on your own – but beware, to be stuck he is to be psychotic. Edge with care because when everything becomes significant, when everything becomes symbolic then one can loose control all too easily. Where those stuck in the fifth look inside for the answers and blame the world for what they find, those stuck in the sixth believe that it is the world giving them answers for which they then have to work out the right questions.

The path from here lies between fear and desire. Tread carefully.

To walk in the seventh dimension is to transcend all this talk of dimensions. It is to walk through the world embracing the unknown without thought of what has gone before. We can choose to engage with as many or as few of the other dimensions as we wish. The seventh dimension is liberation. To be free to walk in whatever way one chooses, wherever and whenever one chooses, however one chooses, for whatever reason… without causing harm.

I think that’s it.

Yes. That’s it.

Mmmm.

Anyone else fancy a Gelato?”

Anton Vagus.

Venice July 1997.

__________________________________________________

All Material ©Clive Austin 2014

SCRIPT: Lucky

I wanted to share this with you. It’s not an astonishing piece of work but I do think it is worth a look. I wrote it when I was learning to write film scripts. For me it works because I can still see the film playing out, scene to scene. It is easy to imagine. in part I believe that is due to the writing. It leaves just enough room for the Imagination to fill in the bits left unwritten.

See what you think.

Lucky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@ All Material 2014