Project Film – A new Mosjukhin experiment

For this project I have shot some footage of just me standing in front of the camera looking thoughtful and juxtaposed some shots to suggest a meaning.  One shot is of a candle being blown out, a vase of flowers and a kettle boiling.

Ivan Mosjoukine was the name of a Russian actor who’s image was used in juxtaposition with images such as a bowl of soup, a child playing, a dead women in a coffin and the audience interpreted the image of the actor differently depending on what image it was presented with.  For example the image of Mosjoukine was seen as sad when seen with the girl in the coffin, and hungry when seen with the soup and a caring father when seen with the child.  This has become known as the Kuleshov effect, named after the psychological montage created by Lev Kuleshov in 1918.

This project is working along the same lines as the idea of semiotics (theory of signs).  The idea is fairly simple we create an image or series of images denoting one thing but connoting another in other words seeing something that can suggest something else. An example is a cowboy shown putting on his gun-belt, implying he’s preparing for a gun fight; a single life-belt with a ship’s name seen floating in the water suggesting a shipwreck.  Roland Barthes referred to this as the signifier and signified, two parts of a sign just like a road sign such as the triangle road sign with a black silhouette of a man  posed digging connoting, ‘Warning – men at work’. So for the first part of my examples is the signifier which is the subject itself the life-belt or the action of the cowboy putting on his gun-belt.  The signified is the meaning that we interpret from what we see in the case of the cowboy we think that he is about to fight this will most likely be backed up with other actions we have already seen; the floating life-belt is the signified meaning for a shipwreck, floating debris, survivors / drowned sailors.  This principle then applies to my experiment to create the idea of emotions with basic acting through facial expression and behaviour juxtaposed with a choice of images that can be read as signs that denote and in turn connote the actor’s feelings.

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