Synopsis: getting high on creativity.
How important is the influence of recreational drug use in recreating our interpretation of colour, shapes, and sounds? do we peek into a new dimension in which we can create? Or are we spiralling into a void of cataclysmic understanding?
This a short film I had created during quarantine, I wrote, filmed, and edited it together within about three weeks. It wavers between an experimental idea that is partially a documentary that tries to ask a question yet it is also has a visual narrative. It has no dialogue per say but rather leaves more of its interpretation up the viewer. It is very much a compilation of images alongside music in many respects but this is not to say that a film that heavily plays with montage cannot have any merit in narrative story telling however non-linear or disjointed it may feel. I feel it is attempting to create an atmosphere. This atmosphere is otherworldly, even psychedelic. In the first minute of the film I have tried to capture a mundane muted atmosphere, until the influence of recreational drug use starts to take place.
The girl in the film is my girlfriend. This idea started from a dissertation she was doing which involved a question. Does recreational drug use have an influence on creativity? And so we decided to make a short film that illustrated this question. During the filming process I had let it evolve into different ideas. The plan waste film her with a bouquet of flower, some paint, and a blank canvas. What could she do with these at her disposal in exploring creativity. Taking the flowers and cutting them up, putting them through her hair, throwing them at a blank canvas, then taking the paint and illustrating something. I explored the idea of colour explosion. Going from ammeter brown/grey colour palette to creating a set with every dimension within the frame being a kaleidoscope tapestry, whilst a multi-coloured lamp flashes through random colours, a disco light projects shapes and colours of great variation and fairy lights droop down around her. I wanted to illustrate a near, sickening amount of colour. Too much of a good thing. A child who’s eaten too many sweets.
I felt that the use of kaleidoscopes helped in influencing our creativity. A scientist on homescience.com explains that “kaleidoscopesare used to enhance our vision in some way. Vision depends on light, and optics are used to control light by reflecting or bending it so that we can see in different ways. Kaleidoscopes use mirrors to reflect light into beautiful shapes and patterns”. Perhaps having these tapestries in the background added to the otherworldly atmosphere I attempted to create.
The film goes on to show the subject looking directly into the camera in a hazy peaceful moment. Its as though something has been achieved and a resonance has been accomplished. It feels self-reflexive. She looks onto the viewer happily, the experimentation is complete. Then it cuts a shot of her looking at the camera lying down, the music swells, there is anticipation, she looks to the viewer with more contempt now, perhaps a dissatisfaction. There is a sense of danger as the drug use goes to a different level. There is then two overlapping shots in the final section of the film. One half is close up shots of her painting and the other, a slow motion, medium shot of her face from a low profile side angle. She’s smiling and in a wondrous state. I edited this in this way to highlight a distortion of time between how she may be perceiving something compared to its actuality. The final shot where the credits are shown is a few seconds showing a plate that had all the paint on it being washed, it is on loop going backwards and forwards. This final shot was poignant because it has something to say about the actuality of the question raised in the synopsis. Was this whole experiment really a glimpse of delving into another world of creativity? Or was it a pointless exhibition from the beginning? Like the messy swirl of colour endlessly getting washed on repeat in the final shot. Was creativity really being explored? Or was that just because it felt as though it was in the moment? At the end of the experiment, we are kind of just washing around a mess of colour and not achieving anything.
In this experimental film, I wanted every part of the experiment to carry through. This meant that the project was started with little planning, and the question of recreational drug use in accomplishing creativity had to outreach not just the subject’s creativity but also have an influence on the creativity involved in the filming, editing and overall creation of the project as whole. This was in order to have a cohesive level of experimentation from the planning stage to the publishing of the film.