'Insects and Parrots' - a work in progress... (20 min. film)

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

'Insects and Parrots' - a work in progress... 20 minute single screen film

After my critique, and the feedback I received, I decided to attempt making a single screen piece of work, as due to the current situation (Covid-19) and the cancelation of the exhibition W.I.P., I am at present unable to continue experimenting with the original ideas of pursuing a multi screen installation.

I feel this limitation has been, in some respect, beneficial as I was finding it virtually impossible to continue with the direction I originally had intended, and it has given me a new approach and direction to this project, that I have been able to continue with under lockdown.

For this performance by Lloyd Lovell I began direction by introducing him to the ballet, ‘The Afternoon of a Faun’ (French: L'Après-midi d'un faune), choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky for the Ballets Russes, and first performed in Paris on 29 May 1912 with Nijinsky dancing the main part himself. I requested Lloyd interpret the emotion of the ballet in his performance, by listening to the original orchestral music by Claude Debussy.

I directed several different approaches, as can be seen in earlier blogs, yet this continual performance with no cuts, somehow stood out as the piece I should work with for this one screen edit.

The original performance was ten minutes long, this being the length of the actual ballet, but I slowed the film by fifty percent, making the film now twenty minutes in length. I have extracted the sound and replaced it with my own composition using choral voices.

Due to the lengthening of the film I found I was lacking in the amount of text I had to work with that I had extracted from the ‘Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky’, so I reread the diary and extracted more text for the piece.

I sent the additional text and included the original to be recorded (see text below) and requested that it be delivered without the inflections in the original recording. I wanted to try it just spoken without dramatic connotations.

The results of this recording I have edited and used in this film. I am still considering whether it works better than the previous more theatrical reading, and I will continue to experiment with the different edits.

To conclude, this is by no means a completed piece of work. I see it as experimental and a demo piece to be revisited when I can access the studios and equipment again on campus. There are things about the films I have made that I am unsatisfied with and want change. For example in this piece I am still completely miffed as to why I used the hat!

Text extracted from 'The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky'

  1. I am not God, I am not man. I am a beast and predator.

  2. I am standing in front of a precipice into which I may fall.

  3. My soul is sick… I am incurable.

  4. Jollity is the death of the mind.

  5. I am afraid of death, and therefore I love life.

  6. I think little and therefore understand everything I feel.

  7. I am feeling in the flesh and not intellect in the flesh.

  8. I am the flesh.

  9. I am feeling.

  10. I am god in the flesh and in feeling.

  11. I am man and not God.

  12. I am simple.

  13. People must not think me, they must feel me and understand me through feeling.

  14. Scholars will ponder over me, and they will rack their brains needlessly, because thinking will produce no results for them.

  15. They are stupid.

  16. They are beasts.

  17. They are meat.

  18. They are death.

  19. I am talking simply, but without any affection.

  20. I am not an ape.

  21. I am a man.

  22. I started to dance like God.

  23. My political views are to be kind to everyone.

  24. I feel the Earth.

  25. I am an unthinking philosopher, I am a philosopher with feeling.

  26. My madness is my love toward mankind.

  27. I know how to suffer.

  28. I do not think and therefore cannot go mad.

  29. I do not think and therefore will not lose my head.

  30. I represented the beast well and therefore the public understand me.

  31. I know what an eye is, an eye is a theatre, the brain is the audience, I, am eye in the brain.

  32. I understand what an artist is because I am an artist myself.

  33. This is God’s blood.

  34. I want to cry but I cannot, because my soul aches too much.

  35. My sickness is that of the soul not of the mind.

  36. They are eagles. They prevent small birds from living.

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Derek Dickinson