· cinema as door ·

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Agent Cooper getting into the ‘Black Lodge’ in Twin Peaks (1991)

We have been recently introduced to the subject of cinema as door. These doors move the audience toward something rather than just letting the spectator witness what is happening like in the case of cinema as either window or frame. Many are the film-makers that use doors as a constant resource in their filmography.

One of the best uses is the one given by the American David Lynch that not only make use of doors to move the viewer to different sceneries but he also gives doors or ‘metaphorical doors’ the power of transporting the viewer to another reality. This can be easily spotted in the early 90’s Tv serie ‘Twin Peaks’ where some of its main characters travel to other universes like ‘The Black Lodge’ or ‘The White Lodge’. These worlds seem to be coexistent and parallel realities since in certain cases some of the characters that travel there meet other versions of themselves and even have the chance to hold enigmatic and cryptic conversions with their other self.

Nevertheless, this extraordinary and surreal transportation does not requiere of unusual astonishing special effects but just a red curtain. This mythical curtain appears in a concrete point in the forests of Twin Peaks, and the different characters just need to go to the other side of the curtain to be instantly transported to those bizarre sceneries. These realities consist of a main room with a white and black pattern floor where there are a couple of couches. However, the characters can walk through red curtain corridors to get to ‘other’ exactly identical rooms where perhaps other characters are waiting.

I personally find fascinating the way Lynch used the red curtain as a door to another universe since it is a metaphorical yet very simple way to move the characters and the audience to a divergent reality. In fact, it is key in Lynch filmography to turn apparently common objects in very peculiar artefacts or even gift them with exceptional meanings such as entry to the surreal ‘Black Lodge’. What’s more, Lynch let the viewer walk through the threshold of the two realities by wandering through the red curtain corridors. With no doubt one of the most, if not the most perturbing and puzzling serie of scenes I have ever watched.

Pure dreamy Lynch.

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Agent Cooper wandering through the red curtain corridors between the two realities.

· cinema as a frame or as a window ·

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Frame from the short-movie entered by David Lynch (example of cinema used as a frame)

We came across the 53 second movies made by several distinguished film-makers from around the world in 1995. It was for the 100th anniversary of the invention of the Cinématographe camera by the Lumière brothers in 1985. We specially visualised the ones by the Americans directors David Lynch and Spike Lee. Despite being both of them no longer than 53 seconds that is enough time to notice the multiple differences between them.

The one by Spike Lee shows a close-up of a baby just staring at the lock-off camera throughout the entire single shot. It can be heard an off camera voice, which belongs to the actual film-maker, asking the baby to say the word ‘Daddy’. The fact that there are no cut and it is a long take builds up a tense feeling that has almost a magnetic effect on the audience since everyone is paying attention to whether the baby will say ‘daddy’ or not. This intimate scene bears a resemblance to a real family home-made video attempting to document the first words of the baby. Due to the off camera voice directly addressed to the baby, the audience assumes that the camera is also hold by the one talking and therefore it consist of a subjective frame although it is not a mobile shot. Therefore, this short-movie could be categorised as cinema used as a frame despite being an static shot because it is subjective.

For instance, a static single shot that can be considered cinema as a window, is the short-movie entered by the German director Wim Wenders where the two men enter and leave the scene and the camera do not follow them. It is an immobile scene that shows just a fragment of the whole as if the director would have opened a hole in the scene instead of moved the camera around the scene. This sort of cinema is supposed to be more objective since it shows life as it happens.

On the other hand, the short-movie by David Lynch is another good example of cinema as a frame in it is more dramatic way. Lynch makes a series of jump cuts from different scenes to build up the tension and story itself. That is to say that Lynch creates the expectation by cutting rapidly from one scene to another and adding some blank shots in the middle. This constructs a feeling of bewilderment since the movie just shows different key moments of the story and is the audience who needs to add the meaning of what is really going on. It is highly noticeable how in this case the facts, characters, and actions are deliberately brought into frame unlike in the case of Wenders.

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Frame from the short-movie entered by Wim Wenders (example of cinema as a window)

 

· Fritz-kola, battle of brands ·

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This two faces resemblance a retro logo from the 50’s yet it was first designed by Mirco and Lorenz, two friends of Hamburg, Germany in 2002. They strive to create a cola drink that would be better than Coke. According to their website they started the business with a budget of only €7000, which means that they could not spend money on a brand launching campaign or designing an original brand new logo, for instance. For this reason, they opted to use their faces as a logo since it was the only way they could be sure that it met the legal requirements. Moreover, they originally stick the logo to the glass bottles using a glue stick.

Thus, we can ensure the genuinely independent beginning of this company that is now leading the sales of kola drinks in most parts of Germany including Berlin and that is currently exporting to countries all over Europe. Unlike other emerging new brands, Fritz-Kola did not attempt to create this trendy image of a rare local fancy kola for cool people, but is a purely self-reliant business set up by two friends with the ambition of giving the world a better recipe than the one from Coca-Cola.

Despite beginning as a modest enterprise branded by a couple of friends, Fritz-Kola means an existing threat to the huge multinational, which means that they are achieving their aim. Current tag lines from the expanding company are direct attacks to their competitors. For instance, this one that says ‘cocaine is so eighties’ that refers to the fact that the ‘secret’ ingredient of Coke is in fact one component of cocaine which they do not use at all to create their drinks.

I believe that ‘fritz-kola’ designed a brilliant branding approach to launch their products by publicly admitting their desire to defeat the most powerful drink worldwide since this attracted a range of customers keen on kola-drinks but agains capitalism and major companies.

· Treachery of Images (& words) ·

‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’. This is paradoxically the text right underneath a pipe in René Magritte’s painting ‘The Treachery of Images’. It might apparently seem an contradiction, yet Magritte was right because what the viewers see is in fact not a pipe but a REPRESENTATION of a pipe. This is because the word “pipe” is the signifier and the resemblance of a pipe is the signified, the mental concept one has of anything. Moreover, the signified might vary from person to person since everyone would have a different mental idea of “pipe” based on their experiences and relationships in meaning they have created.

 

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‘Treachery of Images’ by René Magritte (1928-1929)

However, in the same way that the representation of a pipe is not a pipe, the word ‘pipe’ itself, is not a pipe either is just a word we agreed to use to designate a real thing. Thus, Magritte was directly reminding the viewer that language is smartly connected to reality but still language does not convey the real thing.

Nevertheless, Magritte was not the first one who wondered about the relation between the signifier and the signified. Ferdinand de Saussure, a French linguist (1857-1913) worked in this theory creating what is nowadays known as semiotics.

Semiotics are indeed one of the most important facts a creative, advertiser or designer should take into account before launching a campaign or a brand. This is to say that if I want to relate my brand  to certain emotions or feelings, I should find out which are the signs whose signifieds are the ones I am looking for. This is really useful to determinate the topic colour of a brand, for instance. Each colour has several signifieds and those can change due to culture. Let’s take colour RED: ‘red’ as a word is the signifier. Its signified is the idea of red that everyone would have in mind and that would probably all be different tones of red. Yet ‘love’, ‘blood’, or ‘apple’ are other signifieds of the colour red, since are intrinsically related.

· Anthea Hamilton: a butt story ·

Anthea Hamilton is a London based artist born in 1978 and that was one of the four shortlisted participants in 2016 Tuner Prize exhibiting at the Tate Britain. She decided to re-stage her piece of work ‘Project for a Door’ which consist of a gigantic butt that was originally designed to be the front door of an apartment block in New York. Furthermore, she exhibited a floor to ceiling painting of London’s sky at 3pm in June amongst other likewise surreal sculptures.

The tone of voice she uses is playful and engaging since she attempts to make the viewer participate of her work and get surrounded by it like in the room with the weights hanging from the ceiling, She strives to surprise the audience with the monumental sculptures and astonishing effects such as the one in the bricks’ pattern suit displayed in front of a bricks background.

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‘Project for a Door’ by Anthea Hamilton (2015)

Her message response to a genuine urge of her to run deep research about her topics of interest and presents them in a beautifully appealing and humorous way that would be memorable for the viewer. This can be easily spotted in her ‘Project for a door’ where she challenged herself to actually build up the door Gaetano Pesce once projected but that never happened to create. She just got inspired by a male ass he got as a reference and decided to do it herself in a larger scale.

Her values are reflection, amusement, spreading knowledge, investigation and experience-designer.

I want to believe that her ultimate aim is to connect with her audience at the same time that she explores subjects of her own interest and try to convey that to the public with unexpected and unforgettable approach. Obviously, she as a young British artist, strives to make a name yet I reckon she stays loyal to her own interests.