I have chosen to create a stop motion animation for this project using a number of slightly different paintings. The theme of this project is growth, and more specifically regrowth after death. This theme will be conveyed through images of a bloodstain being absorbed into the ground, ultimately resulting in the growth of a flower. Here, the bloodstain represents death and loss while the flower stands for birth and the idea of a second chance.
Instead of featuring just a picture of the painted images in this piece, I have decided to make the images part of a bigger scene. I designed the first shot to make it look like an everyday bulletin board in someone’s room. However, the camera zooms onto a certain picture as it begins to move. I did this not only for stylistic reasons but to emphasize the idea of a story being told to whoever happens to be watching. What I had hoped to do was to contextualize my video and make it apparent that it was a story with a lesson, not just an actual flower growing. I didn’t spend a lot of time explaining the bloodstain or featuring it in the video as it is mainly there to show that before there was birth and beauty, there was death. The focus quickly moves to the birth of a flower which evokes hope in the viewer when contrasted with the previous uncomfortable feeling experienced at the sight of the bloodstain. The flower begins to grow and instils a sense of glory, but not longer after it reaches its full potential, winter begins. The flower gradually becomes buried in snow and seemingly dies. This once again creates a subtle notion of despair. However, not long after comes spring, and the flower once again grows. The goal with a second birth was to emphasize the fact that life is a cycle and is continually changing. There will always be death, but there will also be birth. Although the movement of the sun creates an unrealistic timeline when compared to the changing of the seasons, it ended up being an effective way of conveying that this story was carried out over a period of time and is a small detail I am glad I decided to include. The crossfade transitions, too, seem to better convey a sense of time passing. The music for this piece originally comes from Protest The Hero’s concept album Kezia, which is where I got the idea for this video. In fact, this project is a manifestation of a vision I have had in my head since the first time listening to A Plateful of Our Dead, the outro of which I used for this work. The album is a story about a girl who is executed for advocating her beliefs. This outro, which is also the outro of the album, seems to wrap up the idea of the album quite effectively without words. The character Kezia died for her beliefs, but created hope for those to come after her. Although her story was not heard by everyone, it impacted the lives of those who happened to hear it, just as the moving picture would impact someone who happened to stumble into the room, and just as it impacts the viewer. However, the video is more open-ended than that, and simply signifies the fact that with death and destruction comes beauty and resurrection, or rebirth. I chose to play this song on the piano as it is the instrument I have the most experience with, and also creates a unique sound that differs from the original version recorded on acoustic guitar. There are moments of dissonance during this song (the 7/4 time signature took a bit of getting used to), but they are resolved by the end of each phrase. I felt that this was relevant to the song as there are tense moments in storyline, but they are resolved by the end.
The use of stop motion ended up being quite effective at allowing me to incorporate all the small details I had envisioned for this song (such as the use of the sun to create a sense of time), which I feel enhanced the overall experience. I think a stop motion installation was the best way to convey the theme of growth because it allows a large amount of time to be shown in a shorter amount of time, which is important as the growth of a flower typically cannot be seen in just one day. I feel my piece holds an important message that serves to remind people to be optimistic and find the good in even the worst of situations, because there is always at least a little there.