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Film project projects onto campus

JACOB KONST/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Junior media arts majors, Megan Donelly, left, Tom Dunlap and Logan Hall install their art project near the architecture building yesterday.
By Guadalupe Zamora
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
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Film makes statement on man versus nature

Most people talk about the special effects in a film. Some students, however, are creating effects with film, taking the medium they use to show a film as part of the message itself. This is the art of film installation.

What is film installation? It is an offscreen look at film where filmmakers twist and spin their filmstrips while projecting them on an object, according to Tom Dunlap, a media arts junior.

He and other students from Media Arts 305: Beginning film production spent yesterday morning working on their final project for the class, film installations that will be placed in various spots around campus.

Andrew Marco, a preceptor for the class and media arts senior, said the group is especially focused.

"This is a really great group of students who are dedicated to their work. They are also very talented because each student had to audition for the class," he said. The class is taught by a visiting artist from Northwestern University, Professor Daniel Peltz.

"The main focus of film installation is to use all of the space that you have between the projector and the image to change the way the audience looks at film," Dunlap said.

"We are trying to portray a dichotomy between nature and man-made structures. We chose this area here because there was already a fence that we could use as a contrast to the other side," he said.

The group separated chaos from structure to argue that man is chaos and nature is structure.

To make their project distinct from the rest, the students looped their film around shovels and toolboxes to depict man's encroachment on nature. On the opposite side of the fence there was a park atmosphere with flowers and cactuses to show how nature has become artificial.

There were also benches and a trashcan to show how man is interfering with nature by placing these man-made structures on its soil.

"Man is infringing on nature by constructing things around it and then tries to redeem itself by building parks, which are an artificial representation of nature itself," Dunlap said.

We are trying to portray a dichotomy between nature and ma

-made structures. - Tom Dunlap
media arts junior


Disordered filmstrips that coil around everything, invading its natural world, represent chaos.

"We have the craziest film looping out of the other groups, and this highlights our portrayal of chaos," Dunlap said.

Logan Hall, who has been making films since his junior year in high school, said one of the project's strengths is that it can be interpreted by the audience in different ways.

"Filmmaking has always been something that I've wanted to do because it's a great way to express your ideas to others. Our project, like all other art, is open to interpretation. We don't want to force anyone to feel a certain way," Hall said.

Not all three students had a clear indication that they wanted to be filmmakers. Dunlap was a pre-med major but he got reeled into filmmaking.

"I wasn't really happy with my first major and then I realized that film installation was my dream," Dunlap said. "I don't know why I chose media arts, I just knew that it was what I was supposed to do."

Hall said that his high school teacher was very encouraging.

"After I made my first film, one of my teachers told me that I was really good at it and I just said, 'No way.' So I decided to go into it," he said.

Marco said the final project was a combination of all they have learned throughout the semester.

"It really provides a more interactive and personal setting for the spectators because they can walk around and

experience something different from each presentation," Marco said.

The finished project will look completely different because they will have the nature part of their exhibit done and some sound to accompany it.

"We want to have a sawhorse next to the wall to emphasize how unnatural nature has become," Dunlap said. "And the noise will be more effective because it will help portray the encroachment of man-made structures on nature by illustrating the early construction stages."

The construction sounds are meant to distract spectators from the exhibit because it adds to the chaos that mankind creates.

Whether you believe that man is chaos and nature is structure, Dunlap said it is open to interpretation.

"We like doing this because it gives us a chance to be creative while, at the same time, earning credit," Dunlap said. "Art is meant to be interpreted however you want. If people get something else out of our project, then that's great because it's supposed to be unique for each person."

The exhibition opens to the public Thursday, Dec. 4, from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

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