You’d think with the summer holidays, that would be more than sufficient amount of time to come up with good solid ideas. Unfortunately, creativity doesn’t come out of thin air.
One thing I asked the group:
I was thinking as a possible idea is to look into mythologies. I’m not talking about Greek ones btw. The reason for it is because I found Japanese mythology quite interesting with the shape shifting Tanuki/fox or the goddess wolf Okami. It doesn’t have to be Japanese, it’s just from what I’ve learnt about Japan is quite interesting and we’ve seen how it’s applied well i.e. Pom Poko, Okami. That was just one random idea tbh.
This was just something I was influenced by when we met up to talk about our ideas. Matt’s group were focusing on Greek mythology, and Ladji’s ideas seemed to be based on an African background from what I remember. The reason why I suggested Japanese culture is because it’s an interest I have and I’ve also looked into the tanuki and fox folklore for a unit last year. As Niko had said, it’s a bit over used, but it was merely just a suggestion of culture.
When trying to think of something individual culture wise, I remembered back to when I visited Mauritius at the age of 11. My cousin had explained to me the story of the dodo. She had said that the dodos were very greedy and grew too fat to fly and became extinct from being unable to defend itself from being eaten. I thought the story could be turned into a cute, simplistic animation. Niko and Ash seemed to be really keen on the idea (Ash is also Mauritian) to the point where Niko expanded on the idea and created his own storyboard based on my brief suggestion.
In the meantime, I also went to the V+A Museum with my sister and niece to try and find inspiration for ideas. I looked at quite a few cultures but due to the fact I took so many photos, I’ll only select the few I found interesting and upload it here.
Cotton, embroidered with silk
The fabric from Bengal, eastern India; made up in England c 1795
This elegant gown is a fine example of the neo-classical style of dress that was fashionable at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. Diaphanous Indian muslin was perfect material for the new, lighter and less tailored styles, which were often accompanied by the equally fashionable Kashmir shawls.
The reason why I quite like this dress is because it’s so elegant and refined. As if it signifies something virginal and innocent. Looking at the fashion of cultures and periods might seem a little bit irrelevant, but it usually gives a feel and atmosphere is important within animation.
For Ghezelayagh, handmade felt embodies qualities of simplicity and resilience. Since 2003, she has designed tunics and capes which are then made up by traditional felt-makers in Iran.
The series Felt Memories was inspired by felt tunics and talismanic shirts. The tunics offer physical protection, while the shirts are believed to offer supernatural protection. Worn in battle, the shirts are traditionally decorated with religious texts and symbols. Ghezelayagh substitutes symbols of resisteance, protection and martydom from Iranian post-revolutionary popular culture. They include a thousand and one keys, crowns, tulips and images of Hossein Kharazi, hero of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. Ghezelayagh embroiders and paints these symbols on to the felt garments.
Bita Ghezelayagh was born in Italy in 1966. She lives and works in London and Tehran.
This tunic was visually appealing when I saw it in person and from reading the description, there’s so much depth on it’s background. It seems this piece of clothing tells a story in itself and it could be wonderful to create an animation to, although it has such complexity, I’m not sure if this could be done in such a short project.
As the description had said, we waited until they put the lights on and we really were able to see every detail of the carpet. You can’t tell just how grand it is, but it is absolutely huge. The photo doesn’t give it justice as there’s so many little details. I wanted to reach out and touch it but it was protected and preserved by glass. I always find Indian culture to have such lavish materials and is always visually appealing. My sister told me I should do an animation on Indian culture because it’s very rare for that to be the topic of animation. It would have to be visually appealing.
URINAL IN FORM OF A TIGER
500-589, Southern Dynasties
I found it unusual but fascinating that something so detailed was created for something so crude. It’s quite attractive and very stylised. The combination of look and use stood out to me when I left the V+A Museum. It makes me think that we could make any object or environment quite obscure in our animation like this. At first glass, you would’ve never known this was a urinal and I quite like that concept. Something quite beautiful, actually having mediocre importance. I think it’s the fact that to me, this seems quite lavish, while obviously people thought no more of it as something to urinate in. We could use that concept in our animation in the sense that something that the audience/viewers would be fascinated and taken in by, the characters would see as insignificant. Kind of like how Harry Potter is. The wizards and witches use magic for everyday life and don’t find it out of the ordinary, while Harry Potter and the viewers find it amazing. It’s a bit far-fetched to compare a urinal to Harry Potter, but it gave me somewhat similar ideas.
These two pieces (zoomed in photos of both as well) that were hung up really caught my eye. I’ve always loved traditional art so I couldn’t help but stand and stare for a while trying to take in how this might have been created. I love the earthy, muted tones as well as the quality of lines. It really sets the period and yet again seems quite elegant and gives a calming feel. I’m not sure how this art style could be replicated in CG, although it does have similarities to the Prince of Persia game that we used as an influence for our project last year.
This one is quite similar to the previous one, but instead it’s fabric. I wanted to include this one also because it has such detail yet it must’ve taken such a long time since it seems to all be sewn by hand. This reminds me of the Indian culture in the sense that yet again it’s quite elegant and sophisticated. It packs full of detail as well as using high quality material. It seems this is the kind of thing I find the most fascinating, lots of detail on high quality material. My friend’s sister had a wedding recently and I was intrigued by the photos because of the clothing they wore. I felt the same way when looking around at the V+A Museum. I’m not sure if my group would feel the same way, but I could always discuss this with them.
The textiles shown were were made for a wealthy Chinese household. Some where purely decorative, but many served a practical as well as decorative purpose. Some soft furnishings were reserved for use only on special occasions.
I didn’t choose this particular one because I liked the design, but mainly due to the swastikas incorporated. Most would find this offensive, but many don’t realise that before World War 2 or Germany, this symbolized peace. It wasn’t until Hitler reused the swastika that it meant something evil. I just found it interesting how one person could take a peaceful and innocent symbol and turn it into something so full of hate. We wouldn’t be able to add this into our animation because it is still too much of a sore subject, but I just found this somewhat fascinating to see how a symbol that’s now offensive, used in a common textile.
1500-60, Ming dynasty
The Ming emperor would use a chair like this when travelling. He might be hunting, inspecting territories or making sacrifices at tombs of his ancestors. the chair is decorated with patterns of five-clawed dragons and lotus flowers.
Carved lacquer on wood
Given by Sir Harry and Lady Garner
My sister was the one who directed me towards this and she found it amazing that folding chairs existed this far back. Something that seems like a recent invention was actually used centuries ago by the emperor. This doesn’t really help me with ideas for animation, but it does show that current objects and inventions are actually older than we think or inspired by the past. Maybe for an animation, we could combine old with new which is how I felt when discovering this old folding chair.
Once again, something with such a basic function is made with such detail. This was quite large in scale although the photos don’t give it justice. It’s such a visually appealing piece and this may start to sound repetitive, but once again there’s elegance which is symbolised by the peacock. I can imagine this being a statue alone, but it does have a function too. I love the texture that’s been carved and it certainly is inspiring.
I’ve always found the armour for a samurai interesting since they seem quite poised and respectable for fighters. I’m not sure of the practicality of the suit (although I’m sure there were reasons for it) but aesthetically it is pleasing and awe-inspiring. However, Samurais have been reused in films and animations over and over again that it would be difficult to make unique. Fight scenes are also never successfully made within projects but I don’t think the group are silly enough to attempt to do one anyway. I jokingly said to Deon we should do an animation of a samurai riding a dragon and he said why not, as long as I can somehow make a story behind it. That would be quite a difficult task…
The difference between the Black community and White community’s church is so vast that it’s unimaginable for us in this day and age where people are treated equally. It’s hard to believe that life was like this before. It’s hard to believe that Black people weren’t classed as human or even worth anything considering their church was merely made of cloth in comparison to a proper brick building.
Just another example of segregation that seems unbelievable now. It’s almost as if sharing the same beach or church made White people at the time worry they’d catch a disease or something contagious. Almost as if they could turn black also by being in the same vicinity as Black people.
Top (Left to Right):
Going to work:
2:45am: The first bus of the day pulls in at Mathysloop. The bus will reach terminus in Marabastad, Pretoria, at 5:15am 1984
3:00 am: Early passengers on the Wolwekraal-Marabastad bus. 1984
4:00 am on the 2:30 am bus from Wolwekraal in KwaNdebele to Marabastad in Pretoria, one and a half hours still to go. 1983
Bottom (Left to Right):
5:45am: after arrival at Marabastad from KwaNdebele and Bophuthatswana: commuters queue from onward connections to workplaces. 1983
Buying weekly bus tickets for transport between ‘jomelands; (i.e. Bophuthatswana and KwaNdebele) and Pretoria. 1983
Pulling out of Pretoria: the 7:00pm bus from Marabastad to Waterval in KwaNdebele
The journey for these people must’ve been excruciating and to think this is their daily routine. What is the most scariest is that this wasn’t that long ago. To think things have changed so much since and how majority have rights now. We still have a few issues of prejudice, but it seems that things are definitely improving which I’m grateful for. Our generation seem to be the lucky ones to skip this kind of segregation because we find it hard to believe that this existed not so long ago. We’ve all studied Black history, but to think it continued until recently is hard to imagine. Maybe it’s strange for me because I’m mix raced and in Mauritius and England currently, the mixture of culture is a natural thing. I actually think it enriches the country and makes it a bit more interesting. I may not (directly) relate to Black culture but it is something I do feel strongly about, especially since I’m in an interracial relationship and it’s not unusual to get stares. I’ve written in a personal blog before about being judged on the outside, yet I’m so mixed with different heritages that being Asian is only partially who I am. Even that side of me is mixed. I probably found this section of the V+A museum the most interesting, despite it just being photographs. The combination of photograph and description really makes such a huge impact.
This description was really hard to read and was just generally shocking. My sister was amazed that this could happen. Yet again, this happened not that long ago. There’s not much else I wanted to say about this description because I mainly added it for the shock value. Obviously we can’t do something this distressing for our animation but it does make you appreciate the way society is now.
Visiting the V+A museum hasn’t really helped narrow down what I think we should do for our Final Major project, but it certainly has been interesting. The photography had the most impact on me and left me thinking afterwards. It seems strange that skin colour was such a problem and now where ever I go, there is such diversity among people that I can’t imagine life any other way. I’m sure my experience and the photos I took will somehow come in handy, although right now I’m not sure how they’ll relate to my animation yet.