A Pop Quiz for two.5

For this one we really had to shoot from the hip.

In two short weeks two.5 took an abstract sketched out idea and made it into a video installation ready to tour England in a 5 meter square “house”. Working at a furious pace and nearly blind to the other’s work (despite the fact it all had to piece together in the end) we  scripted, shot, edited, interviewed, edited and installed The Peripatetic Studio Broadcast in a matter of mere days. This is how it happened…

1. The idea: Dreamed up in the brieftest of email exchanges.

2. The script: A collection of personal accounts by artists dismantled and drafted into a script by my genius partner Viccy Adams.

3. The shoot part one: One 5d + three lights sporting 1000 watt bulbs + a square of florescent green cardboard + a radio mic + one very enthusiastic and talented anchor man, Alex Dunbar.

4. The edit phase 1: Two grueling grinding days of reducing four hours of footage into twenty thrilling minutes.  Plus a hilarious and exciting first attempt at keying video into the makeshift green screen square.

5. The shoot part two and the Schlep: Viccy’s transport of the tv and dvd player to Bristol plus her filming of  the artists and the house for use in the broadcast.

6. The edit part two: Another grinding pass at the footage to cut it down to size, smooth it out, and incorporate Viccy’s footage.

7. Export and delivery: After failure, reassessment, scientifically inspired deductive reasoning and experimentation, the final product was exported, uploaded, downloaded, burned and shipped off to join the TV and DVD player at the house just in time to depart on a tour of West Kent.

There was not time for thought, there was no looking back and hardly any revision. Both Viccy and I had about one day to complete each step of the process  and we were constantly battling against the time difference, upload and download speeds as well as the gaps that occur in hurried and harried email and text conversation. I felt like we were running side by side with a ravine between us.

I was skeptical at first- having compiled the proposal on essentially a whim; I wasn’t sure if we could make something that approximated our idea. Then while preparation and shooting were underway I wondered if it was wise to make something that approximated our idea. Was it the kind of work we wanted to do? Did it represent us as individual artists and as a team? Would the other artists feel good about us incorporating their work into our piece? I kept turning to Viccy with my concerns and she seemed so confident and clear minded about it that I wanted to be strong and sure too. I wasn’t but I tried to fake it.

For a few days I just tried mentally to work out the various steps involved and the different elements of each. I made half a dozen pages of cryptic notes in a series of notebooks. The concept/game plan was gelling just as it became time to implement it. Viccy and I had one particularly productive morning of working through ideas and getting things going and by the time I left my chair I knew we had left the starting gate and were now racing to the finish line.

Things really got exciting when I started shooting with Alex. I also noticed how much I felt like I was on my own- even though Viccy was following my progress from the UK and contributing as much as she could- this very concrete process of shooting couldn’t really be shared via our normal internet tools. Alone I picked up the lights and mics from friends, shopped for miscellaneous items completely dismantled my living room set up the shoot, and welcomed Alex to our studio. Faced with only a day and no time for reshoots I made executive decisions about what was acceptable for sound, what parts of the script to cut and how to interpret others. Alex’s reading was fabulous and it really brought the whole thing to life, but I definitely felt like we were holed up in my tiny apartment totally removed from the whole rest of the process.

Even when I was finished it was impossible to share it all with Viccy rather I had to forge ahead making quite elemental decisions on my own for the sake of time. My fears began to ebb once I started editing. Alex was hilarious and the piece had an awkward kitschy appeal that made me laugh as I hammer out an assembly to send to Viccy for her trip to Bristol. Still there was a lot of levity in our approach and I began to worry that the others “wouldn’t find it funny”- these doubts and concerns sat with me while I edited but there was no time for consideration so I barreled ahead slotting in piece after piece.

And then it was done!

Like an art class exam.

It was done before I even had any real time to reflect on it. It was done after one  round of comments from my partner Viccy, and one full pass viewed by my sister and one long afternoon into morning of procrastination and one hurried hour of corrections. Totally done and sent off into the ether for ejaculation on the other side of the Atlantic. I kind of love it. And I know that it’s entirely a product of a specific and incredibly truncated time in space. It is a strangely concrete culmination of a very abstract project and I can’t help but think it will open new doors for how Viccy and I use our cyber tools in the future.

If you happen to find yourself at The House of Curious Engagements please write and let me know what you think. I’m dying to know how it’s received.

To take a look at Samantha’s work go to samanthaLLsilver.com . You can also get in touch with her via the two.5 email address: VICCYANDSAMANTHA (at) GMAIL.COM