David Bullock - mail@davidbullock.uk

I. Digital Video - Outline

Guerrilla Tactics
When I started this project I set out with the objective of creating short video films in a deliberately unplanned manner. My basic strategy was to have no strategy. Once I had a seed of an idea I would just go and shoot it with as little pre-planning or thought as possible. Consequently I have shot hours of footage that never even made it to the 'virtual' cutting room floor. The reason for this approach was to try and liberate the films from over-planning and hopefully allow subconscious connections to emerge. This is in stark contrast to my usual modus operandi. Admittedly it is not especially easy to be that spontaneous with a camera - the necessary technology ensures the whole process becomes quite contrived. However, in spite of this the occasional revelations do still occur. This 'guerrilla' style of film making prevented me from becoming over-analytical about what I was trying to achieve with my long-term objectives. The short term aims were always justification enough. As a result it is only through retrospective analysis that I have started to unravel common themes and threads underlying these films.

Free will vs. Determinism
One of the key underlying motifs is that of free will or the lack of it. All the players seem to be trapped in eternal loops. Whether it is the circling figure/s in "Ghosts" or the robots in "Robot Dance No.1" & "Robot Dance No.2" they are all playing out predetermined patterns of behaviour. Elements of choice or randomness may enter the equation but only within predetermined, predefined limits. To be born human presupposes choice and free will; however, do we not find ourselves the slaves of our innate nature and the societal forces that surround us? Do we really have free will or are we like the robots just acting within the preset boundaries of our genes?

Blurry Boundaries
Another theme which has emerged is that of boundaries especially the blurry boundaries between one state and another. I think that I have been drawn to the idea of ghosts not through any strong belief in the supernatural but because they 'operate' somewhere between the present and the past, the 'here and now' and the 'hereafter', the physical and the spiritual, fact and fiction. Ghosts are neither real nor unreal. The ghosts of "X Bath" blur temporal boundaries and coexist in the same space simultaneously. In the end the movie camera turns us all into ghosts.

In "Panic Shop" there are various demarcation boundaries in operation. Between the outside and inside, between the various store sections (vegetables, bakery, dairy etc.), between brands, between staff and customers. However, upon further analysis most of these distinctions start to break down. Where does the shop end and the outside world begin? Am I already in the store once I pick up a trolley? Or does online shopping mean I never leave the store? Members of staff can also be customers. Do pulses belong with vegetables or dried stuff? Will my wash really turn out brighter if I use Persil instead of Daz?

The robot in "Robot Dance no.1" literally defines its own boundaries through touch. While the robot's only means to explore the space is touch we can only experience the space visually. It is almost as if there are two mutually exclusive worlds overlaid on each other, that of touch and that of sight.

The robots in "Robot Dance no.2" use a shared program to mirror each others movements. Are these two distinct machines or one machine made of two parts? We ourselves are just organised colonies of cells, which in turn are organised groups of molecules, etc. Where does one organism end and another begin?

Soundtracks
All of the films have ended up being somewhat unsettling, sad or pessimistic in tone. This is not wholly accidental but it doesn't entirely reflect my world view, which is on the whole a little more optimistic. I think the mood of the pieces is often down to the soundtracks which I spent a considerable amount of time working on. The soundtracks are aural collages of sounds from a variety of sources. Sometimes the sounds included come from the films they are associated with. Sometimes I have borrowed sounds from one movie and added them to another (towards the end of "Robot Dance No.2" I mixed in the ambient sound from the supermarket seen on "Panic Shop"). Sometimes, where appropriate, I have used the library sounds that come with Apple Soundtrack Pro as these are often better recorded than I would be able to do. Many of the sounds have been heavily reprocessed by altering speed and pitch or adding reverb or echo. Ultimately I would say that the soundtrack is at least as important as the visuals in most of these films, so I would urge you to watch them on a system with a reasonable sound quality.