So this is how the model for my final box looks. I’m really glad I added the light, because it looks a lot better now. Also the interactiveness is something I wanted right from the beginning. The ice doesn’t look exactly how I wanted it, but I’m still fairly happy.
This box is supposed to be the climax of the narrative, and it’s the first one that shows an outright conflict. The gates of Dis in the last box, is to separate passive transgressions and active transgressions. And I think that the difference between them, is the inclusion of the Superego. If I get time, I want to animate these guys, I think it’d look really cool.
Also, here’s a better picture of my Gluttony box;
I wasn’t very happy with what I’d created for my styx layer. It was ok in composition and colour, and I’d liked the boat and the character, but the background had been way too flat and light, and the stalagmites weren’t brilliant. I’d experimented with using silicon sealant to make them, hoping that they would let light through and look ghostly, but they didn’t. In this one I have instead used papier mache to make the stalagmites bigger and as if they are connected to the ceiling (I believe they are called pillars when a stalagmite and stalactite connect). I think it looks a lot grander. I also papier mached the back, and used acrylic paint instead of water colour to get a more solid layer. I think there’s a lot more depth to this gif, and I much prefer the colours and how the water moves when his rowing stick (?) goes through the hair gel (that’s what the water is made out of). I also am very proud of the way the light reflects off the water. I hope people notice it.
But how does this fit within the story, the rest of the boxes, and the concept of the subconscious? This section of the story is supposed to represent the journey through the brain, the exploration of the subconscious that Freud was so intrigued by. The light at the front at the boat is both the illumination of knowledge, and also the supposed purity of the Super Ego.
I like to think about what Freud would see if he saw this gif. He would probably comment on the phallic imagery of the staff and the pillars. And also perhaps the shapes in the background and placement of the farthest stalactite.
After a talk with Amelia I decided that I should have lights in the boxes with models in. A lot of my work is about the strong contrast of light and shadow, and the models speak best when they are lit dramatically. I had some buttons that were threaded with a nut at the back so that they could screw into a hole, so I drilled some holes in my boxes (really carefully as the models were already glued down!), and wired some LEDs in. The battery packs and light bulbs will be hidden by a frame around the sides of the box, that also serves the purpose of hiding the scenes within, unless you are looking into them.
I wasn’t sure how these boxes were going to turn out, but I’m fairly happy with how they look. I like the fact that they were 3D, then they were 2D, and now they’re almost 3D again.
This one is for the ANGER layer. It’s supposed to represent the gate to Dis, the inner circle of hell, where the active sins are separated from the passive sins. In the poem, the souls fight each other in the swampy water of the river. I’ve instead pictured them reaching out of the mud, as if they’ve been sucked down, to represent the superego reaching for something more moral than the Id (the mud represents the id, as it it base, and dirty and of the earth). The door to the City of Dis is slightly ajar, to carry on the feeling of the viewer travelling through the boxes, and to add intrigue.
This is the box for ENTRANCE, the first box that you see. The camera gave some glare off the paper, it’s not really that shiny. The three animals are the three main components of the id, lust, violence,and hunger; the leopard, lioness, and wolf respectively. I tried to make the leopard look a bit slinky, and less scary than the others. The lioness has scratches as if she’s been fighting, and a claw up and the wolf has a visible ribcage.
Virgil is there beckoning the viewer into the gate, another way of connecting the boxes together.
This is the animation I made for the part of the story where Dante and Virgil travel across the River Styx, and into hell.
I’ve tried again to subtly incorporate the shape of neutrons, hopefully along with the water, it looks a bit like he’s travelling through a brain. I didn’t include Dante in this scene, even though he is present in the boat. I wanted the viewer to feel like they were Dante. Dante very much takes on the role of spectator and judge in the poem, and I want the viewer to feel the same.
The lantern is also present because it hopefully it helps to paint the picture of the superego as a kind of moral force, trying to control the less moral urges of the subconscious.
This part of the story is really about delving into a journey.
This gif is to represent the FRAUD level of hell in Dante’s Inferno. I think I might redo it. I do like the set, and how the feet are moving, but I also think that it could be a little better. If I get time to re do it, I would change the lighting, how Bertrand is holding the head, the mud around the feet, and the stance of the body.
The man holding his own head is called Bertran de Born in the poem. Bertran is singled out by Dante as having a punishment that particularly mirrors the sin. He caused a rift between the King and his son, and as that relationship was divided, so now is he. This goes back to the cautionary tales that I looked at in the first and second term, and also speaks of how the subconscious is also split.
Again, feet, hands, and head are key to this image, but also cut off. They seem to be swallowed by the scenery. Submerged, fighting against the id.
I’ve finally gotten started making things to go into the boxes. I’m going to make the gifs first, because I’m worried about them the most time-wise. Here I’ve got the gifs for HERETICS and LUST.
For the HERETICS level of hell, Dante and Virgil come across fiery graves that the heretics emerge from and tell them their stories. When I looked up past depictions of this scene they seemed more like crypts that graves, and I decided to show them how I imagine classic gothic graves. I’ve also just included hands because I wanted to have the feeling of hidden things emerging through all of the images. Also the white hands reaching upwards out of the dirt are meant to symbolise the Superego reaching to overcome the Id. For me, hands, feet, and heads are of the superego, and the body is of the Id, because hands and feet and mind are a kind of symbol of our intelligence and separation from animal, whereas the rest of us holds the heart and stomach and reproductive organs that operate on the level of the subconscious.
You wouldn’t think that the second one would symbolise LUST, but I thought about how I wanted to portray it, and I decided on this. I hate that lust is always represented by a seductive woman all in red, why not a lecherous old man? And I didn’t want to represent the act of lust anyway, I wanted to represent the punishment that would fit it according to Dante. Dante describes for this level of hell, a hurricane of souls, and that is what I’ve tried to show. I think a hurricane of souls well represents the feeling of lust, as consciousness is swept aside for the desire of the Id.
These are the boxes midway through completion. I was only focused on 3, and tried to make them as thought out as possible.
I spent a long time making the boxes themselves, modelling and firing the porcelain feet and hands, figuring out how to do the water (it’s clear silicone) and soldering lights into the scenes.
I did my Viva presentation, and the tutors were less than impressed with the boxes. They said that the models weren’t good enough quality to exhibit on their own, and that them being physically there meant that people would scrutinise the craftsmanship. They also said that I should include animations, because it’s my strongest work.
I definitely get where they’re coming from, but at the same time, it’s going to mean a lot of extra work, and completely starting again, rethinking everything.
I am also unsure at the moment, how to show 9 gifs in a way that reflects the message of the narrative, and also is do-able with the materials and technology I have.
Here are some images that I’ve created for the section of the poem in which Dante is confronted with three beasts, a lion, a leopard, and a she-wolf. As I talked about in an earlier post, these three beasts could well represent the three characteristics of the id; libido, hunger and violence. Because the wolf symbolises hunger I’ve put her at the front so you can better see her teeth and the glue I used as drool. I wish I’d made her look skinnier though. The lion should symbolise violence, and I just tried to make it look really angry, but hindsight being 20/20, wish I’d added some wounds or scars like she’d been in loads of fights? In the poem Dante describes the leopard as being very slinky and a bit sexual. I tried to make it look a bit more appealing than the others, but I’m not sure I did a brilliant job. I also used flesh coloured plasticine to make her, to kind of hint at nudeness?
I’ve tried to make the image look more bodily, by accentuating the reds, and you’ll notice I also made the lion a lioness, just as artistic licence to add to the femininity of the image. Overall, a lot of thought went into this, but I’m not sure how successful it was.
I think that the image that is most successful is the oval one. I think that it draws attention to the mouths, even though it makes me sad that I spent so long on the set and you can’t see it!
I struggled getting the camera to focus on everything at once, but I’ve booked a workshop on dslr cameras, so hopefully I can fix that.
Before I go into what it all means, I’ll explain how it’s all made. The set is made out of two planks of wood, and then expanding foam over the top that I then carved up to make more rock like. Then I painted it and dusted it with ball clay . I placed moss, sticks, crushed up leaves, paint brush bristles, and small balls of plasticine around to add more textures. Then I used glue gun glue to add small puddles around the floor. The animals are made of foam with wire limbs, covered in plasticine and fur.
Now to explain my vision for the trajectory of the project. I see the images/animations that I make to, first and foremost, illustrate the story that I’m telling, which is one of caution and cyclical retribution. This is how I started off looking at cautionary tales and how they relate to modern day.
I also want to link in the monstrous feminine to my work. When I imagine the story of Dante’s journey, I see a journey to the bowels of the earth. Perhaps this could be seen as a sort of regression to birth? I have written a chapter about the monstrous womb in my dissertation, and I think I could link it in really well. The gate at the beginning, guarded by the three female beasts is very reminiscent of the vagina dentata theory. This is sort of what I’m hinting at here. I’m going to have three animals bearing their teeth and drooling. Nature is often related to the feminine, and the female wolf I think really signifies the feminine monster because of the idea of the moon.
The idea of the monstrous feminine and regression to birth as hell I think really goes back to my starting point of cautionary tales and horror films. As I talk about in my dissertation, mothers are seen as an all encompassing, archaic force, that is either entirely good, or entirely evil. To include them in a gory, cautionary tale is quite suited I think.
This is one theory of the unconscious, but I also want to remember back to the id and the ego, and how they are presented in this story.