City as Studio: Moving Image – Where’s Alice?
Modern Art Oxford’s second annual project with schools City as Studio: Moving Image explored digital moving image. Students from Oxford Spires Academy, Cheney School, Oxford Sixth Form College and City College worked in groups to produce original short art films in response to a brief that asked students to look beyond surface impressions and portray different experiences of life in the city streets of Oxford. Here A-level student Phoebe discusses her experience of the project.
During the last term of my two-year A-level art and photography course at Oxford Six Form College, I was invited to collaborate with Modern Art Oxford on the ‘City as Studio’ project, to construct a new contemporary film. We were one of five schools that contributed to this, accumulating in a screening at the gallery on the 27th June and also at The Ultimate Picture Palace on the 3rd July.
Our brief was to produce a three-minute film that reflected our own view of Oxford. There were four of us in the group from Oxford Sixth Form College. Collaboratively we were interested in investigating diversity, multi-culturalism and drug addiction in our city. It was such an opportunity for us to work alongside Modern Art Oxford and take time to really explore the alternative aesthetic of the city through the eyes of young contemporaries like us. We got a huge amount of support from Kate Mahony as our mentor, teaching us skills and genuinely helping us along the way.
For our main setting, we chose to use Cowley road, with its colourful murals and bright shop fronts. When you first think of Oxford you imagine the beautiful architecture, history, colleges and stories. We wanted to make a modern adaptation of the traditional Alice in Wonderland tale using her persona as a way to symbolise innocence and confusion, emphasising the problems of young society. Her discombobulated state after falling down the rabbit hole was amplified through the use of macro lenses and the fish eye effect. This also conveyed the vision of drug use in an unthreatening way.
We had lessons with Modern Art Oxford teaching us the ways of filming and editing, along with musical input, to help prepare for our final film. We chose intervention as a starting point for our practical experimentation, which we used to embody our whole performance.
Overall this was a really great experience and gave us the opportunity to have our film shown in a commercial gallery. The process was challenging but lots of fun!