Research – Conversations with Myself

In my first apt with Anthony he recommended I research the film ‘Conversations with Myself’ by Karen Brett which explores the obsessive behaviour from those suffering with OCD, which manifests as specific habits such as checking.

https://vimeo.com/49385353

To visit Karen’s website click here

  • The shot is very static, the subject is the only thing that really moves in the frame
  • The colours are quite muted and the filming is very soft, this is meant to be a comfortable environment because this is her home
  • The open doorways being so static give the impression that actually this house is her prison
  • The subject moving so regularly in and out of the doorways to check everything is really quite a frustrating viewing experience for the viewer who just wants the film to move on
  • The filming isn’t focusing on the subject, it is presenting a view on the way the subject interacts with the environment around her
  • There is no additional footage other than the subject and her home, to really focus down on the important issue, which is the checking behaviour
  • The filming composition is very architectural, quite clean, the environment itself is not complicated which encourages the viewer to consider the subject more
  • The heavy breathing and the whispering makes the film so much more intimate, as if we are in the head of the subject, creating a very intense and uncomfortable feeling
  • The content of the audio is really quite distressing because of the way phrases are repeated ‘the door is shut so everything is safe’ and ‘please just let me go’
  • Usually heavy breathing and whispering would indicate a process of meditation however this idea is warped, just as the subject’s way of thinking is compromised by her obsessive compulsive disorder
  • The lengthen of the film, although shorter in this clip makes it easier to view, when viewing the longer version the feeling of unease and frustration would continue and build in the viewer, so they have an idea of what it feels like to go through this sensation

 

Reflection:

This film is incredibly effective at what it is meant to achieve, this feeling of unease and uncomfortableness which accompanies the need to check everything for this sufferer of OCD. The feeling of intimacy and intensity created through the audio makes you as the viewer feel like you are in her head and sharing the experience which amplifies the uncomfortable viewing experience. There is a real sense of frustration created when watching the subject interact with her environment, the constant moving backwards and forwards to check the different parts of the house prevent any sort of momentum in the film, which really suits the concept. It is a frustrating experience to watch the same thing over and over again and this reflects the inner feelings of frustration and despair the sufferers of OCD must feel, as they are trapped in their own obsessive compulsive behaviour. The static framing also creates the impression that this is a normal, fixed situation that the subject continuously goes through, the fact there is no change in the framing and composition, no cutting in this piece suggests that she goes through the same process day after day. It is almost as if we are seeing her condition as a fly on the wall, as part of the house she lives in, but we are experiencing it with her through sound. A fixed frame could easily have suggested that this is a fairly normal sensation to be feeling, and it does suggest that this is typical behaviour from the subject, but the idea of normal is destructed by the intense audio which replaces the idea of normal with feelings of unease and frustration. I will definitely be using this piece as inspiration when approaching my own moving image piece, because I feel that a conceptual angle could work for it. I could try and create the feelings of elation, anxiety and anger that are exaggerated in online spaces, which is abnormal behaviour in real life.

 

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