Daniel Cockburn and all the mistakes to make
A report of Daniel Cockburn’s workshop script writing and his following anti-artist talk: All the mistakes I’ve Made – 1 december 2011
By Freyja van den Boom
At the Impakt headquarters students, artists, professional filmmakers and enthusiasts gathered for a workshop by filmmaker and video artist Daniel Cockburn. Having had his first feature filmYou Are Here successfully screened at the Impakt festival this year and being praised as a rare literary talent, I was curious to learn script writing from Toronto’s best new video artist.
Both funny and inspiring Daniel showed us some of his own works like his very smart and thought provoking short film Metronome, which is about a day in the life of a man who lives his day by a rhythm. By showing and discussing projects and films form other artists and film makers also he gave some insight into his own working process. His talk was not so much about the actual technique of filmmaking and script writing but more giving us an introduction and a sense of the many ways of using words and music and images in your own work.
Some examples that I found interesting were the conceptual video self-portrait Hand to Mouth by the American artist Michel Chevalier and The Thing That Doesn’t Seem Tasty – Wood Technology in the Design of Structures (or, How to Live Happily Ever After) by Eric Henry. You can read a text Daniel wrote about this video on his website.
During the day we discussed the meaning of texts and context, the use of found footage and original versus remake/interpretations. Daniel talked a lot about rhythm and text and showed us examples of how both relate to each other. Words can get a whole different meaning by changing just the music or sound, or by the way the camera is posed you are able to shift the attention of the viewer and alter the context. A good example of this are the clips of Spike Jonze.
All these elements are very interesting to play with when experimenting with video.
On Thursday we got to see some of the (un)finished results people had made for the urban screen festival. In the evening Daniel gave his anti-artist lecture. Again humorously, he explained why an artist should not confuse being lazy with being open minded and he warned the audience for the invasion of the self introduced term ‘zombie text’, and how these can crawl their way into film and music unnoticed. Watch the report of Daniel’s lecture here.
I can definitely recommend you go see Daniel Cockburns feature film especially if you love philosophical plots and science fiction films as much as I do.
The result of the workshops will be regularly screened on the urban screens by Dropstuff, from 23 January onwards. These are currently locted at Central Station Den Haag, Eindhoven and the Amsterdam Zuid station. More information following soon!