Thursday, 14 September 2017


The day begins with a human resources shuffle, Arthur Leray joining our 'Intangibles' just as Shengwen Yuan announces she must leave us, quite suddenly, for the Sorbonne. Well, of course Niemczyk and I can't take full credit for getting Yuan into the Sorbonne after just eight days on the UNIVERSAL EAR set, but as her roomie/adopted parents we can't help but feel proud - if we'll miss the young artist's bevelled perspective on life and art, and regret we won't get to know her further just yet!

Leray steps up to the projector with courage, and is kind enough to tolerate a whole morning of me trying to explain our ever disintegrating shot-list. His suggestions as to technical solutions for the 'quicklight' floor scene - in which the movie's hero, Harley Byrne, encounters a quicksand-like historical floor fabricated from goopy holographic light - lead us back to works of Karel Zeman, and we watch a 'wonder of Zeman'-type documentary over lunch with the Tangibles. It's an odd documentary, made creepy by the video transfer's melting music and laboured shots of the genius Zeman drawing for the children who make it all worthwhile. It seems like a propaganda movie, but for what, we don't know; it's inspiring all the same (as the best propaganda movies are) and we resolve to create our quicklight tiling with a bendy lens and a fancy duvet.

We have Yuan with us for one more afternoon, so we start to test some tricky shots together; a forced perspective street scene in which the cardboard architecture is supposed to appear with a lag, like the latency of VR or video game graphics. Even with our temporarily expanded team, we are short of hands, and while we are admirably equipped with tripods and stands none of them seem to match - nor to interface directly with cardboard. On Niemczyk's return from the shops, we arm ourselves with three different types of tape and just about figure out where the buildings should stand, and what materials we'll need to fill in the gaps.

The view through our Super 8 camera (Doris's successor - she still needs a name)

Further experiments abound: torture in 2D, more hologram stuff, and piecing together the modular background for Tympanum's Godotesque opening scene. The secret subtext of today's work is never far from the surface: we are preparing Yuan to enter the Sorbonne as a sort of mole and spreader of insidious propaganda for the L'Institute Zoom way.

Yuan adding finishing touches to her signature piece of scenery...

...and visiting it in an early video test.

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