Critical Analysis Presentation (SUBMISSION)

In this report I will delve into my Living Dangerously (artefact 2) and what motivated me make it. I may refer to my other artefacts as well: The Thing (Artefact 1) and Shame/Guilt (Artefact 3) and the effects they had on the process and me.

First things first, why make an artefact about wrestling? I believe that there is a unique passion present in these individuals that drives them to destroy their bodies’ day in and day out that I believe deserves proper recognition rather than simply being labelled as “fake” and dismissed by the majority of people. I want to show people that wrestling deserves as much respect as any other staged art form. “Wrestling is a sum of spectacles, of which no single one is a function: each moment imposes the total knowledge of a passion which erect and alone, without ever extending to the crowning moment of the result” (Barthes, 1957) isn’t this true for performance?

I think it says a lot about the audience when they say wrestling is fake and then proceed to watch Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, all of which are works of fiction. Yet this stigma has stuck with industry even through the 80’s, late 90’s and early 2000’s when is was most popular. I would argue that any performance of a work of fiction is subject to the same criticism “There are people who think that wrestling is an ignoble sport. Wrestling is not a sport, it is a spectacle, and it is no more ignoble to attend a wrestled performance of Suffering than a performance of sorrows of Arnolphe or Andromaque.” (Barthes, 1957)

Process/Development

In this section I will evaluate the ideas that influenced the process of constructing the project from conception to completion.

The inspiration behind Living Dangerously initially began with a desire just to make something that involved wrestling. The task’s description of something beautiful allowed for any interpretations so I took that as my opportunity. One of my primary inspirations was the career of Mick Foley, a wrestler whose career was defined by hardcore violent matches. This man has lost an ear, damaged his back, suffered multiple concussions and yet he still continued to perform. This formulated the catalyst for what living dangerously would be based around, the thrill of performing despite the danger that it presents.

The style of the artefact was based around Michael Moore documentaries specifically “Bowling for Columbine” (Bowling for Columbine, 2002) and “Capitalism a Love Story(Capitalism: a Love Story, 2009). Moore style of using archive footage and combining it with his narrations allowed me contextualise my information with strong visual reinforcement. Without the use of clips I feel that the audience would not be able to truly connect with what I was trying to say and the message would have been lost. With that said given the influence of Michael Moore my use of archive footage was warranted however I could have made more of an effort to appear on screen so I could have a tangible presence that the viewers could connect with as opposed to solely a voice of god narrating the entire video.

In regards to the clips themselves I wanted to use footage that illustrates the risks that wrestlers face every time they step between the ropes, Including Mick Foley’s infamous fall from the top of cage at King of the Ring 1998. I also wanted to shock my audience by showing them what could happen when moves go awry (and sometimes even when they work). One clip in particular shows Mexican wrestler Hijo del Perro Aguayo dying in ring following a kick that fractured 3 vertebrae, he was dead almost instantly (Hastings, 2015).

In the technical department I wish that footage from more of matches could have been kept at a consistent resolution however this is a result of the matches being filmed at different times with different cameras so I did the best I could with what was available to me at the time. The clip where Eddie Guerrero was also had momentary pause at the beginning that I missed during editing so I need to pay more attention to detail and look out for instances like that. Also my narration sounded unnatural with a low fi tone that was very noticeable when I spoke in a higher pitch. I should have used better equipment like an Edirol in order to provide better quality sound for my artefact. Unfortunately I feel that this was a consistent problem across all three artefacts as I put more enthuses on the research as the projects progressed. In future I will make better use of the resources that are available to me.

Once the project I was faced another problem I was unable to upload it to youtube due to the WWE blocking the video for using their footage. I feel this was a violation of the terms of fair use as I making commentary on the business of pro wrestling and I wasn’t damaging their market. However there was simple too grey to wade through given the time constraint of researching and producing artefact 3 so I simply moved the video to dropbox. I continued to use dropbox for Guilt/Shame and moved The Thing there because of a technical issue with the original video. For my FMP I will study further into the terms of fair to ensure that I do not face the same problem and if I do I can dispute it effectively.

Primary Research

Here I will cover the Primary research I conducted of the course of the module specifically that which impacted Living Dangerously.

During the module we took a trip to London to witness the Ai Weiwei art exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. While there I saw many unique pieces of art made from seemingly random materials, the exhibitions didn’t resonate with me at first. During a second round through I took notice of mini documentaries that played throughout the day. They talked about the exhibitions, the origins of the materials used and why they were made. This made me realise that, in isolation you can admire the visuals and craft and interpret your own way. However the context behind the exhibitions greatly increased the impact of the art. For example Weiwei’s Straight (Weiwei, 2012) was created from 90 tonnes of steel reinforcement that was gathered following the Sichuan earthquake of 2008. This was made in protest of poorly constructed buildings that contributed to the death toll during the quake. I attempted to convey this in Living Dangerously by saying yes wrestling is staged however there are real and sometimes fatal risks and that’s why I showed the clips of devastating injuries and even death and narrated it as such.

In regards to my own artefacts I struggled with conducting primary research. The Thing’s story of peer pressure and abortion was incredibly sensitive subject, I couldn’t bring myself ask someone such personal questions that I felt could easily be misinterpreted. The experience of The Thing had a negative effect on me going into Living Dangerously as it had wounded my self-confidence and I found myself unable to reach out to people for their thoughts on wrestling. If I were to go back a repeat the process I would have asked people what they thought of wrestling whether they fans or not and then contrast their thoughts with my own. An example would be the Marilyn Manson interview that Michael Moore conducted for “Bowling for Columbine”. I believe that this input would have greatly enhanced the message I was attempting to convey with Living Dangerously.

I will need to embolden myself for future projects so that I am able to connect with necessary people who could provide information that can positively influence my work, at the same time I would need to maintain an awareness of conduct when handling sensitive subjects such abortion and peer pressure. The key would be to find method to balancing these qualities.

Contextual Research

As mentioned above Living Dangerously adopts conventions from Michael Moore documentaries such as “Bowling for Columbine” and “Capitalism a Love Story” in that makes use of archive footage to illustrate the narrative. These films are categorised as participatory documentaries, wherein the documentary maker (Moore) openly interacts with the subject and is full of on the spot interviews that are informal in nature. Looking back at the at results I found that my documentary uses conventions found in Poetic documentaries (Doc Modes nichols.pdf, n.d.), Less as a result of intent but circumstance as I mentioned above with my Primary research. Poetic documentaries attempt to harness an “Inner truth” as opposed to an “Objective truth” through and visual and tonal manipulation. You see this how the clips are arranged to fit the narrative and that I’m not suggesting a factual answer to my question but rather to provoke an emotional response from the viewer.

In terms of the context of the artefact I found sources of information are the wrestlers themselves. Many conduct what are called “shoots” where they open up about experiences in their careers outside of the character they portray for the audience. You see this in documentaries like “Beyond the Mat” (Beyond the Mat, 1999) and Faces and Heels (Faces and Heels: A Real Look at Independent Wrestling, 2004), wrestlers from the WWE to the independent circuit all have their unique stories to tell about the business. They gave insight into their personal lives and how wrestling has affected them and what motivates them to go out and entertain despite the pain, Mick Foley said “several times a year I look at something I say this is going to be dangerous and it could turn out real bad but its got to be done for the sake of history” (Beyond the Mat, 1999). This fits very well with the lecture on passion, as wrestling is to suffer and endure. “A perfect picture, I say, for he [the poet] yieldeth to the powers of the mind an image of that whereof the philosopher bestoweth but a wordish description: which doth neither strike, pierce, nor possess the sight of the soul so much as that other [the poet] doth.” (An Apology for Poetry p. 119). This quote from the lecture and how poetry can reveal the soul is a beautiful analogy for how I see wrestling. Combined with what I learned from Barthes Mythologies (Barthes, 1957) and Weiwei’s Royal Academy of Arts Exhibition (2015), I feel my wrestling artifact is effective in challenging preconceived notions and offering new insights.

This also begs the question what separates my work from the other wrestling documentaries is that it isn’t as interested in what’s happening outside the ring rather it revels in the emotional spectacle within the ring. It draws attention to the entire performance as opposed to the individual actors. That being said one must consider where these people come from in order to give greater contextual weight to what happens during the spectacle of wrestling, which why I should interview some wrestlers if I were to revisit the subject of this artefact. However this style needn’t be strictly applied to wrestling as I could use it to cover other subjects and refine it in the future.

Conclusion

All of the R&D that went into this project has lead me on an interesting journey through something I already loved and granted a new perspective on. Refering back to my opening quote from Barthes, to me wrestling is poetry in motion just like all performance fiction. It also taught me that I need to bolster my own self-confidence when comes to conducting interviews because I let the The Thing damage the process of Living Dangerously. This experience coupled with the trip to Ai Weiwei’s exhibition taught the proper significance and value of primary reseach. For my FMP I will take everything that I have learned here and build off of it to produce a far more refined piece of work.

 

Bibliography

Barthes, R. (1957). Mythologies

Beyond the Mat. (1999). [film] usa: Barry W. Blaustein.

Bowling for Columbine. (2002). [film] usa: Michael Moore.

Capitalism: a Love Story. (2009). [film] usa: Michael Moore.

Doc Modes nichols.pdf. (n.d.). 1st ed. [ebook] http://www.godnose.co.uk, p.3. Available at: http://www.godnose.co.uk/downloads/alevel/documentary/Doc%20Modes%20nichols.pdf [Accessed 15 Nov. 2015].

Faces and Heels: A Real Look at Independent Wrestling. (2004). [film] usa: Daniel R. Beehler.

Hastings, D. (2015). Wrestler Pedro Aguayo Jr. died almost instantly: autopsy. [online] NY Daily News. Available at: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/wrestler-pedro-aguayo-jr-died-instantly-autopsy-article-1.2163312 [Accessed 27 Oct. 2015].

Sidney, P., Herman, P. and Sidney, P. (2001). Sir Philip Sidney’s an apology for poetry, and, Astrophil and Stella. Glen Allen, Va.: College Pub.

Weiwei,Ai., (2015) Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts

Weiwei, A. (2012). Straight. [sculpture] London: Royal Academy of Arts.

 

 

 

360MC Reflection (SUBMISSION)

The first thing I will take away the 360mc is my development in broadening my research skills. I learned that it is important to examine as many sources on a subject as possible so as to expand my perspective and verify preconceived notions on it (if any). In doing so I discovered several outlets for my passion for narrative structure and characterisation that could have been implemented.

I found the best way to inspire myself to progress was to base my artefacts on things that I am passion about. As an aspiring screenwriter it would be absolutely vital for me to discover as much information in regards to a given subject as possible before I put pen to paper. I’ve found that inspiration stems from the more the research you do, this in turn leads to more avenues opening up for more creative work.

When faced with so much information the challenge I came across was finding the appropriate method to convey the subject creatively. For example artefact 3 could have had more visuals as opposed to text and structured more like a narrative. This made me realise that I need to develop more creative methods to convey my ideas and find a balance between research and the creative process to achieve the results I desire.

One of my biggest weaknesses on this module was primary research as I struggled to find individuals who I thought could contribute to artefacts. In hindsight I’ve become aware of several strategies that I could have employed to better my primary work. For example in 2nd artefact I could played off the stigma of wrestling being fake and interacted with everyday people to find out their perceptions of the sport, I feel that could have made the artefact more effective.

Going forward I would like to make use of sitdown interviews in the vein of Michael Moore documentaries and actively participate in the subject that I am making the film about. I believe this would enhance the execution of my work as I would be bringing a much more personal experience into it, which would better my creative delivery to the audience.

In future I can see myself incorporating these techniques into my FMP. I would like to gain more experience in networking so that I would have a number of primary sources that I can easily get in contact with. I also need to learn to streamline my work so that the result creative expression of an idea as opposed to presentation of an idea. Comparing Artefacts 2 and 3 is good example of what I mean; 2 expresses the passion I feel for the subject, 3 doesn’t. I feel trying to explain the idea literally as opposed to poetically.

Artefact 3: Shame/Guilt

For the 3rd artefact I will discuss the definitions and moral implications of Guilt vs Shame.

At the simplist level I have found the difference between the two is very unique and somewhat confusing. Joseph Burgo PH.D. describes it an interesting manner: “I once said something hurtful at a dinner party, and on some level, I intended it to be hurtful. Afterward, I felt guilty because I could see that I had hurt my friend. More painfully, I also felt ashamed that I was the sort of person who would behave that way. Guilt arose as a result of inflicting pain on somebody else; I felt shame in relation to myself.(Burgo, 2015) At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking these might be the same thing however this isn’t the case.

On closer inspection I have found the two are as separate as night and day. Burgo and several other Physiatrists point out how Guilt is an internal responsive emotion that tells you that have done something that you consider wrong and that you should feel bad for doing that particular thing (Wong and Tsai, 2015). Guilt is also a part of healthy psychological development as it allows you to learn from these mistakes and move forward while being aware that you shouldn’t repeat the wrongful action “guilt can help us hone our own moral compass“. (Talk Therapy Channel, 2013)

Shame on the other hand is a polar opposite in that in can destroy sense of self and prevent you from improving. Shame is feelings disgrace (against yourself) because external sources take of notice of something you do and decide its wrong. Shame runs much deeper than guilt as it manifests in feelings of worthlessness that can isolate you from others and can stop feeling empathy towards them “When shame is especially pervasive (what I refer to as core or basic shame), it usually precludes feelings of genuine concern and guilt from developing; the sense of being damaged is so powerful and painful that it crowds out feeling for anyone else.” (Burgo, 2015) It can also lead senses idealisation as others are seen as perfect (I myself have felt this way and sometimes still do), which in turn can lead to withdrawal and negative feelings towards other people. So in summary Guilt can be described as a wound that can be healed and Shame is akin to an infection that destroys from within overtime, at least how we as western individualistic culture understand it.

Now whats interesting is these definitions can vary from culture to culture. We in the west are generally a seen as individualistic culture as mentioned above. Where as the chinese, Japanese, Koreans identify as collectivist cultures. Shame is utilised as motivational factor in Collectivist cultures due to insistance on conforming the demands of peers (Dessi and Zhao, 2011). Different cultures seem to value different emotions as motivational factors.

I attended the Coventry Photo Club to ask if they could provide some images that I could have used for my Artefact. Unfortunately they came to me after the artefact had already been completed, However looking at I must say they would have contributed very to the ideas process.

Photos By: Emma Berthaud Remillieux

References

Burgo, J. (2015). The Difference Between Guilt and Shame. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shame/201305/the-difference-between-guilt-and-shame [Accessed 2 Nov. 2015].

Dessi, R. and Zhao, X. (2011). Self-Esteem, Shame and Personal Motivation. 2nd ed. [ebook] Toulouse: d’Économie Industrielle. Available at: http://idei.fr/sites/default/files/medias/doc/by/dessi/sesc20131217XJ.pdf [Accessed 3 Nov. 2015].

Talk Therapy Channel, (2013). Understanding Shame and Guilt.

Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W5XSIEUcaU&list=LL7Kk_ELvJrkSHVWhF2Y_-rg&index=7 [Accessed 2 Nov. 2015].

Wong, Y. and Tsai, J. (2015). Cultural Models of Shame and Guilt. 1st ed. [ebook] Available at: http://psych.stanford.edu/~tsailab/PDF/yw07sce.pdf [Accessed 8 Nov. 2015].

Living Dangerously: Something Beautiful

If no pain no gain ever applied to a single profession then that profession would be pro wrestling.

It is job like no other. You go into a ring, put on show for a crowd, and get paid to do it. Sounds simple right? well thats before you throw in all the pain from injuries you will inevitably sustain from your time in the ring, travel on the road day in and day out from show to show, and for a lot of independent wrestlers for as little as $20 with no insurance. For many who train to become wrestlers it consumes their lives as they tough it out on the road to hone their craft.

Often attributed with stigma of being “fake” due to the history of maintaining kayfabe (giving the illusion of reality within a staged show) throughout much of it’s history. Wrestling is indeed a scripted performance however every loud bang you hear when bodies meet the mat, steel, or wood, is real pain that these men and women endure for the sake of entertaining a crowd and telling a story. However sometimes the price they pay for the sake of entertainment can be very high to the point of fatal.

Every manuver in the ring is a spectacle which requires thousands of hours of training to pull off. A single miscalculation or twist of fate can injure, cripple, and even kill. possibly one of the most infamous was the match between D’lo Brown and Darren A. Drozdov. Droz was paralysed from the neck down after they both botched the execution of D’lo’s running powerbomb move (Cortez, 2015).

During the days of kayfabe wrestlers could be injured and even killed outside the ring. Rowdy Roddy Piper one of the greatest heels (villain) had been stabbed 3 times by the people who came to see the shows. Ox Baker was mobbed in 1974 after proclaiming that his finishing move the Heart punch had killed two men, in reality they died from completely different causes, in order build up his heel persona. In 1988 Bruiser Brody was murdered in Puerto Rico by Jose Huertas Gonzalez, a fellow wrestler, following a dispute in the locker room. The tragic death of Owen Hart is another example “Owen Hart fell to his death from the rafters of the Kemper Arena right before his match at the Over The Edge pay-per-view. Hart was scheduled to repel down for a spectacular entrance however something terribly wrong occurred which led Owen to fall from the secure rope from an estimated height of 70 feet.(Wrestling-Online.com, 2012)

References

Barthes, R. (1957). Mythologies. París: Seuil.

Cortez, A. (2015). The Most Gruesome Injuries in Wrestling History. [online] Bleacher Report. Available at: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/139156-the-most-gruesome-injuries-in-wrestling-history [Accessed 27 Oct. 2015].

Hastings, D. (2015). Wrestler Pedro Aguayo Jr. died almost instantly: autopsy. [online] NY Daily News. Available at: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/wrestler-pedro-aguayo-jr-died-instantly-autopsy-article-1.2163312 [Accessed 27 Oct. 2015].

Kayfabememories.com, (n.d.). Memphis Wrestling in the 60’s. [online] Available at: http://www.kayfabememories.com/Regions/memphis/memphis60s.htm [Accessed 27 Oct. 2015].

Wrestling-Online.com, (2012). The Tragic Death Of Owen Hart. [online] Available at: http://www.wrestling-online.com/timeline/the-tragic-death-of-owen-hart/ [Accessed 27 Oct. 2015].

YouTube, (1999). Beyond the Mat – Pro Wrestling Documentary. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ryt6uc4Ojes [Accessed 28 Oct. 2015].

YouTube, (2004). Faces and Heels: A Real Look at Independent Wrestling (2004) FULL DOCUMENTARY. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNIyT4R7hcU&index=27&list=LL7Kk_ELvJrkSHVWhF2Y_-rg [Accessed 27 Oct. 2015].

Artefact 1: Its my Choice

For this 1st artefact I will be about a Pregnant woman who is being pressured by her Boyfriend into having an abortion.

The idea for the story came something I thinking about recently and so using the top 10 tips for making Flash Fiction especially “Actually, it’s more like a half a scene, or even a quarter scene. There’s not enough room to tell the character’s life story. One setting, one moment, one change. What is the most important change that occurs in the character’s story? That is her defining moment, and that is what the scene must focus on.” (King, 2010)

Disclaimer: I was presented with an oppurtunity to talk to someone who had gone through such an experience however I simply couldn’t bring myself to engage with such a personal and sensitive issue, with what would have been primary source. I’m sorry I couldn’t find a tasteful way to ask such questions.

Presented here are a series of quotes from forums where women talk openly about their experiences regarding this topic.

Basically, i told him i wouldn’t have an abortion and he left me. He said if i shared his dream i’d have 20 abortions if that’s what it took for us to have a future together.

He says, if you don’t like who i am, leave. i say i’ll just leave then and he goes mad with affection! But i know that will end if the baby arrives and still no solution…well, he’ll make the solution, he will leave.

my boyfriend says exactly the same. that its not what he wants. that he wanted the perfect house, with good schools near by. that where not financially ready. he’s 37 and still wont commit untill he has all his plans in place.

my boyfriend still turned around and said he didnt want me to have her. he left me when i was 12 weeks, i came home one day to find out he had moved out and left a note saying to leave him alone. few weeks later he got in touch and said he would only come back if i didnt continue the pregnancy.

i think a lot of men have little emotional attachment to the baby when you are pregnant. It is a lot easier for them just to carry on regardless and ignore the situation

my pregnancy was unplanned and when i to;d my partner he was happy then 2 weeks later he started saying we couldent afford the baby and to have an abortion listing all sorts of exscuses why we shouldent have the baby he accused me of getting pregnant on pupose and that i had planned it he was distant and it didnt help that i kept bleeding so was stressing out more i did say to him i would do it bymyself.

I got pregnant at 16 and everyone around me was saying to get rid the dad even had his mates tell me they would beat it out of me and majority of my friends dissapeared.

With these I intend to bring my own kind of narrative.

Bibliography

King, J. (2010). 10 Flash Fiction Writing Tips. [online] bethestory.com. Available at: http://bethestory.com/2010/06/18/10-flash-fiction-writing-tips [Accessed 9 Oct. 2015].

Netmums.com, (2015). Fiance wants me to have an abortion. Do men come round after the birth?. [online] Available at: http://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/advice-support-40/unplanned-pregnancy-46/277034-fiance-wants-me-have-abortion-do-men-come-round-after-birth-all.html [Accessed 10 Oct. 2015].

Netmums.com, (2015). I feel pressured into an abortion. [online] Available at: http://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/advice-support-40/young-parents-support-500/1174070-i-feel-pressured-into-abortion-all.html [Accessed 10 Oct. 2015].

Free Women’s Clinic, (2014). The “Problem” Didn’t Just Go Away – Free Women’s Clinic. [online] Available at: http://www.freewomensclinic.com/problem-didnt-just-go-away/ [Accessed 9 Oct. 2015].