Final year BA Music student Bethany Stenning tells us about her current project.
Over the past few months, beginning in November, I have been planning, directing and producing The Human Project. The music for the project will count towards my final year Commercial Composition double module, but I decided I wanted to challenge myself even more – and learn more about filming, another passion of mine, in the process.
The final screening will be held in Harbour Lights Cinema on the 22nd May at 8:30. The details for the event will be at the bottom of this post!
The Human Project is a multi-faceted audio-visual project exploring the body as a medium of expression. I have been working with a huge range of artists (dancers, actors/actresses, musicians, videographers, editors) to bring the project to life and it has been amazing fun working with in different universes I haven’t had much experience in before. For Properties of Ice I was working with two brilliant Acro-yogis which was amazing to witness, as I do yoga myself and understand how challenging it can be doing it with a partner! Properties of Ice tells the story of Ice and water’s unity, despite different molecular designs, and this is represented in their routine/the artwork.
I have always loved story-telling. I wrote my first novel when I was 18, and have continued to write until the present moment. Because of this, I fell in love with film and audio-visual art because it is something you can truly relate to through so many of your senses all at once. The reason I chose to explore the human body as a canvas is related to my dissertation (another double module I am taking this semester for my final year). My dissertation concerns how Björk’s embodiment of technology and nature within her artistic output can potentially sculpt her into a third wave feminist emblem. I chose Björk because I have always loved Iceland, and her music has been with my heart since I was quite young. Within my dissertation I am looking heavily into embodiment, and the concept of ‘the body’ which resonated with me and inspired me to explore a similar topic for my commercial composition portfolio. The music is more ambitious than my previous projects, and I have played with many great musicians in weird and wonderful ways for my compositions. I am going to release the songs as an album later this year too, and then the videos will follow gradually (one every few weeks for public release after the album release).
The cinematographers I have been working with are Rob Ellis, and Leo Barton and they are both very talented as are all the rest of the people involved! I really love things to revolve around colour so the videos are quite colour orientated. I would love to list everyone who has helped me with this project but the list would be too long – so I will save that for the credits in the cinema, and the booklet to go with the CD – but I have been blessed with loads of amazing talented friends through the whole thing.
The body has developed much like a language itself into a form of communication to other people. I wanted to use the body as an embodiment of nature, and elements to communicate the ideas of the songs through. The elements I chose are the Chinese Wu Xing (also known as the five elements Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, and Metal). I have been interested in Taoism for a while, which is what prompted me to choose the Wu Xing. I also added Ice, and Space as these were elements/areas I wanted to explore too.
I love painting and have been ‘into’ art my whole life. I started body painting last summer (2016) in Cornwall when I shot my first music video for a song (The Fisherman’s Wife) that is on my latest album OUROBOROS and fell in love with it. It’s completely different to using acrylics or oils, and it’s a lot more interesting to paint on a human with a terrain, as opposed to a flat canvas sometimes. Plus it’s a fun way to get to know someone better, and it quite hilarious at times.
Over all its been an amazing experience working with so so many talented people and seeing it all come to life. It is being screened on the 22nd May at Harbour Lights Cinema as a black-tie event with official photography from Sabrina Beever, and most likely a green screen (you will have to come to see what we will do with the green screen…) It would be great to see as many people from the University there to celebrate my final project as an undergraduate here.
The event can be accessed here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-human-project-screening-tickets-33730574055
And the facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/790060331170909/