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Landscape and artist film

Macdonald, Alistair Innes (2016) Landscape and artist film. Masters thesis (MA), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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This thesis is an analytical commentary on a portfolio of digital video pieces which together constitute a body of practical research. The aim of that research was to use digital video to make a series of experimental films about the Scottish island of Rum in order to address the following question: How can such films address three things connected with landscape: the way in which landscape and subjectivity are intertwined, the way in which power operates through and on landscapes and the process of digital filmmaking itself? To this extent, the films aimed to illuminate and explore aspects of the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Michel Foucault. Through a process of experimentation with different camera types and filming techniques, and different editing and presentation styles, a series of video pieces was created before and following a visit to the Isle of Rum. The different methodologies evolved on the basis of this experimentation. The thesis sets out the theoretical and artistic contexts in which the practical work took place with significant reference to artist filmmakers such as James Benning, Margaret Tait, Gideon Koppel, William Raban and Chris Welsby. It concludes that different styles of film are appropriate for capturing different truths about the landscape. Furthermore, it argues that digital filmmaking is itself capable of being a type of phenomenological investigation into our relationship with landscape.

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