I feel much as Michel-Angelo did staring at the giant 5m high block of marble that was the become the David.
Not to compare my intense mediocrity with the greatness of Michel-Angleo but only in the sense that a PhD thesis is an onerous task in carving form and meaning from an amorphus lump of stone. Finding and lugging down from the mountain the bloody big stone seems the easy bit, its the near endless refining that will kill ya.
My most recent chisel and sandpaper job has been on the abstract…
Mise en Space
From Artifice to Architecture –
Directorial Process, Spatiality and Aesthetics in science fiction cinema
Cinema is Technology and the means and tools by which it is made have inseparable and unavoidable impact on the way cinematic forms appear and are experienced. For the process of Directing the technologies of cinema-making are leveraged to craft narrative-worlds and it is this act of crafting, the pro-active process of creative decision making, that forms the heart of narrative cinema.
Mise en scene has long been established as the prism through which to measure and evaluate the value of the Director’s crafting, and yet this term has consistently been appropriated and exploited as a noun for particular qualities of Auteur cinema rather a verb-paradigm describing the broad act and process by which cinema is made.
The technologies of cinema making, drawn from a long history of evolution, culminate in the digital era in the form three conceptual mechanics which underpin contemporary screen production; 3D Computer Generated Imagery, Composited Layers and the Virtual Camera. And it is these three apperati that re-position the process of cinema-making with decidedly spatial, architectural and environmental parameters. They reshape Mise en scene sensibilities away from a staging of the camera and toward a spatial staging of the camera - the building of worlds for the vanishing-point of the viewer to be immersed-in rather than the construction facade windows for the viewer to peer-through.
Amid the wide diversity of forms, narratives and genres in cinema it is Science Fiction that is most readily and inherently reliant on the depiction of plausible yet fantastic worlds. In SciFi the narrative cannot be separated from the world of its depiction; progressions and transgressions of character, plot and intrigue cannot be conducted independent of the speculative world in which they are set. Thus Science Fiction provides the most viable platform to understand the relationship between directorial process and technology and the repositioning of Mise en scene as a means of comprehending cinema in the digital age.
This thesis will seek to bring these disparate elements together - Mise en scene as a Verb, digital cinema mechanics of 3D-CGI, Composited Layers and Virtual Cameras and the consistently progressive genre of Science Fiction to form a new paradigm of how cinematic worlds are built, explored and comprehended - the Mise en space.