Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Announcing the Online Exhibition of "The Pond" on the Integral Life Art Gallery

This month Integral Life Art Gallery offers their first presentation of video art. The first gallery in this medium is from Mark Allan Kaplan, the pre-eminent theorist and practitioner of integral cinema, who has produced on Integral Life a remarkable series of articles titled “Integral Cinema Studio.” For the gallery this month he offers us a work of Integral video art — this designation not simply about the kinds of technological device used (here a mini-DV camera) but also about the work’s tacit referencing of modes of display that are not centered in movie theatres, as well as its length (5 minutes) and contemplative-meditative mode of artistic expression. The piece is titled THE POND and dates from 2002.

Kaplan’s video draws knowingly on the sundry lineages of moving images (mass media cinema, experimental film, artistic-exhibition), essayed into affecting in the viewer a series of shifts in consciousness. As the artist reports, he entered into meditative states in both the shooting and the editing of the video. In its gorgeous poetically integrative form, many of the frames approaching the beauty of standalone photographic art, as well as the modes of consciousness it evokes, we are privy to a shining instance of integral video art.

In the artist's own words:

As a cinematic/video artist I see myself as a creative inquirer, exploring the potentials of the medium to effect growth and transformation, and attempting to push the medium’s own evolutionary boundaries. My recent video work has focused on explorations of the potential effects that a video artist’s consciousness can have on a video art work; the potential capacity of the medium to communicate that consciousness; and the capacity of the medium to capture and express individual and collective sentient presence, human and other species, along with objective and atmospheric presence or the felt-sense of being in the presence of certain physical objects and within various physical environments.

In THE POND I used Integral transformative practices before, during, and after all aspects of the creative process, exploring if and how an Integrally-informed state of creation consciousness would affect the creative process and work. During the filming of THE POND this Integrally-informed state appeared to give me the ability to alternately and simultaneously hold the awareness of the individual and collective sentient presence of the koi fish swimming in the pond and the physical and environmental realities of the pond itself. This Integrally-informed creation state also seemed to give me the capacity to transcend and include my awareness of my own body, consciousness and the creative technology and become an Integrally-informed mirror for these multiple dimension-perspectives. As I continued using this creation state through the post-production process I felt a force within my own being and within the material itself guiding me toward my goal of attempting to translate and share this deep and transformative Integrally-informed lived-experience of THE POND.

Mark Allan Kaplan

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Edgar Morin on the Cinema's Effects on the Individual and Collective

The complex connection and communication between creator, cinematic work, viewer, and world is deeply explored by Edgar Morin, whose complexity approach to the cinematic medium holds the potential for offering us a way to more fully analyze and understand this complex interconnectedness.

"By means of the cinema, in their own likeness, our dreams are projected and objectified. They are industrially fabricated, collectively shared. They come back upon our waking life to mold it, to teach us how to live or not to live. We reabsorb them, socialized, useful, or else they lose themselves in us, we lose ourselves in them. There they are stored ectoplasms, astral bodies that feed off our persons and feed us, archives of soul." - Edgar Morin (in The Cinema, or the Imaginary in Man)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

VOICE IN EXILE Classic Film on Stuttering now available on DVD, VOD and Digital Download at Amazon

VOICE IN EXILE – The Powerful Award-Winning Classic Narrative Film Capturing the Experience of Stuttering – Is now available on DVD, Video On Demand, and Digital Download from Amazon.com at: http://www.amazon.com/Voice-Exile-Ben-Bottoms/dp/B00BJC8J9C/ 

“VOICE IN EXILE is the first film on stuttering that tells the story from the inside with all the intensity and power of a real life experience...this is one hell of a film!” – John Harrison, The National Stuttering Association 

“VOICE IN EXILE is among the most notable socio-dramas on the subject of people with physical challenges.” - Geoff Alexander, Academic Film Archive of North America

 “VOICE IN EXILE is a remarkable little film!” – Mitchell Fink, Los Angeles Herald Examiner 

About the Film: 

VOICE IN EXILE is an internationally acclaimed award-winning dramatic and archetypal film journey into the mind and emotions of Alan Woodward, a seventeen-year old stutterer, exploring the inner and outer trials, tribulations and fears that stutterer’s often endure. Because of Alan's stuttering, communicating the simplest idea is often impossible. Everywhere Alan goes he faces impatient people who do not understand his severe speech problem. At school, Alan faces snickers and stares that wound him. At night, the horrors of Alan's days invade his dreams, leaving him no peace in sleep. At home, Alan faces loving parents who share his frustration; yet, they are confused and often misguided in their efforts to help him overcome his stuttering. It is Alan's grandfather, a recently retired college professor, who seems to be the only one able to communicate with and help Alan embark on a journey of transformation that ultimately leads to the release of his imprisoned inner voice.

 The writer/director of this powerful cinematic work, Mark Allan Kaplan, is himself a stutterer and this film is the culmination of Mark's deep personal quest to express the inner life of the stutterer through film. This quest for expression began with the writing of the script, during which Mark delved deeply into his own experiences and emotions as a stutter and tried to translate them into a dramatic story. The script was further developed with the additional input from interviews with other stutterers, while Mark worked with his committed cinematography, sound, and production design teams to translate the experiential reality of the stutterer into a visceral audiovisual language. Then Mark worked with the actor playing Alan, Ben Bottoms, on both the physical aspects of stuttering and the emotional underpinnings.

 As a result of this passionate personal and collective effort, VOICE IN EXILE is a remarkably gripping film that touches viewers on many levels. On one level, it is about a young man's quest to conquer his stuttering. On another level, it is about the inner struggle of all those faced with physical and psychological challenges. On a broader and deeper level, the film speaks to all of us as it addresses a universal theme - the struggle to overcome one's legitimate and unfounded fears...fears that inhibit us, often with disastrous results. A Film By Mark Allan Kaplan Starring Ben Bottoms, Jesse Ehrlich, Richard Sarradet, and Sarah Simmons Produced at the American Film Institute Center for Advanced Film Studies

 For more on VOICE IN EXILE visit www.voiceinexile.com

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Integral Cinema Studio Translated into Russian Online

Aypraktik, a Russian integrally-informed initiative, has begun to translate and post online Russian translations of the Integral Cinema Studio article series, originally published by Integral Life.

The first translated article can be found at: http://ipraktik.ru/inform/approach/integral-cinema.html.

Translations by Polina Dushatskaya with editing by Eugene Pustoshkin and technical support by Dmitry Baranov.

Original English articles available at Integral Life.

Friday, March 1, 2013

"Voice in Exile" DVD Release - Now Available at Amazon.com

The DVD of "Voice in Exile," my dramatic AFI film about a young stutterer, is now available for purchase from Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Voice-Exile-Ben-Bottoms/dp/B00BJC8J9C/

About the Film and the Process of Creating it...

Voice in Exile is a dramatic transformative film journey into the mind and emotions of Alan Woodward, a seventeen year old stutterer. Seeing the world, both imagined and real, through Alan's eyes, we share the nightmare that haunts him and his family as he struggles to not let his stuttering stop him from living.

My goal as a filmmaker was to capture the inner and outer world of the stutterer through dramatic, symbolic, archetypal, and audiovisual expression. This was a deeply personal journey for me since I have been a stutterer for most of my life.

The process began with the writing of the script. During the scriptwriting phase I delved into my own experiences and emotions as a stutter and tried to translate them into a dramatic story. I also interviewed other stutterers for additional research. The script was further developed while I worked with my cinematographer and production designer to translate the experiential reality of the stutterer into a visceral audiovisual language.

An audiovisual score was created for the film to explore the use of the expressive elements of space, shape, line, light, color, tone, rhythm, movement, orientation, time, contrast/affinity, sign, symbol and archetype in the capturing of the emotional and perceptual states of an individual who stutters. This score was developed from the my own personal story and experiences, along with the stories and experiences of other stutterer's. The screenplay and storyboards were created concurrently with the visual score, enabling the integration of the visual design throughout the piece. The visual score included divisions for subjective and objective perceptions of waking reality (SPR/OPR); subjective dream states (SDS); and subjective developmental transitions (SDT).

Throughout this process and the rest of preproduction, production, and postproduction, a profound inner battle waged within me. Part of me desired to share these inner experiences with others, while another part of me was terrified of revealing this deeply personal emotional reality.

This personally transformative filmmaking experience also appeared to have a transformative effect on viewers of the film as well. A majority of stutterer's reported feeling as though the film captured their inner lives. This produced emotional release, a reduction in feelings of isolation, and an increase in self-esteem in numerous cases. There was one reported case of the film averting an individual’s attempt at suicide. Families of stutterer's who viewed the material reported an increase in understanding and empathy for the family member who stuttered. Non-stutterer's reported an increase in understanding about stuttering and empathy for people who stutter.

"Voice in Exile" also won numerous awards including the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival and the Silver Medal at the Chicago International Film Festival, and was aired on Cinemax/HBO and A&E Cable Networks.

More Information About "Voice in Exile" is available at voiceinexile.com.