I was one of the organisers of the art project Fun-a-Day Dundee in 2014. The Fun a Day project encouraged people in Dundee to add an element of creative fun to the 31 days in January and then packed an exhibition full of all that fun. The diverse collection of art work in the exhibition displayed the need for everyone to make more time for fun and the collective power that a series of small actions can have. Knowing that I would have a busy month, but still keen to create a personal project during the month as part of Fun a Day – I decided to experiment with video. Last year I chose a word a day and cut it into paper. This year I asked other people for a word a day and I recorded it in film. This short film is the result.
Completing the ‘One Word’ project made me question whether one word can effectively describe an element of your day and how difficult it is to pick just one word.
This was a project that sometimes surprised me with its ease and other days frustrated with its struggle. From the offset it was interesting to see how the project puzzled some of my closest friends and yet some of the strangers I asked were very open to it. Mostly they were amused (or bemused by it), they questioned the point of it and how I planned to put the short shots together, but almost everyone agreed to indulge me and offer me a word.
I questioned why it was so difficult for some to choose one word. Then I remembered my Fun a Day project last year, where I challenged myself to pick a word each day and how I labored over the words I chose on certain days. With both projects, I think the choice often boiled down to how much time there was to make a decision. On the days I spent with family or friends, I asked them earlier in the day if I could film their word choice at some point later in the day. I think giving this advance notice gave them time to ponder and worry about the implications of their word choice. There were none.
This rough video is simply a personal exploration into the minds of people I spent time with at some point in January. A snapshot of a moment in time and a new way to record the time spent with these people. I am not as comfortable with film, as I am with photography. However, it is something I would like to explore more and I think the best way to start exploring anything is just to start and get stuck in. Sometimes it easier to figure out first what you can do, without worrying too much about what you can’t do.
So here are a few lessons learned during whilst recording the ‘One Month’ video:
- I like words.
- I should not have switched between Iphone & Canon camera when filming – Canon camera quality is much better than Iphone.
- I should have filmed them all outside – the light is better, even when it is snowing and raining.
- I like busy backgrounds – they give much more context than a white wall.
- It is great to have people surprise you with a choice of just one word.
- I need a new computer.
All in all, a successful experiment.
Words & Images © Hazel Saunderson