Above Image – Screen shot from Yeoman’s ‘A Common Future’. Image Source.
Thomas Yeoman’s is a film based artist from London. His works focus very closely on “post-internet” and “post-cinematic” ideas- very 21st century.
For the Gravity lecture series, guest speakers are asked to bring in an object they feel is relevant to their lecture and work and also that relates to the theme of gravity – ‘Time’. For this, Yeoman’s selected a video; “Kony 2012” by Invisible Children Corp- He explained that the 30 minute video was made to stop Kony, he described it as ‘manipulative’ and ‘exploitative’. I think now after seeing Yeoman’s work in the lecture and comparing it to the Kony 2012 video, the two are very similar as his works uses the internet and social media-both of which are very manipulative and exploitative, not as obvious as the Kony 2012 video, but this made a huge statement. Video can be found below:
After watching this clip, Thomas Yeoman’s then began to present some of his works, the first being one of his more recent pieces – a film called “A common Future”- the clip he showed, featured some very dynamic footage of nature; mountains, animals, wildlife, sunsets – this was accompanied with classical music and also Rudyard Kipling’s, ‘If’. The film then began to speed up and clips of a girl running in a field and various graphics were introduced – I thought this piece was really clever, bringing nature and the 21st century together with the poem ‘If’ was a really intelligent idea and made the film appear to be very triumphant. Extract from “A Common Future” can be viewed below:
The next clip Yeoman’s showed was from ‘X-factor’-where the contestant was a foster child and his real mum had come along to support him, from the judges faces you could tell they weren’t expecting much from this contestants-this clip represented the expectation of someone about to fail, acting out the idea of emotion – ‘post-emotion’. The clip he showed after this was a piece of sound work by Yeoman’s, the piece contained EDM-Electronic Dance Music, on screen was a graphic of the music building up before the beat. From these two clips I was lead to think that Yeoman’s is interested in Anticipation, the build up of something, which is apparent in all the clips he has shown so far – which works really well with his other interest of the internet, as they both kind of clash. With the internet, there is no anticipation, build up or waiting, everything is right there for you in seconds.
The next clip he showed was an excerpt from ‘Pacific Rim’ directed by Guillermo del Toro – 2013 – the clip showed was when aliens/robots were just about to attack, Yeoman’s then suddenly stopped the film and stopped the sound, again with the idea of anticipation, and then he began to explain that the film received mixed reviews and he believes the reason is “people feel more comfortable with stereotypes, recognisable people/characters – this is why classic comic book heroes are being remade on the big screen” – reflecting on this now, I completely agree with Yeoman’s, although we are in the 21st century and were constantly progressing in terms of technology, yet we still prefer what we are comfortable with, what we’re used to.
Yeoman’s then presented more of his works. My favourite one he showed was ‘CADENCES’ from 2013. The film is a collage of various different clips that combined to make an impacting statement. The film begins with the word ‘Escape’ on screen, then an ‘Esc’ button, finally the statement ‘lets escape’- it then spans to scenes of teens experimenting with drugs, the word ‘Moar’ then appears on screen and the teens begin to experiment using the drugs with other materials; paint, latex filler, window cleaner-this becomes quite excessive and it makes the statement that as a generation, we’re always wanting more and going too far, pushing boundaries, which really reflects on the world right now. The next scene is an animation of cartoon-like figures playing instruments, the music over this is very modern-1920’s esk and the words ‘Nouvelle Resistance est.2012’ appear on screen, it then spans to a new scene of clips from a riot, at the top is a life line bar which are seen in video games, the bars are labelled ‘us’ and ‘them’, and this is accompanied with a man’s voice, aggressively swearing – these two scenes contrast really well, ‘Nouvelle Resistance’ was a French far rights group created in 1991, this shown along with angry rioters creates a clash as they are both similar groups but are seen in opposite ways. The final scene we see is of clips of gangs on an estate, that appear to be holding weapons, looking quite intimidating, but it ends up that they come together as a community and they end up playfully gift wrapping their estate- this scene really shows how stereotypical we are in this current world. This film has so many clashing topics and big statements, it’s difficult to take in when you watch it for the first time, but the 2nd/3rd time viewing, it becomes really harrowing and true to what is happening in this world, a really great film. Extract from “CADENCES” can be viewed below:
Overall, I thought this was an excellent lecture- Yeoman’s presented with confidence and passion for his work, it was very well structured and he explained his work was genuinely refreshing-this is the first guest speaker where they have produced really current works, that relates to the whole audience, as everyone has an opinion and an experience with the internet, and as someone who dislikes film art, I was completely engaged with the lecture, really outstanding work.
Thomas Yeomans – http://www.thomasyeomans.com/index.html