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Merging High and Low Culture

Among the themes proposed for the assessment one that always has been of particular interest to me is merging high and low culture. Such aspects as eternal struggle and collaboration of these opposites, and how this dynamics is represented through art, have always attracted me in music, books, movies and paintings. Currently the ideas of conflicts of different civilizations and cultures have emerged not only in literature and movies describing our world, but in numerous works of art showing totally different fictionary worlds (Rodowick, p. 87). Although these worlds might never have existed in reality, personal and social issues shown in these works of art are live and vivid.

For me, fantasy and fictionary worlds with different human (and non-human) races, dynasties of kings and emperors and complex relationships between these groups have always been magnetic. I have created a video which allows the audience to feel wraith of the king whose country was occupied by invasion of an alien race. The contrast of two civilizations and cultures – proud and developed human race against brutal and expansive invaders, organization against force, well-shaped detachments against the wave of nomads – all these contrasts were shown to illustrate how low and high cultures differ and how painful the collision of these two cultures might be.

The gravity of the moment is reinforced by solemn music and gradual change of frames. The selection of dark and grayish colors is also performed on purpose: it is meant to show how painful and destructive such confrontation can be for the higher culture. Vivid colors in this case would be not appropriate and would not create the right mood (Nichols, p. 383).

The King who stands lonely on the cliff and looks over his realm for the last time, and his sword falling down symbolizes inevitability of the moment. The rise of the camera from the floor into the air slowly reveals the whole stage to the audience, and allows to feel the importance of the moment. The music in this moment impresses and allows to share the determination and despair of the King. The dark light and shadows in my video are selected to create a feeling of loneliness and should bring the mood of losing the old world to the audience. High culture in the video is depicted by the stately castle and lofty stalk of the King, while low culture is shown as the uneven movement of the wave of invaders seen at the horizon.

The dynamics of the video is also organized to stress this spirit of change and the inescapable loss of the old world – in the first part of the video frames change slowly and the actions are slow, like in a dream. However, the picture changes when the camera shows the coming wave of invaders, the motion speeds up and despite the overall depressive atmosphere the movement in combination with more dynamic music creates a feeling of a fresh breathe. This is done to remind the audience that the loss of the old world also means the birth of a new world, through suffering and battle, since no changes can happen without pain. The symbol of the skull showing in the end of the video does not only mean that the collision of two civilizations leads to war and death; light playing on the symbol and the changes of its shape show that nothing in this world is static, and through struggle and pain new civilizations are born – as a result of merging higher and lower cultures.

 

References

Nichols, Bill. Movies and methods: an anthology. University of California Press, 1976.
Rodowick, David Norman. The virtual life of film. Harvard University Press, 2007.