I Can Talk

“I Can Talk!?”

What relationship do words have to diorama images or scenes? Or, to any work of art for that matter?

Traditionally, words are attached to particular works of art. Sometimes, words have played a great part in making a work of art. Many times, words are attached to types of third person “museum tour guides” telling us about the scene in front of us. The explanation comes before the perception can fully settle in. But perhaps this is the intended method today? Perceptions of things, uncommented on, un-classified, existing somewhat freely out there, like dandelines, whisking around in the slightest of breezes. And of course, the explanation is always outside the particular piece of art. Someone commenting on it.

But what if the piece of art could make comments for itself? What if the story of what is happening in a particular scene from a diorama is told by a participant in the diorama? When the words are from some character within the diorama there is a very different effect than that of a third person observer of the scene, telling us about it. Another view from our “scale” and perspective. Yet not a totally different view from a character within the diorama.

* * *

In a number of our dioramas we have hinted at offering words with the diorama from first person perspectives of a participants in the scene. Such is the case with Desert Patriot’s Last Stand which provides a third person narration from an unknown narrative voice. With Studio Protest, a first person perspective is used. The blog is in fact being written by the head of a studio that has many protestors outside in front of it. The studio head drinks some wine from a German’s vineyard in Canada as he fondly remembers his three days in Canada in the midst of all of these labor problems he has when he gets back from Canada.

In Studio Protest, the words attempt to both explain the making of the diorama but mix it with the tense situation developing outside the studio. Attempt to picture in your mind the head of some studio inside of his office during an insurrection of his diorama figures and objects. He knows he must go out and address them soon. He lets the reader into his thoughts on all of this. He doesn’t attempt to keep much hidden from the reader. His journalistic style might suggest Hunter Thompsonesque. He seems a pretty good journalist as he drinks glasses of ther German’s wine.

What is the head of the studio (me) to do? Let my characters speak up more in the upcoming dioramas? Even employ them in the diormas in the first place? Doesn’t the nature scene inside the open door of the studio in Studio Protest suggest a movement away from using figures and objects in scenes from the studio. The image of the image in the Blackout diorama and blog. An image of nature. Perhaps the studio is changing to natural images and doesn’t need images of the figures and objects in the current protest in front of the studio.

Interesting for the first experiments with first person narratives inside of a diorama scene. Modern dioramas can use incredible LED lighting and bluetooth sound technology. And other forms of modern technology that might infiltate the diorama environment. Still, the idea of using a first person voice from the scene is not part of this technology. No, it’s rather a shift in looking at this technology. An interesting blending of perspectives on a particular scene. A key actor in a scene relates the background of the scene to the viewer of the diorama or the blog on the diorama in Studio Protest above.

Some of my Shoeboxes

What will the dioramist/artist do? Allow characters in his scenes to talk more freely to the audience as in Studio Protest? Or, take more control over the objects in his dioramas? Among all the various unions protesting in front of Midnight Oil Studios in the Studio Protestblog above, there is one that is very important. You don’t see their sign with the other protestors outside the studio. It is the Association for Assembling. It is a group that believes all true dioramists or scenographers are more assemblers than creators.

Of course, this is true about me. I assemble scenes by bringing things contained in my shoeboxes together (for the first time) in diorama scenes. I create things by using the contents of a number of boxes. Mixing them on a plywood foundation like paints on a palette.

In Studio Protest, the premise is a story from the perspective of 1/12 scale head of Midnight Oil Studios … me. I sit in my office writing (typing) this blog about the situation.

It is somewhat of an amazing thing. One of the characters in the diorama can talk and in fact is narrating the entire scene for us from his/her perspective.

The narrator might simply be excited about the fact that he can talk to us. But he is not. He simply wants another glass of the German wine he has been drinking before going out to meet the crowds of disgruntled workers in front of the studio.

Will he give them more power? Or give them less power?

We seem to zoom in on this situation at some critical moment in the history of Midnight Oil Studios.

“I can talk,” says one of my creations.

A Diorama Piece

So, I let this creation talk in the Studio Protest blog.

He talks of German wine and the break in the fence around the studio. But it is not about what he talks about. But that he talks (as a narrative voice) in the first place.

The character narrating the scene in Studio Protest is like Charlie McCarthy realizing he has some magical power. Or, like Pinocchio, discovering he might be a real boy. He is not interested in talking about this new perspective. Only giving us a report from this new perspective within the diorama scene.

Midnight Oil Studios Founder John Fraim – Above Palm Desert

I can talk!

For once, I’m a participant in a diorama I’ve created who is tasked with describing his/her situation in the scene. No other description is provided. The entire blog is from the first-person perspective of the studio owner. The diorama is photographed and posted to the Midnight Oil site called Studio Protest. And now, with this post, somewhat of a follow-up underlining of what we did in Studio Protest.

A new form of scene creation? Scenography? (The theater books on scene design I read thanks to my friend Darryl’s recommendations). Set design? Scene design? Dioramas? Words from participants in the scene rather than commentators on it. What is their effect in creating the scene?

Letting one’s creations do something for the first time. That is, “talk” for the first time. In this act of talking, it is not what they are saying that is anywhere near as important as the fact that they are simply talking. For the first time.

We always look in the wrong areas to find things in our western culture. We look at the content of words rather than the context of them. This is a major change here, but it is not one that is really recognized by the speaker/studio founder.

A character in a diorama allowed to talk.

The real magic exists in the words from the diorama character and how much we believe these words. He/she provides us with a new perspective and voice on the scene. Does the narrative become part of the final artwork? This is a good question.

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