Living in a future where ubiquitous time travel has damaged the normal passage of time, humans continue to use hidden, underground time machines to go back and escape the fragmented present. Retreating to the smooth past provides them some relief, but even further dements the future which has been all but abandoned.

Warped from Martin Bernard on Vimeo.

Warped is a short design fiction that explores ways in which humans impact their environments and cope with the repercussions. The specific case of time travel is not what is important, but rather humans' relationship with that technology, that was first seen as a possible savior for other problems, turned out to be a problem of its own, and was eventually accepted as an inevitable reality. This short is intended to be one of a longer series of shorts, depicting various people from the year 2283 going back in time using covert time machines around Los Angeles.

The plot and concept for Warped stemmed from an editing technique that I liked. By chopping up footage and removing single frames, I found I could created a glitchy effect, that when coupled with changing the speed of the footage, achieved a creepy surreal effect. In an early exploration of this effect I filmed the planting of twig from a bougainvillea bush, and reversed the footage to make it look as though the scissors were replacing flowers instead of cutting them off:

Surreal Editing Study from Martin Bernard on Vimeo.

The concept for Warped emerged out of exploring this effect at a location I thought could be interesting: the top of the parking structure at Burbank Airport. The plot and subject of the short were determined by the material quality of an editing technique and the aesthetic qualites of a filming location. I find that for my own personal creative process, this order of events is often far more successful than the opposite: developing concept and finding techniques to fit it. I find that the nature of the techniques, or materials, are what end up being most important to the effect of the piece, and that developing the concept can be a more fruitful creative experience when there are some constraints dictated by the material.

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Instructor: Kate Parsons