Sunday, April 20, 2014

Cinemorphic Play (Cinemorphing)

An extreme example of the exercise described below from Improv Everywhere...
 

On October 25, 2005 I posted a brief exercise suggestion, Operation 3 - Madonna - Brando, which I re-present and elaborate on below. This is one of a new group of exercises and experiments, which emphasize Cinemorphic play. 

Spend the day "as" a well known personality. i.e. pretend you are…say… Johnny Depp or Lady Gaga all day…identify with and play an array of different personas. Don't just feel it from the inside…act it out. Do impersonations. Variation: Be an animal for a day…a gorilla, say…or a cat.

This casual exercise can be developed in detail also to interesting effect e.g…

Reincarnation: Research some dead historic figure, either well known or obscure, then “reanimate” them, complete with accurate costume, props, speech patterns, etc. in actual locations.

Doppelganger: Do the same for a living person, again either well known or obscure. Create their double. Possibly confront them with themselves.

Movie/theater/literary characters: Do the same with a well described fictitious character.

Make scenes: Once a character is ready to “manifest” in public, work with one or more other players who have also developed characters along one of these lines, to put together scenarios, either scripted or improvised, to perform, with variations, in several locations, e.g. a café, a train station, in a park, etc…anywhere there will be an audience that can either just watch or become “spect-actors” (Boal).

Note: These scenes can also be played out in public with the players not yet in full historic/double/fictitious character and costume…just as actors rehearsing, to interesting effect. This would be more like Boal’s Invisible Theater.

Record these experiments with HIDDEN cameras if desired. Obviously recording them with even a small crew will change/damage the effect. It may be, in the case of period costumed players, that the spect-actors will record the scenes with their phone cameras. “Insider” friends of the players can also do this, of course. An interesting side effect of this would be a subsequent viral YouTube post.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

CINEMORPHICS 2.0: Cinemorphic Play


Cinemorphics was originally conceived  and practiced as a method of reality handling that could address certain problems...e.g. substance abuse, shyness, aging, etc. and only secondarily as a technique for pure self expression...i.e...."playing with your self".

In Cinemorphics 2.0, the emphasis shifts. We are currently assembling a set of routines, exercises and games, which, while similar to many practiced in groups and individual sessions addressing problem solving in the past, put the accent on a different beat...the amplification and elaboration of the players' creativity.


One of the modified routines states partially...


"...look at yourself as a constantly evolving work of performance art. This is an advanced exercise that can involve much hard work and development…or not…if the player, once told that he/she is a fiction, “gets it”.

“One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art”
Oscar Wilde

Dates for a new Cinemorphics 2.0 Workshop will be announced here in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fernando Pessoa revisited


On October 19, 2005 I posted a short piece to this blog about ALWAYS ASTONISHED: Selected Prose by Fernando Pessoa, which may be found HERE. Pessoa's life and work is of particular interest to Cinemorphics because of his method of creating "heteronyms", alternative personas, all of whom composed work "in character". Here is an excerpt from a short biography of Pessoa...

"Literary alter egos were popular among early twentieth-century writers: Pound had Mauberley, Rilke had Malte Laurids Brigge, and Valéry had Monsieur Teste. But no one took their alter ego as far as Pessoa, who gave up his own life to confer quasi-real substance on the poets he designated at heteronyms, giving each a personal biography, psychology, politics, aesthetics, religion, and physique...

...At least seventy-two names besides Fernando Pessoa were "responsible" for the thousands of texts that were actually written and the many more that he only planned. Although Pessoa also published some works pseudonymically, he distinguished this from the "heteronymic" project: "A pseudonymic work is, except for the name with which it is signed, the work of an author writing as himself; a heteronymic work is by an author writing outside his own personality: it is the work of a complete individuality made up by him, just as the utterances of some character in a drama would be."

The entire bio may be found HERE. A powerful study in character play.

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/752#sthash.ohzmK8Mn.dpuf

At least seventy-two names besides Fernando Pessoa were "responsible" for the thousands of texts that were actually written and the many more that he only planned. Although Pessoa also published some works pseudonymically, he distinguished this from the "heteronymic" project: "A pseudonymic work is, except for the name with which it is signed, the work of an author writing as himself; a heteronymic work is by an author writing outside his own personality: it is the work of a complete individuality made up by him, just as the utterances of some character in a drama would be." - See more at: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/752#sthash.ohzmK8Mn.dpuf

At least seventy-two names besides Fernando Pessoa were "responsible" for the thousands of texts that were actually written and the many more that he only planned. Although Pessoa also published some works pseudonymically, he distinguished this from the "heteronymic" project: "A pseudonymic work is, except for the name with which it is signed, the work of an author writing as himself; a heteronymic work is by an author writing outside his own personality: it is the work of a complete individuality made up by him, just as the utterances of some character in a drama would be."

- See more at: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/752#sthash.ohzmK8Mn.dpuf

Monday, February 17, 2014

Selfshifting



"You" are a bodymind, not a body with a mind or vice versa. Things that influence either, influence both…powerfully.

"You" are a verb, not a noun. "You" are fluid, constantly changing…at every level. The static "you" is a persistent illusion.

"You"… "Your self", persona, ego…”who you are”…however named, is a construct that is formed by the interaction of genetics, imprinting, conditioning and learning. "You" have little input into this process until after "you" have been thoroughly shaped by "your" parents, peers, culture.

Now consider that this "you" that "you" now seem to be is, actually, very much like a fictitious character that may appear in a novel, play or movie and may be re-written, re-produced and re-performed, using the techniques of those media…

More specifically…


When someone asks, who are you?, your response may include your name, age, sex, race, height, weight, hair and eye color, where you live, whether you are married or not, whether you have children, what you do for a living, your hobbies, your likes and dislikes, your religious beliefs, your hopes, fears, hang-ups, skills, etc. If pushed, you could produce an exhaustive "character" description of all of the things that, when combined, make up what you take to be you. You identify with this description, this construct.


This description of who you take yourself to be...your ego/persona/self...includes genetic, biological and physical components as well as culturally conditioned, learned and psychologically "shaped" components. Most of these components have been assembled over a long period of time without your input. (e.g. you were born with black hair and learned to speak Spanish growing up.) Some you believe you have intentionally cultivated (e.g. you decided to learn to play the guitar and make your living as a musician). In many cases the distinction between which of your attributes were come by intentionally and which were thrust upon you by nature or nurture is very blurry.

In any case, this description of who you think you really are, this construct with which you identify, can be looked at in another way. If written out, your description of yourself reads like a character description in a movie script, play or novel. Consider yourself a fictitious character that has been devised by the haphazard, natural forces of ordinary life in the world but which you have believed is the real and only you.

Now that you realize that this "you" that you can observe and describe is very much like a character in a movie, consider the possibilities. If your life is a movie and you are the star, lets have a look at how your character was written...to a great extent not by you...and how you are being directed...also in many cases not by you. If you don't like what you see, demand a re-write. Your character...your self...is not written in stone. It is malleable and can be re-written, then rehearsed and performed by you...at first with the collaboration of and direction by a professional and then by you alone. You can also learn to be your own best, most discerning audience, write your own reviews...decide what is working and what is not. You become the producer, the star performer, the critic. You learn how to take charge…

You learn how to Selfshift…you learn Intentional Selfshifting. You are now able to see yourself as an actor not a person…an actor who is playing with the self…engaged in the endlessly entertaining Infinite Game of life instead of just wading through the daily drudgery. You may construct several variations of your self that you can shift among, identifying and dis-identifying with one after the other depending on which one you want to “wear” in any given situation. You now have a “wardrobe” of personas to choose from, all the while realizing that none of them are really YOU. You are now the creator of these characters, these selves/personas/egos, not their slaves. You are the master not the servant, the host not the guest.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Social Media as Cinemorphics Playground


Here are some excerpts from a very interesting article with implications for the (obvious) ways that social media may be used as a Cinemorphics tool/toy...warning labels (lamentably) not included. We recommend the entire article, which may be found HERE.


I instagram, therefore I am: From Descartes to the 'selfie'
Is the self autonomous, existing independently of its environment, or are we actually an inseparable part of a larger social web?
By Gabriel Bukobza | Dec. 21, 2013 | 4:00 PM
U.S.
René Descartes had a tough life. His mother died when he was a year old, and he was raised by his grandmother, who died when he was 13. He never married, and had an illegitimate daughter. Tragically, she died from an illness when she was 5 years old. For most of his life, he preferred solitude to social interaction. Toward the end of his life he became the private tutor of Queen Christina of Sweden, but his bad luck persisted. A few months after arriving in frozen Stockholm, he contracted pneumonia, to which the philosopher, mathematician and writer succumbed in 1650, at the age of 54.
Descartes was ridden with anxiety, which is not surprising considering his life history, and apparently had at least one nervous breakdown. However, he was also ambitious and courageous, convinced that his mission was to understand the truth in its most objective form. After casting off all universally held opinions, rebelling against his teachers’ authority and abandoning the study of books, he began to investigate the experience of one’s selfhood from its very foundations.
Descartes will always be remembered as the one who defined humans as the only creatures who are capable of using their intellect in order to prove their own existence. His famous epigram, coined originally not in Latin but in French – “Je pense, donc je suis” (“I think, therefore I am”) – formulated a philosophical axiom that defines the most basic human he formulated a philosophical axiom that defines the most basic human unit: the autonomous individual. Such a person needs no proof or external drive to attain the truth, nor any external affirmation to validate his life or to realize his freedom.
When Descartes was a child, another book was published in Europe, which preceded and complemented his own ideas. This book was the Spaniard Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote.” Considered to be the first modern novel, it turned the individual and the turns and twists of his fate into objects of observation. Its second part is particularly fascinating, because it’s there that Don Quixote encounters fictional characters who know him because they read of his exploits in the first part of the book.
This constitutes a sharp expression of an art form that is aware of itself and reflexive illustrating for the reader the different transformations that the hero undergoes. Sancho Panza, the wise fool who accompanies Don Quixote, says as they approach their village at the end of their journey that even though he suffered defeat at the hands of others, Don Quixote has vanquished himself, and that is the biggest victory one can hope for.
To date, stories of self-transformation are considered in Western literature to be inspiring myths that serve as guiding lights. They are avidly consumed since they reflect and validate the concept of the self as it has been molded over the last few centuries. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a film in which the main protagonist’s spirit does not undergo some transformation. As Robert McKee writes in his best seller  on scriptwriting, “Story,” the plot will not be convincing unless the hero’s plans fail, his character changes only then to succeed.
The autonomous, self-aware self is a construct of the modern era. Nowadays, when millions of people obsessively take their own “selfie” shots on their smartphones, they are likely unaware of the link between their behavior and the writings of Descartes and Cervantes. However, the legacy bequeathed by those two and others has dramatically impacted the development of the concept of self-awareness and has affected every facet of life. The autonomous individual owns his property, his decisions, his identity and life. He belongs to a community and does not live in isolation, but he is separate from any definition that may link him to others, taking sole responsibility for his actions...
Please click on above link for the entire article.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

CINEMORPHICS BRIEFLY RE-STATED

Your self, persona, ego…"who you are'…however named, is a construct that is formed by the interaction of genetics, imprinting, conditioning and learning. "You" have little input into this process until after "you" have been thoroughly shaped by your parents, peers, culture, etc.

Now consider that this "you" that "you" now "are", however, is similar to a fictitious character that may appear in a novel, play or movie and may be re-written, re-produced and re-performed as is the case in those media, using the techniques of those media.



Your framework for doing this may be aesthetic (make yourself into a work of art), as play (the "infinite game"), as counselling (I effectively wrote alcohol, cocaine and cigarettes out of my script), or as magick (use your imagination).

Cinemorphics transforms and adapts the motion picture and theatrical techniques of character development, scripting, method acting, fundraising, criticism, wardrobe, make-up, special effects, editing, promotion, marketing, etc. into a model, symbol and skill set, and mythology - a complete system - that is very powerful and effective when applied to personal reality shifting.



This blog suggests…instigates…tempts…points…
It is partly practical…partly theoretical…partly whimsical…

Ready to go into take a meeting…make a pitch…go into production…

Click HERE to contact us about Cinemorphic workshops and sessions.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

DOING CINEMORPHICS


I have revised this post slightly since it was first published in 2007. These brief instructions provide one informal way to introduce oneself to the Cinemorphic Method.

Go to the Archives of this blog and click on October 2005. Scroll all the way down to the first post, dated Saturday, October 15, 2005 and work backwards through the Cinemorphics FAQ, observations, exercises and notes to the present. Skip around...pick and choose...go out and try it...

At first, doing Cinemorphics is a lot like learning to ride a bicycle...a matter of balance, habit and confidence. Once you get the hang of it the world's a different place...

(Photo at right is of ALFRED JARRY (1873-1907), fanatical cyclist, playwright, poet, artist and freelance scoundrel, whose work prefigured theater of the absurd, Dada, Surrealism, Futurism, Pop Art...and Cinemorphics (Jarry made himself into a work of art). Among his other diverse accomplishments, Jarry was also Pablo Picasso's weapon supplier and the father of 'PATAPHYSICS.)

Cosplay and Cinemorphics

Cosplay can be viewed as an imaginatively exaggerated version of one way to use Cinemorphics. This brief description of cosplay is from Wikipedia:

Cosplay (コスプレ kosupure?), short for "costume play", is a performance art in which participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea. Cosplayers often interact to create a subculture centered on role play. A broader use of the term cosplay applies to any costumed role play in venues apart from the stage, regardless of the cultural context. Favorite sources include manga, anime, comic books, video games, and films. Any entity from the real or virtual world that lends itself to dramatic interpretation may be taken up as a subject. Inanimate objects are given anthropomorphic forms and it is not unusual to see genders switched, with women playing male roles and vice versa. There is also a subset of cosplay culture centered on sex appeal, with cosplayers specifically choosing characters that are known for their attractiveness and/or revealing costumes. The Internet has enabled many cosplayers to create social networks and websites centered on cosplay activities, while forums allow cosplayers to share stories, photographs, news, and general information. The rapid growth in the number of people cosplaying as a hobby since 1990 has made the phenomenon a significant aspect of popular culture. This is particularly the case in Asia, where cosplay influences Japanese street fashion.

The video is from Comic Con.