Tuesday, 12 October 2010

"Damaged Goods" by Barnaby Barford 2008

  "Damaged Goods" is a tragic love story using stop frame and 2D animation to narrate the life of objects as characters on the back shelves of a bric-a-brac shop.  The porcelain figurines play out a commentary on the hierarchy of material wealth, as a boy from amongst the 'damaged goods' on the bottom shelf  tries to rescue the beautiful, sad woman from her life amongst the crystal, gold and silver objects on the top shelf.  Barford uses the narrative and fragility of porcelain as a material to describe the class devisions through the value of ceramics.  Conveying a powerful message about the inevitability of tragedy when high culture falls for low in a shakespearian tale of forbidden love, the beautiful woman is shattered and pieced back together as she falls down the class devisions; and yet having lost her material value she is illuminated with a new radiant glow.  Colour and light are significant elements of the film defining the atmosphere and focus with a tense, dark glow and strategically placed spot light.  The use of blue and white figurines across the middle shelf represents the middle classes, and the colourful circus freak characters represent the cheap, mass produced kitsch of the lower class divide.
  The accompanying soundtrack to the film was written as a score which in my opinion could stand alone as a narrative piece.  The audio completes the visual sequence, toying with the viewers emotional reaction to sound by building suspense and an emphatic involvement in the storyline.  
  I am interested in the relationship between the way in which people and objects are categorised according to their perceived value or importance.  The hierarchy of our bookshelves is not dissimilar to the hierarchy of our society, de-emphasizing the importance of the old and materialistically invaluable in order to idealise wealth and all that is modern. I have no interest in exploring valuable objects for the connotations of symbolic status that is attached to them, for the mass produced everyday objects to be overlooked.  The objects that we use, observe and touch on a daily basis hold relevance to our lives in that their symbolism and narrative is understood as part of a universal language.

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