Assignment 2

Hito Steyerl, How Not to be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File, 2013

A very unexpected, but interesting video, not something I would intentionally look for, however, it was intriguing and I was glued to the screen for the duration of it. There are three major thoughts I had as I finished watching. 

I do not remember whether it was an article I read or a talk on TED, it was a discussion about logic and common sense. How as children, we apply simple logic to our decision-making and the older we become the more we overthink and our common sense becomes more complicated and illogical. I like how some of the first instructions on how not to be seen are so obvious and simple: to hide, to remove, and to disappear. I am pretty sure if I was asked this question, I would overcomplicate it by thinking too conceptual. 

I thought it was ironic how the artist used visual tools to create a sort of instruction manual on how not to be visible, or chose the topic of not being seen for his visual piece.

Speaking of the topic, I wonder why the artist decided to talk about blending in with the crowd when we all try so hard to stand out and be different. Often when I start working on a new project, I use, what I call an “opposite” approach. I list all the aspects, I can think of, that are expected when covering the subject and do complete opposite. So this was very appealing to me.  

This may be irrelevant, but I feel that mentioning is important. I did not like the voice over (not the fact it was included, but the way it sounded), to the point that, in different circumstances, I would’ve stop watching it. I look at this video as one piece that consisted of the concept, video elements, and audio components.

I wanted to write the response before watching the artist’s interview to compare my understanding of the video with the artist’s intensions. Overall, I was pretty close, one statement surprised me, however; she said she does not have any imagination, when I thought of the piece to be very imaginative.


Goodbye Uncanny Valley by Alan Warburton

I have always been fascinated by CGI, numbers turn into images and unreal becomes so realistic; there are God-like qualities involved, creating something from scratch and having full control of outcomes, sometimes against laws of physics.

 I am impressed by CGI being so spotless that I cannot distinguish it from reality and I appreciate illusory qualities of it at the same time. It all depends on contexts and intentions.  I think of it as paintings, realistic art does not mean better or superior to abstract and vice versa, there is a place in this world for both.

As a visual person, I often need to see in order to understand. Computer graphics often is the only way to illustrate what is natural but inaccessible to us due to our cognitive, physical or emotional limitations.  It is hard to ignore the importance of theoretical photorealism of CGI in education; heavy topics in natural science become entertaining and much more clear.    

On the other hand, the idea of “tweaking physics” is so appealing to me; break the rules and feed your imagination. This gives one an unlimited pool of creative possibilities; this can also can help to keep your mind alert, not to be “fooled”. That creates a level of uncomfortability, which, I think, at times is necessary for arts and encourages exploring, learning, and being open-minded to alternatives.

I feel like as long as I am giving information about what is real and what is constructed and the reasons for one or the other, I am ok with CGI usage in filmmaking, even documentaries. One example that popped into my head is Cosmos: a Space Odyssey. However, as I was looking into it, the question of CGI vs VFX came up. I do not know how relevant is it, I feel it is more of a technical distinction, but maybe we can discuss it briefly.


It may sound cliché, but one of the main reasons I applied for the IMA is to be around other artists that work towards the same goal, however, using approaches/technics different from mine; I look for constructive criticism from them.

I feel like in some ways filmmaking is counterintuitive for me as a photographer, even though there are obvious similarities. I am sure I would be able to figure things out on my own, but having instructors and other students makes it easier and faster.

Technically I feel pretty confident, but when it comes to organizing ideas, I struggle. It is not the lack of projects, my problem is having too many of them. I understand there is no formula on what makes a story/project good, it’s subjective; I hope to have a better understanding of what makes it good for me, develop some sort of a style.


These documentary filmmakers influenced and inspired me at the beginning of my filmmaking discovery:


Alex Yoder and Nick Russell’s Foothills: The Unlinked Heritage of Snowboarding

This short documentary was one of the first inspirations for me to get into filmmaking. Beautiful visuals and original, yet simple story captivated me. I often work on projects where I am an outsider, kind of infiltrating tight-knit communities, so it is interesting to me to observe and learn how other filmmakers approach it. I like the outsider approach to working on the project, I feel like you get to focus on details that otherwise could me missed because it’s too familiar.

Kana Beisekeyev.

He has a special place in my heart because he is from my home country. He combines three cultures: Kazakhs, Russian, and American to create short visual stories about regular people he meets. I have a strong belief that every ordinary person has an extraordinary story and Kana combines this idea with great technical skills.

Hannah Jayanti

She is a documentary filmmaker with the background in photographer, so I can relate. She is also a filmmaker who does everything; directing, filming, and editing. I understand the difficulty of it, but knowing that it is possible gives options. She admitted, it gets lonely sometimes, however, she has full creative control, which is important to her.