Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Film and Electronic Arts
Project Advisor 1
Must Be Not For Nothing is an animated adaptation of two dance pieces created in 2002-03 by my mother, Amy Sue Rosen. The movement comes from a piece called “Abandoning Hope.” I chose to rotoscope a three minute segment of the dance, where one dancer walks on the hands of four other dancers. These four dancers walk around each other to create the ground where she will next step, holding and releasing her feet. In the full dance this happens multiple times, the image coming back again and again, the motion unchanging and the direction constant. The sound came from her last piece, “Break/Broke.” I also animated a few of her props from that piece: a hand powered Korean war generator, which connected to a dim light bulb. The other animated images in the piece come from my memories of conversations we’d had when I was a child.
The intended direction of my animation is an exploration of my interpretation of themes that emerged when watching her work as a whole. I wonder what sparked these images in my mother. I’m fascinated by the disconnect, by how I’ll never know the way these same images resonated with her. Her work was cyclical. Contained in repetitive and specific motions, it had a feeling of the endlessness of circles; there was a power in its simplicity.
I did my best to capture this impression. Before beginning the project I had not seen her pieces in more than ten years. I was astonished to realize that my memory of the work just barely resembled what I saw in the video. I became obsessed by the fickle temperament of memory. How there are memories that barge in after years of being absent. And more incredible to me was that every time I revisited these memories they faded in and out, like the tide. The only constant was the emotional pull - and though they became fuzzier, they still remained intense and obscurely vivid.
Some of the images I used were hand drawn and some digitally rotoscoped. The images I hand drew were based around the rotoscoped dance segment. Each image sequence is cyclic, coming in several forms, either morphing throughout the movie or coming in and out with very slight alterations. The image deteriorates as the memory does. It flows and is cut short, it blends with other memories. In the end, despite what you might glean from bits and pieces of dialogue, story, or movement, there is an impression of a story, of a specific person, of a specific atmosphere. In the soundscape my mother says, “Then, this must be the title of the poem, must be not for nothing, self loathing, teary pressure, do I finish? Remember the passion, passion, oh passion? Must be not for nothing.” She speaks these words quietly, more to herself than to her audience.
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Rosen-Bernstein, Vera E., "Must Be Not For Nothing" (2014). Senior Projects Spring 2014. 58.
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