Date of Submission

Spring 2023

Academic Program

Film and Electronic Arts

Project Advisor 1

Jacqueline Goss

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The Hymn of the Screen is a piece of experimental science fiction born out of my love for both genres of film. The project began as an opportunity to make art based on surveillance and grew into a love letter to the editing process, which has always been my passion. In the beginning stages of this project, I was introduced to Jill Magid’s surveillance art by my professor and mentor, Ed Halter. Magid’s piece entitled “Evidence Locker” showcased CCTV footage of her walking around Liverpool with her eyes closed, only guided by the police monitoring her. This piece illuminates the power structure enforcing everyday surveillance, and the manipulation of said power structure to create art. It was from Magid’s work that the visual of security camera footage became an important symbol of my film. Additionally, I was heavily inspired by Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames (1983); which hooked me on the idea of making a film that didn’t need to follow a clear narrative arc in order to carry a message. That became extremely freeing and crucial to the making of The Hymn of the Screen. The film follows one central character, Jess, who is being closely monitored by a stand-in for the state. Jess calls upon two of her friends for help, and together they uncover and destroy a surveillance room. The film has four parts: the first scene establishes Jess’s surveillance, the second introduces her friends and provides some context to the world they inhabit, the third is their joining of forces, and the final scene is their revolt against a system set up to keep them under control. It was important to me to not only use sound design, costuming, make-up, lighting, and color grading to create their fictional world, but to digitally contain them with hand-drawn, frame-by-frame animations. For example, the character who represents the state and is the main antagonist of the film always exists inside of pink, jagged lines. Her presence over the main character, Jess, becomes visually asserted through the transference of green and pink lines surrounding Jess. When Jess’s friends come to her aid, those lines and subsequently the power that the state holds over Jess begins to minimize and disappear. The animation process allowed me to lean into my own artistic preference for technology-based aesthetics as a guide for the story. In doing so, I was able to physically imprint my artistic touch onto the film, making it inseparable from me as an artist. I wanted to pay close attention to the development of film and media, and the role it plays in observation. Through the found footage section, I found an opportunity to invoke film projection via sound design, aspect ratio, and content. The surveillance room features stacks of CRT tvs playing surveillance footage, and the animations themselves appeal to video art of the early 2000s. The Hymn of the Screen is shot on a digital camera, and the audience observes and experiences the film on a screen. All of these different formats and stages of evolution are integral to my film. They mirror the way film and video has transformed over time, and show how systems of power can manipulate these transformations for their own gain. It is through collective action and organization that these power dynamics can and must be subverted. Though The Hymn of the Screen is not a call to action in the traditional sense, it is the way I was able to develop my artistic presence while asking my audience to question the relationship between surveillance, media, and power.

Open Access Agreement

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

This work is protected by a Creative Commons license. Any use not permitted under that license is prohibited.

Bard Off-campus Download

Bard College faculty, staff, and students can login from off-campus by clicking on the Off-campus Download button and entering their Bard username and password.