Since 2008, I’ve been tirelessly plugging away on a research project that all came about from a naive & curious question:
“If Stanley Kubrick really created 2001: A Space Odyssey to be understood subconsciously, then do the rest of his movies act in a similar way?”
Aren’t I cute?
Almost 5 years later, I’m almost wrapped up with a movie I was considering to be “the easy one”: The Shining.
Man oh man. Kubrick must be laughing down at me for that one.
Easily one of my favorite horror films from childhood, The Shining is now a wholly different experience for me as an adult. Blame it on the art school, the exposure to abusive personalities, or my weird fascination for unearthing semiotics, I can tell you know it is absolutely 100% not about a haunted hotel.
Of course this project involved (and still involves) quite a lot of legging–through research, blogs, books, esoteric libraries in London (thank you, EVA!), and I have delved my fingers in it all- but the one thing that still challenges me is the ability to lay it all out in a way that explains what Kubrick does through his storytelling…in a way that doesn’t make your head explode from all of the overlaps of information.
Cue The Kubrick Project!
A year ago around this time, our apartment was covered in what looked like a crime lab from an FBI movie. Cork boards abound, and there was plenty of string overlapping notes and clippings to make it look like I was either chasing the serial killer, or at the VERY least, trying to prove that the Easter Bunny resides in the sewers, solely to tell us all about the weather in Sri Lanka.
Now for the sake of everyone’s (mostly mine, my boyfriend’s and those who still call me a friend) sanity, these notes + clippings have been translated to a number of charts, mind maps, and (HOORAY!) actual site maps in order to become a fully fledged interactive experience! 5 years may be too long to spend on just one movie, but when you’re developing a process to recognize, uncover and eventually decipher mixed moving messages, it’s a lovely challenge; and this project is easily what I would consider my intellectual playground.
I hope to document from this stage in the process, and throughout the remaining films I have yet to breakdown, but I am so grateful for my curious mind to at least question just WHY Kubrick’s films are always considered ‘seminal’ and ‘visceral’. Imagery sure, primary color palette? Absolutely. But its content, conceptual development and semiotics are how Kubrick constructs and presents his vision; and it is my goal for this project to teach others to question, be aware of, and ultimately never give up on their search for their own answers. Whatever they happen to be.