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SEPTEMBER 2018

 

My story begins when I left my home country for the first time to start studies at iArts.

Moving to a different country, culture and creating the feeling of home in a completely different environment made me rethink the definition of the way I sense the feeling of belonging.

Documentation 

How does it feel to come back home to your heart?

DECEMBER 2019

I kept asking myself this question before I made my first short movie. The iArts project “World in transition” made me look deeper into my roots and the place where I come from - Latvia.

My main interest was questioning the definition of home and see how the experience of leaving my home country for the first time could be represented in a form of a short film.

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DECEMBER 2019

 

DECEMBER 2019

 
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This short film was made in a split-screen. This aesthetic choice and editing method became very important in my further artistic practice because I kept it also for my graduation film project. I believe that the relationship and contrasts between two separate screens create a rhythm in the film and allows the viewer to remember that there is more than one side to every story.

MAY 2020

 

After the global pandemic took over also my lifestyle, I realized that the topic of home and its elements became a very present aspect in our everyday life. It felt like a sign for me that I have to stick with this research topic also for the graduation year of my studies.

To approach the global situation as an advantage for my graduation project, I chose to take a broader look at my interest and came up with my main research question:

What is the sense of belonging and how do we create and shape it?

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JUNE 2020

 

Presentation of the graduation strategy.

Despite the fact that pandemic still influenced my choices, I planned to do research partly in Morocco and Latvia. My initial idea was to compere these two cultures and see how it connects to the main three elements that also create my sense of belonging.

 

silence, home, culture

 
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SEPTEMBER 2020

 

By the beginning of the third year, I faced my first big challenge - no flights to Morocco due to the Covid-19 restrictions. I felt stuck mentally and physically. During that time I was still in the Netherlands, in the middle of both countries thinking about the way I’m going to reshape my project.

 

I was lost so I started to write a diary to note down everything that was bothering me. I also decided to keep it in memory of the last year in iArts and use it as a reflection book because I felt this year is going to be a journey.

 

SEPTEMBER 2020

 
 
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SEPTEMBER 2020

 
 

Soon enough I had to come back to my graduation strategy and see how can I narrow down my research in order to begin writing the Position Paper. While managing my flight back to Latvia, I came up with the main research focus of this project :

How do the elements of home, silence, and culture create and shape the sense of belonging?

And for the first phase of my research (Position Paper), I chose to look into four different artworks and see how they tackle and express the topic of belonging within the elements of home, silence, and culture.

"BARAKA" BY RON FRICKE

 
 

Capturing the story without words, the camera shows us the world, with an emphasis not on "where," but on "what's there”. Visualizing the rhythm of a day in many cultures all over the world. Making visible how humans have gotten more isolated and question the sense of belonging from a cultural perspective.

 

How are we learning to belong to a chaotic, overwhelming world?

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"FACES PLACES" BY AGNES VARDA AND JR

 
 

The story of two artists who traveled through small villages in France and captured portraits of the people they came across. This film tells two parallel stories. Firstly, the relationship between two artists who combine their ways of working and together create a strong friendship throughout the journey. Secondly, this movie questions the role of humans in the context of physical space - the village.

 

How the memories and hidden stories of people can arise new energy in a village? How are professions such as postman or factory worker integral parts of a village? How can memories captured in photos create a sense of belonging?

"PARCE QUE" BY NEELS CASTILLON

 
 
 

In an abandoned castle, a dancer gets lost in the colors of a giant painting made by Inès Longevial. This short film emphasizes the relationship between two characters and their relationship with the physical space, body movement, and the painting.

How does the physical space affect and create the way we belong to our homes?

 
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EVAN MATTHEW COHEN

 
 
 

An illustrator and a comic book artist. Simple characters and natural motifs repeat through his work - stars, sun, moon, mountains, sky. Making use of universal symbols that translate across cultures and time. Combining medium of comics and illustration to guide the viewer through his thinking process step by step and visualize the topic of the passing of time. His work highlights an important message that affects the well-being of an individual: We carry home within ourselves and it is important to take care of it.

 

How does the sense of belonging create wellbeing within humans as individuals?

 “ inner & outer belonging ” 

" māja "

While writing the Position paper I felt like I’m losing the sense of my artistic practice. I started to slowly integrate the topic of belonging into small video experiments that guided my thoughts closer towards the idea of a short film.

 

OCTOBER — NOVEMBER 2020

 

Presentation video - Position Paper

I began this month by meeting Rosa Vrij from the film production company VideoPower. I got in touch with her via a film pitch that was organized by Video Power. At that time she was also working on the topic of home and the relationship it creates with the human body. Our collaboration continued in the further process because she became my external coach.

 

DECEMBER 2020

 
 

Besides that, I was rounding up my Position Paper. The main conclusion was that all three elements - home, silence, and culture, are relevant for my further research and are connected with my idea of making a short film about the topic of belonging. I gained awareness of how different disciplines can play around the same topic while using various methods, tools, strategies, and character. 

 
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JANUARY 2021

 

By the beginning of the year, I started to explore this topic artistically.

I was looking for inspiring locations, drawing, making mind maps, having conversations with people to see the best way how to approach this topic on a more personal level.

 
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FEBRUARY 2021

 
 

During the first week of February, I accidentally ended up visiting an old house in the Latvian countryside. There I met Lauma, an old lady who is a weaver. She was really curious about my research and since that conversation, I caught the first impulse of my artistic concept.

 
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I finally understood that I have to come back to the root of my interest and the main research tool - the diary that my grandfather wrote throughout the year of 2018. He gave this diary as a present to me on Christmas that year and since then I have always wanted to share the story, atmosphere, or feeling of it in one of my projects.

 

I kept on putting my main focus on researching the diary. Going back and forth through the diary I understood that all three elements - silence home and culture are represented in one or the other way in the diary of my grandfather. To visualize it in my short film I realized that I need to look for people who could represent the main three elements.

 
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01 —

My film character list began with my grandfather - the author of the diary I was researching.

 

02 —

To represent the element of silence I chose to approach Raivo Sabulis - my father who is a meditation teacher and works with sound therapy. He believes that inner wellbeing starts with the sense of belonging to yourself.

 
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03 —

To cover the element of home I invited the architect of our family house, Andris Kronbergs. I approach him because he supports the idea that a house is not only an object but also a representation of the people who live there.

 

04 —

Her view on the sense of belonging goes through the way she belongs to Latvian culture. Lauma - a woman who weaves traditional clothing and lives in a house that has survived a war. 

 
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05 —

To support the idea that I want to approach young people with this project, I realised that their presence is essential. Firstly, to reflect on how it is to go through the experience of leaving your home country and, due to the global pandemic, return back home, I invited Dārta Sakārne who is an International student from Latvia.

 

06 —

Secondly, to portray the idea that a sense of belonging can go through the practice of playing drums, I met Bruno - a drummer and grandchild of Lauma.

 

MARCH 2021

 
 
 

PRESENTATION OF THE ARTISTIC CONCEPT

CONCEPTUAL IDEA

I want to approach the topic of belonging from three different angles - inner belonging; physical belonging and common belonging through a short film. Using my personal experience as a starting point, I wish to question and open up a conversation about the way we shape our feeling of belonging.

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While putting all the ideas into a proper plan, I understood that this project is constantly growing and changing. As part of my plan depended on other people's conversations, I knew I have to trust the present moment and unexpected situations in order to let the process further dictate the form of my short film.

Regarding the budget, it was going the same way. I was pleasantly surprised how much people were willing to give me some many things in kind.

MARCH 2021

 

PREPARATION FOR THE FILMING

 

I began by having a conversation with my grandfather and only by the end of our talks I understood that approaching people about such a sensitive topic is really hard.

To get out the most honest answers and see that people are not answering something I expect them to say, I knew I have to make a strategy for each conversation separately.

 

Besides preparing for the conversations I kept video diaries in order to keep my mind active all the time. I was reflecting upon my ideas every day to document my thought process.

 
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APRIL 2021

 
 

FILMING

 

In the end, I made a decision to go in the filming process alone due to the idea of focusing on a personal approach. My tools, method, and strategy were simple:​

 
  • Use a small camera with good image quality — in order to achieve the more natural taste of the film and avoid stress for the people who are being interviewed

  • In between questions change the angle of the camera

  • Be present at the moment — see what naturally comes out of the conversation

  • Give a challenge to the person — in order to film extra footage that is not static

  • Always end with filming portrait — person already is familiar with the camera and is less scared of it

 
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While being fully in the process of filming I decided to start sharing and promoting my project on Instagram.

I made a choice to stick with this particular online platform because Instagram supports the focus on imagery and also is a platform that many young people use. Through this online platform, I gave a background to my project and invited people to follow my process.

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END OF THE APRIL — MAY 2021

 
 

As I mentioned in my artistic concept I decided to leave part of my process uncertain. I believe for me it became visible after the filming process when I started to edit the huge amount of interview material. 

To keep this process interesting for me I started to treat editing as sketching. I made various edits to experiment with visual as well as practical choices. In the end that helped me to find again the core of my research and the story, I want to tell.

 
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MAY 2021

 
 
 

PLANNING THE ONLINE EVENT AND
PRESENTING THE FILM

For the premiere of my short film, I organized an online event where I invited my partners to collaborate with me and reflect upon my work. The event got an added value after others started to share the way they sense the feeling of belonging. For me, it was a moment of completing the full cycle - gathering stories, making them alive in a short film, sharing them, and opening up a discussion about the way we sense the feeling of belonging.

 
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And now? What comes next?

Follow the further development of my project here on the website or follow me on Instagram