My name is Janka Erdely and I am a student at Wimbledon College of Arts (UAL), studying Set Design for Screen and I am finishing my degree this June. Currently I am working on my final year project which is based on the short-story called The Metamorphosis, written by Franz Kafka. I admire Kafka's work and this story is especially amazing in my opinion. It talks about human connections, communication and the state of mind. The story can be adapted in many ways and have been before, it has been presented in theatres and there are film adaptations as well. My version is going to be a different way of seeing the story because connected it to my own experiences and did a deep research on Kafka, his background and lifestyle as well. My goal was to try to understand the story as a whole: not just the story itself but the characters inner progress and the deeper meaning, Kafka's reason to write this story and trying to analyse of what is making this story so unique and why is it still accurate after over a hundred years. All of this research I am using to give me inspiration for every element of my design. I found that this story is a great one for communicating about issues I experience in my everyday life. The story talks about alienation, depression and anxiety in a very honest and sensitive way.
The main character of the story is Gregor Samsa who is the older child of the Samsa family who needs to take over to provide for his sister and parents because of a business mistake his parents made. His whole life is about providing for them, he doesn't have friends or hobbies. The story starts on a normal workday morning when he wakes up and supposed to go on a work trip as usual: but when opening his eyes, he finds himself turned into a human-sized bug. The story is basically about his family trying to deal with the situation: as Kafka usually does he treats this unusual event with perfect calmness: Gregor is not freaking out, he is first trying to get to work, get out of his bed and get on with his life like nothing has happened.
The main elements of my design are going to be the following: I am using check cubist furniture and architectural elements as I find the concept behind it very accurate to communicate the feeling this story brings to me when I read it: check cubist furniture is not supposed to be comfortable or even useful really. As an example here is a citation from the book "Czech Cubism" (1992, Editor: Alexander von Vegesack): "The functional aspects of living did not concern the cubists.". This concept fits very well with my idea on why today's world is encouraging to be distant and alienated, it doesn't focus so much on what is joyful, it concentrates on mass media and marketing, separating people from each other and targeting them as individuals encouraging them to work more and care less about their personal lives treating this as the exemplary lifestyle and the route to success and happiness.
The other main element of my design is that it is going to be recorded in black and white: although the built model is going to have colors to achieve the best contrast on screen when recorded, I would like to have a black and white movie (the film is not going to be recorded, this is a theoretical aspect but has a very big impact on the designing process) because the images of the film are going to play with shadows. Previous adaptations of this story has presented Gregor (the main character) as a bug before or a human being who moves like a bug or sometimes they would record the whole film from the bug's point of view so we would never see how he is but it would be obvious that he is a bug. My adaptation is going to be none of these: I would like to treat the main character as a creature whose exact shape or nature is never fully visualized. I choose this concept because when reading the story I don't find it obvious that he is a bug or a human being: I think it needs to be decided by every individual who is engaging with the story themselves. Therefore I am going to use shadows to suggest his presence sometimes glimpse of his body but never fully describing what do we see.
I am asking for financial support because the piece I would like to present on our graduation show is going to be a 1:10 scale color model (going to be a bit bigger the a meter wide) of the Samsa family's flat, which means that it requires a lot of material (some of which is going to be quite expensive) to achieve the life-like look which is my aim to do so.
The raised money will go towards my project and my personal marketing which I am building for the show (business cards, website and so on).
Thank you for your time and effort to read my project and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.