Open Arts Objects (OAO) is an open access platform which provides free films to support the teaching of Art History. This activity will teach you how to make your own film, based on the same questions that we use to make our professional films with curators and art historians. These are short films (between 2-5 minutes). You can see examples on our website and you can also see examples from other students on our youtube channel . You can also download a pdf of these instructions.
Choose an object/work of art:
From a gallery website, conduct a search to find an object of your choice. It can be anything: a painting, sculpture, a ceramic, metalwork, textile, print… We’ve also compiled a list of suggested websites and resources.
Once you’ve picked your object, answer the following questions (based on the same questions that we use to make our professional films with curators and art historians). Try to use your own words rather than copying what the museum’s website says. You don’t need to answer every prompt under each main question; these are just some suggestions and not each question will relate to the object/work of art you’ve chosen:
1. Who are you? (Optional)
Introduce yourself and your interests (e.g. your favourite art or art history topic) in one sentence.
If you choose to share this on social media, you might not want to identify yourself. You do not have to introduce yourself by name.
2. What is it?
In no more than two sentences, describe the main components of the object/work of art.
Does it have a title?
Who is the artist? Or is it anonymous?
What is its medium (painting, sculpture, textile, ceramic)?
Does it have a genre (portrait, landscape)?
What time period is it from?
3. What is it made out of?
What material is it made from?
How do you think it would feel to touch or hold?
4. What does it look like?
Are there decorative elements to it? Are these associated with a particular culture or region?
What colour is it?
Is there a subject matter?
What is the scale? (How big is it?)
Where is the viewer? (Are we looking up/down at the scene?) or if it’s an object, how might the beholder engage with it?
Can you describe the composition? (How are elements arranged in the space?)
If there are figures, can you describe their poses, gestures, expressions?
5. What is its purpose/function?
Where is the object from?
Where did it end up?
Who created it and why?
For what purpose was it created? Does it still have the same function?
How was it used and by whom?
6. What is its relevance for today?
Where is it housed?
Why is it important to study?
What does it tell us about the culture who produced it or used it?
How might it be related to a current issue or debate?
Presenting your object
Once you have answered the questions, rehearse your answers: how will you put these into your own words to present to camera?
Once you feel you are ready, have a go! Try not to look at your notes but present to camera as if you were talking to someone in person. Remember, it doesn’t have to be long: about 2-5 minutes should be enough to cover all the above points.
On smart phone, make sure the camera is set horizontally, not vertically.
Once you are done, you can share it on youtube, (if you’re a minor, only if you have permission from your parents). Mention OpenArtsArchive in a comment and use the hashtag #myOAOfilm and we will add it to our playlist! If you don’t have a youtube account, you can also upload to Instagram tv (IGTV) and tag @openartsobjects and use the hashtag #myOAOfilm. Alternatively you can email your video through wetransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your permission form from your parents to share on social media.
You can watch more students’ films here