The “Anthropocene”

“The Anthropocene represents a new phase in the history of the Earth, when natural forces and human forces became intertwined, so that the fate of one determines the fate of the other. Geologically, this is a remarkable episode in the history of the planet.”

The concept of the “anthropocene” briefly explored in this blog post (one of our readings for week 12), projects the world as being past the stage of saving. In other words, whatever happens now, the damage has already been done. I found the short extract above particularly interesting in light of how much recent discussion there has been about this topic and about “preparing for the end of the world”. Reflecting on the concept, it’s amazing just how many television shows, movies, books and songs have weighed in or focused on the issue. There are shows about “doomsday preppers” and an incredible number of movies and books centred around dystopian worlds in which the world has ceased to exist as we know it.

Though it’s quite confronting to think about, it’s also fascinating to imagine whether any of these imaginative dystopian predictions will come to pass. I think that’s exactly why it is such a popular focus in the media today.

“True to the Spirit” – Adaptations & Textual Analysis

One of my sources for Project Brief 4 was a book titled, True to the Spirit: film adaptation and the question of fidelity, by Colin MacCabe, Kathleen Murray and Rick Warner.

The following are the notes I took that have helped me to better understand what is meant by “textual analysis”. This reading will be invaluable going forward with analysing the different adaptations of Romeo & Juliet, as I intend to incorporate these analytical tools into my work on this brief.

  • “First error: critics claim films have a duty to be faithful to a literary sourceSecond error: Critics ignore the unique language of cinema and thus do not acknowledge a filmic adaptation to be an independent cinematic work.”-p41
  • “acknowledge film adaptations as specifically cinematic, rather then viewing them simply as translations into another medium of the essence of the work”-p42
    • NOTE: Shakespeare seen as highly academic while adaptations lose the essence of this
  • Transformation that takes place between the source text and the final film. This includes changes made in the story as well as the more subtle transformations involved in the transfer to another medium…“textual information”…“diverse semiotic levels”…“adjustments that take place during shooting, and quite crucially during post-production…”-p42-43
  • “Innovative staging and composition, lighting, decor and styles of acting, and most importantly, a variety of means of conveying characters’ motivations or reactions, frequently occur in films that involve literary appropriation.”-p45
  • *Of silent films in particular* – “order of narrative incidents… early filmic adaptations frequently retell the events in strictly chronological order, converting literary back-story into the early narrative events”-p49
    • Flashbacks were introduced to film at a later date

“We Stand on the Shoulders of Giants”

According to Everything is a Remix: Part 2…

  • 74/100 films are remakes, adaptations, sequels of existing films
  • We as a society like the familiar
  • “The old into the new is Hollywood’s greatest talent”
  • Films are based on theme park rides, blogs, books and more
    • Films are also built on other films
    • Then told, retold, subverted, referenced
  • “Original” films are not really original
    • Most are genre films with standard templates
    • They also fit into sub-genres that have even more specific elements
  • Certain films reshape pop culture, but that still doesn’t make them original
    • e.g. Star Wars is very imaginative but most of the individual elements are sampled from elsewhere
  • “Creation requires influence”
    • e.g. influence from our lives and the lives of others

This short analytical film was one of our “readings” for week 11 of this course. Not only that, but it is highly relevant to the work my group is doing for our fourth project brief. Our focus is on adaptations and the concept that nothing is original changes the way we look at particular films, as well as other adaptations in other mediums. Our focus is on Romeo and Juliet, one of the most commonly adapted stories of all time. Everything is a Remix encouraged me to think about the differences between relying on an “original” as a source for the plot, characters and thematic elements of a story, as opposed to sampling specific sequences or features from a number of works for a particular purpose or effect. I think that the difference between a remix and an adaptation is that an adaptation more closely relies on its original as a template, whereas remixes tend to take more chances, experimenting with how different elements could be manipulated and to what effect.

Aristotle’s “Poetics”

In our week 8 lectorial, a brief mention was made about Aristotle’s “poetics,” recognised as the first recorded attempt at literary criticism. I wanted to find out more about this concept and so I did some research and discovered the following.

Key terms

Aesthetics: a set of principles concerned with taste and the nature and appreciation of beauty

Poetics: earliest recorded dramatic theory, study of linguistic techniques in poetry and literature

Rhetoric: the art of persuasion

Aristotle branched away from Plato’s concept of mimesis and his belief that “art is an imitation of life.” Rather, he considered the purpose of a work in its context, and its social importance.

Among other concepts, Aristotle placed a focus on:

  • The purging of emotions while watching a tragedy (known as catharsis)
  • The reversal/turning point in a plot (peripeteia)
  • The emotional appeal to an audience (pathos)
  • Extreme pride or self-confidence (hubris)

Aristotle’s Elements of Tragedy

  • Plot
  • Character
  • Thought
  • Diction
  • Melody
  • Spectacle

Essentially, the content and the form are equally important in conveying meaning and eliciting a response from an audience.


In our week 6 lectorial, we talked about the characteristics of positive collaborative experiences, reflecting back on good and bad experiences from the past and thinking about the upcoming group project brief.

My experiences:

  • Good – I collaborated with two people whom I knew were hard workers. We were able to bounce ideas off each other, which helped us to think more deeply about the topic and in turn gain a more well-rounded knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
  • Bad – I recently worked with a group of 3 others, one of whom did not contribute to or communicate with the group. This meant that the rest of the group (myself included) had to complete more than our fair share of the work.

The characteristics identified in the lectorial as making up positive collaborations are:

  • Consistency – making sure work is of a high standard and that as a group member you are reliable
  • Respect – communicate with others, especially if unable to attend a group meeting or complete a task by an agreed deadline, not wasting others’ time
  • Support – looking out for other members of the group and helping them where necessary
  • Responsibility – each person has their own tasks that others trust them to complete well and in a timely manner
  • Equitability – everyone shares the workload

Being upfront with group members is very important so that everyone knows where they stand and what they intend to get out of the assignment; this forms the groundwork for everything. It helps to map out where your group hopes to go with the project and outline practically how you will work towards this, assigning responsibilities to each group member. Key is having resolution procedures so that if anything happens, it is clear how the group will deal with the situation and proceed.

Week 5 Lectorial – ‘Successful’ Reading

In our week 5 lectorial, we spoke about successful reading as well as how to practically approach our third project brief (and some things to keep in mind).

I’m going to try to make use of the following tips to help me get through all my readings at university, and particularly the challenging ones.

  • Read the abstract first (if there is one), paying close attention, as this outlines what the reading will be about
  • Skim read the body of the text to figure out the main idea of the writing and become familiar with the writing style and structure
  • Read introduction and conclusion to clarify the overall purpose of the text
  • Think about the argument the writer is making so that things make sense as you read
  • Don’t be overwhelmed by a lot of text; look for key sentences and go for there
  • Don’t get stuck on terms you don’t know – make a note to look it up and come back to it later
  • Highlight and annotate as you go
  • When you finish reading, write a brief summary of the main ideas of the text for quick reference
    • Look for a kernel that sums up the main point of the text
    • Also evaluate the text in your mind, thinking about the strengths/limitations and the scope of the reading
  • Think about the relevance of the text for your purpose (e.g. background reading, inspiration, developing a creative or technical skill)

In terms of things to remember for project brief 3, I made the following list:

  • Release forms signed by participants
  • Original and Found Footage
    • Found footage: pre-existing footage found and appropriated in an original way that the original creator
  • Editing
    • Make use of cutaway shots – keep the audience interested
    • Voiceovers
    • Interview – filmed from multiple angles
    • Fast cuts and repetition
    • Think about putting effects on videos (e.g. colour washes to create a certain mood, sense of ageing/time to create a sense of reminiscence)
    • Play with camera focus – same thing from different angles
    • Mood music behind a person speaking – can lift what they are saying

“Blood in the Gutter”

“All of us perceive the world as a whole through the experience of our senses, yet our senses can only reveal a world that is fragmented and incomplete.”

I found the whole concept behind this reading, as well as its presentation as a comic, incredibly creative and thought-provoking. I had never thought about the associations that form subconsciously in audience’s minds when they view edited media or read comics. I’d simply thought about the stories told and the techniques I could see. I think the most interesting part about “Blood in the Gutter” was the theme that “elements omitted from a work of art are as much a part of that work as those included.” As was explained in the reading, in comics, this was the space between the frames, and in edited media it was in the cuts and in thinking about everything that was happening outside the view of the camera. This is especially important in thinking about what to show in edited media (visible), and what to imply (invisible), because both aspects play a key role in the interpretation of meaning by audiences.

Some other techniques mentioned in the reading – particularly fragmentation and rhythm – made me think about my own editing and how the consideration and incorporation of these techniques into my work could be the factor that draws a project together or gives it a particular charm. Finally, this reading taught me that the “phenomenon of observing the parts but perceiving the whole has a name; closure.”

I find the whole idea of gaining meaning from ” the gutter,” or the space between the panels to be such an incredible process. I’m excited to learn more about how specific editing choices produce certain effects, particularly through my own editing successes and failures throughout the course.