Jennifer Cahir, Helena Polley, William Ellis
KORSAKOW EXPORT LINK:
Our collaborative Korsakow film project that we have been working on for Integrated Media 01 for the past month, is titled ‘Convalescence’. Convalescence is the final stage of a four stage developmental crisis. It is defined as “the gradual recovery of health” and we have chosen this in regards to the emotional process of growing up and the disillusionment that everything is no longer the same as it once was as a child. Our film strongly evokes a feeling of nostalgia through the content of our clips as well as the grouping of our videos within each interface. This is because we have used the four step developmental process as a structure and to demonstrate the pattern through the clips.
With reference to the pattern and interface in our Korsakow i-doc, ‘Convalescence’, we wanted to combine the two elements to compliment each other. Throughout the entire film we have displayed only the playing SNU in colour whilst the thumbnails surrounding them are black and white, this is to focus the audience on the one video despite the large amount of content available in the multiple interfaces we are incorporating. In the beginning we’ve arranged a seemingly simplistic interface in the form of a Japanese poetic form Haiku, with the combination of five, seven, five, contrasted against a simple black background. This interface references the first of the four stages of pattern in which we created throughout the I-doc; these four stages are incubation, symptomatic, crisis and convalescence.
The first of these stages, incubation contains the haiku form, the broken up, short sentenced and specific syllables you observe in a haiku encompasses a representation of a younger perspective, where the world appears to be a land for opportunity and happiness, including minimalistic videos of activities, objects and emotional responses that represent young child experiences of the world.
As it progresses, depending on the videos the viewer selects, you are presented with the symptomatic stage, a neutral stage as one grows into their teenage years, the emotional patterns throughout the content that is exhibited mimics the response to confused new outlook young teenagers can begin to feel, for example the tram video represents the journey to transformation, the transition you experience as you grow into adulthood. Advancing through the documentary the pattern influences the interface, through the symptomatic stage the original haiku interface undergoes a disruption, including twelve videos in rows of four, this aims to represent that reorganization of emotion a young person experiences, things that once made you happy may no longer create the same response. This is the moment where the pattern can go two ways depending on the viewers’ selection; if you click a particular video it could transition you to the crisis stage.
The crisis stage involves complete destruction of any optimism a person once felt as they were younger including images of fire and [insert here], these evocative clips represents that devastation a person feels as they are exposed to emotional crisis in their lives. The interface limits the content to just seven clips with the middle scaled at double the size of the other clips that are positioned around it, signifying the impact this stage can have on life. This stage can either be skipped and presented as you progress, or can be directed to earlier in the film, just as emotional crisis can occur at all stages of life.
The final stage and where the SNU’s end, is convalescence, signifying the recuperation from the passage from each stage. Emphasizing the emotional maturation you experience as an adult, where life gives you opportunity to regain control and order whether it is after the crisis stage or from the symptomatic stage, it selects simplistic content that epitomizes the notion that the little things in life are the key to happiness; with clips such as the guitar, or water flowing it provokes a sense of order, proceeding into archival footage which becomes the reflection stage, tying the thematic patterns of the entire documentary, which is a nostalgic reminiscence on how we all emotionally develop through our ascent into adulthood and how upon reflection we can convalesce.
The film consists of over 60 clips of both footage we took ourselves and also a range of archival footage, which we had permission to use. Firstly with a range of footage of taking on the persona of a child, something that represents childhood or a conjuring of a feeling related to being a child, this includes images of a variety of puppies, toys, and familial relations. Amongst these ‘incubation’ clips there is a selection of clips from each stage, the transition or symptomatic stage that is neutral but yet shifts away from the carefree curiosity a child possesses is footage of transport such as the tram, or the cars and as you proceed through these videos the viewer is confronted with videos of an older dog to contrast with the playful puppies, and videos of fire. These bright flames symbolize the essence of crisis and the emotional difficulty people face at some stage in their lifetime.
The archival footage consists of multiple clips of Helena as a young child and toddler that her mother filmed as she was growing up. The footage was filmed off an old handheld camcorder that had some grainy texture and other glitches, which made it, look more archival and it meant that we did not have to edit these embellishments on to the footage. It is common in documentaries to use archival footage, which we thought using it would be an important decision to incorporate in to our film.
Bordwell and Thompson define narrative “…to be a chain of events in cause-effect relationship occurring in time and space. A narrative is what (is usually meant) by the term story” the cause-effect relationship between the viewers’ selection within the pattern infers a narrative in a sense despite the Korsakow project having no linearity or explicit narrative. The stages in themselves proscribe narrative to the film, however through the interface we attempt to deconstruct this with the pattern and SNU rating of videos, so instead of progressing linearly through each stage you can jump from one stage to another and back to the same stage. David Shields argues that narrative is ‘for dead people’, although we disagree with this statement as his definition of narrative differs slightly, his statement that “Collage is a demonstration of the many becoming one, with the one never fully resolved because of the many that continue to impinge on it” which is similar to the way this documentary is directed, although there may seem to have structure of a narrative, that you are headed in a direction, the disruption that the crisis stage causes is constantly ‘impinging’ on the rest of the content available for selection.
Demonstrating our prototype in class, we were given critical feedback from our peers to help improve our work. For our first prototype, which all the thumbnails were in colour with the intention to be colour graded black and white, also the clips were not all completed and we used some random clips to fill in the spaces. We were told:
– The idea of nostalgia was well presented.
– Someone thought that visually all the photos together didn’t represent an idea.
– The final video is good and aesthetically pleasing.
– The film needs audio and more archival footage; it would be good to play around with sounds.
– The interface is too busy and the videos are too small; the black and white should make this better, or perhaps have another interface with bigger sized videos, this should be tested with the thumbnails to see if it highlights the videos
We then took this constructive criticism to create our second prototype that we presented in class the following week. We added a new selection of clips and put them in a more formalized grouping of our developmental crisis structure to help the idea represent better. We also changed our thumbnails into black and white that looks visually impressive. The feedback we then received was:
– It looks really good
– It is a clear meaning
– It still looks cluttered, the black and white has made an improvement but it is still hard to see the videos clearly
We have then used all of this feedback to change some of you interfaces, still using the idea of our haiku structure but we changed around and explored different sizes for our clips and other slight variations with all of our feedback in mind. We feel really happy with the end result and the feedback during the process of making our prototypes for our final K-film was incredibly beneficial.
Fortunately through this process our group worked well together and formed a relaxed front in which we did not come across anything overly problematic. I think maybe the one thing that would have been problematic was the last week as this was due, as our entire group had multiple assignments also due which made it difficult to communicate properly in the final stages of finishing our film. However we have managed to work through that and using Facebook as an alternative means for communication really helped.
Our group dynamics worked extremely well throughout the process of making our Korsakow film. Will was skilled and confident at using Korsakow and all the editing aspect of the film, whilst Jenny and Helena were less confident. Jenny and Helena were to take on the writing aspects of the film and our entire group was involved in the creative aspects and also the filming portion. In terms of our film I think that visually our film looks incredible and it creates the meanings of nostalgia and the atmosphere of the developmental crisis that viewers can relate to. Working with the feedback from our prototypes was really beneficial because it gave us an idea of what our peers understood of the film and also what they did not, this gave us areas to improve on.
Overall we are pleased with the project and the team assignment, the co-operation and within the film both the aesthetic qualities and creating a meaningful depth within the content, interface and pattern that compliment each other to reveal nostalgia and the human emotional condition and as a result feel that we have conveyed a narrative without linearity in our original collaborative Korsakow film.
- Bordwell, D. Thompson, K. 2013 Film Art: An Introduction. McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y
- Shields, D. 2011 Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. Vintage, New York