Korsakow – Short Film & Critical Statement

Myself and a team of students that are undertaking Integrated Media 1 have produced a short Korsakow film, I’Object.

K film

K-film, I’Object

The film focuses on Bordwell’s concept – “It is possible to organise an entire film around colours, shapes, sizes and movements within the images”.
(Bordwell, Thompson. 2013, p11)


Here is our critical statement for our film, which is our final major essay for the specialisation subject. The piece is written by Simon Topin with contributions from myself, Ed Goldsmith and Daina Anderson.





The Korsakow project entitled ‘I, Object’, attempts to take non-linear, non-narrative based theories to their logical conclusions. To this end, we deliberately avoided trying to tell any kind of story and used six household objects; chairs, mugs, fascinators, textas, clothes and lamps, presenting each object in ten different colours across the spectrum; red, yellow, pink, green, purple, orange, blue, white, black and grey. The film is a list within a list, where everything is neatly categorised and understood. Everything is only what it seems and the disparity between the objects and the rigid order of the colour system attempts to subvert any emergent narrative or subtext within the work. This attempt at authorial invisibility speaks of “infinite possibilities in combining and making connections across a networked field of elements”, (Frankham. 2013, p138) where the seeming randomness of the objects in the list, and their adherence to a colour code means that they are in themselves meaningless – literally any object of an appropriate colour could be substituted to replace them.
Like the medieval perception of time, ‘I, Object’, runs on an infinite loop. By embracing the list form totally, the film aims to reduce itself to “sequential notations of temporal events with no meta-historical, narrative prefiguration. So, we get a glimpse of a way of processing cultural experience that does not need stories”. (Ernst. 2003, p42) However, in a 20th century obsessed with stories and comprised of individual, marketing assisted narratives, this glimpse must remain fleeting.


“Associational formal systems suggest ideas and expressive qualities by grouping images that may not have any immediate logical connection. But the very fact that the images and sounds are juxtaposed prods us to look for some connection – as association that binds them together”. (Bordwell and Thompson. 2008, p363)


The tension of list vs narrative is expressed, again literally, through the choice of soundtrack. The industrial and largely atonal electronic soundscape is intentionally aggressive and challenging, contrasting the domesticity of the objects in the film.
The grinding progression of the music accompanied by the infinite loop and eventual ‘living death’ that takes hold of the film prompts the viewer to try and forget themselves, to become one with the never-ending progression of objects, to be absorbed self-consciously into an “institutional matrix represented in time”. (Frankham. 2013, p139)




The pattern moves through a sequential progression of colours. Starting as a solid block, six different objects sit next to the previously selected object of their triggering colour.


A gradual decay in the lifespan of the individual films comprising ‘I, Object’, alters the Korsakow viewing space until the form becomes repeating and static. By observing this, it would be easy to infer metaphors about the de-humanising narratives of consumer capitalism, planned obsolescence and the commodification of spaces, but this was not an intention of the film. Closer to the mark, the film is a kind of parody, expressing doubts about what Bogost calls, “the jarring staccato of real being”, (Bogost. 2012) that assumes “real being”, whatever it is, has no organising principle and therefore narrative. In other words, we dispute that any notion of story is itself a false and ‘human’ construction. Were humans to suddenly evaporate from the planet, cause and effect would still occur, whether we are there to observe it or not, so to this end, this film is a self-conscious attempt at falsehood, acknowledging the inevitable attempts of the viewer to create meaning, while disavowing any interpretation that goes beyond the colours of the banal objects. This is highlighted through the close up shots that “isolate the objects from their everyday context in such a way that their abstract qualities come forward”. (Bordwell and Thompson. 2013, p12)




There is a limited amount to be said about the Korsakow interface that hasn’t been somehow addressed in the ‘Pattern’ and ‘Content’ sections. An initial test suggested that users are encouraged to follow each separate object through its ten different colour iterations. Thematically, this is encouraging and supports Frankham’s claim that, relationships are formed through “conceptual alignment, emotional impact, visual similarities and territories of gesture”. (Frankham. 2013, p138)
We selected the decay rate of the videos based on what we judged to be their aesthetic value. Pens and fascinators, being the most interesting, are infinite, lamps have two lives and mugs, chairs and clothes have one life each. This will create a degree of controlled randomisation in the way that the interface is expressed. Unless the viewer follows exact paths, the interface layouts will be inconsistent – in line with our intentions. One potential drawback of the film is its replay value, and may not prompt the participant to explore the work to its end, yet this in itself may not be a problem, as the film can be started or finished at essentially any point.




Our film is very high concept and deliberately conforms to the machine-logic of modern media studies. That is, the logic of fetishized transhumanism that eschews narrative and expects that in a computerised age, humans must by necessity now resemble machines internally – as silicon based Monads – impersonal, democratised nodes of existence. ‘I, Object’ attempts to convey the aggravating nihilism of this approach, while simultaneously acknowledging the beauty in pure aesthetics.


However, ‘I, Object’, remains aware of the impossibility of removing completely either the viewer or the author from the equation, and expresses this through the juxtaposition of harsh electronic noise and boring household items. ‘I, Object’s’ passive rigidity goes against both notions of randomness and narrative, (a story in itself?) yet retains the potential to tell whatever story the viewer desires. Our cataloguing of images “help to describe part of external reality”, (Bogust. 2012, p42) although what reality this is exactly, remains unspecified.


Ultimately, in spite of our attempts to subvert narrative and meaning, “if the film’s formal organisation has been created with care, the similarities and differences will not be random. There will be some underlying principle that runs through the film”. (Bordwell and Thompson. 2013, p12)


1100 Words




Bogost, Ian. (2012) ‘Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to Be a Thing’. Minneapolis: University Press of Minnesota. Print.

Bordwell, David, and Kristin Thompson.(2013)‘Film Art: An Introduction’. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill.

Ernst, Wolfgang ;Méchoulan, Éric (Editor) ; Cisneros, James (Guesteditor) ; Garneau, Michèle (Guesteditor) (2003) ‘Telling versus Counting? A Media-Archaelogical Point of View’, Intermédialités, pp.31-44

Frankham, Bettina Louise. (2013) ‘Complexity, Flux and Webs of Connection. A Poetic Approach to Documentary : Discomfort of Form, Rhetorical Strategies and Aesthetic Experience’. PhD Dissertation, University of Technology Sydney.



K-film Major Project Minutes – ‘I, Object’

Since developing our major K-film group in week eight, we met weekly to discuss the project. Minutes were documented in order to set weekly goals, to document our discussions as well as record our progress.

Below are the minutes that Simon, Edward, Daina and I took over the weeks 9 -12.


Minutes – weeks 9 – 12

Date: 15 May 2014

Week: 10



Daina, Simon, Kim, Edward




Discussion Points

  • Simon spoke of the structure of the K-film prototype and what he invasions to do for our major film.
  • Simon also redefined the concept for the major project and told that the use of consumer products within the film also underlines.
  • Daina noted that she filmed her category in portrait and we discussed that it would be best to do it all in landscape.


We chose 2 of the objects (categories) each to film:

  • Diana – textures/ pens, clothes
  • Kim – lamps and chairs
  • Edward – flowers and mugs


Note that:

  • Shot technique is to remain the same for each category e.g. tracking shot, panning etc…
  • Images to be close ups so that we can see the colour better.
  • To have all of the films done by Wednesday.
  • To think of title
  • Potential readings as suggested by Hana; Bogust, list, telling is counting, Patena Franklin. Associative form.
  • Due 6 June.
  • To upload material to media server, don’t need to use vimeo. Folder name? Simon to post details.


Colour spectrum

  • red
  • yellow
  • green
  • purple
  • orange
  • blue
  • pink
  • grey
  • white
  • black


Date: 22 May 2014

Week: 11



Simon, Edward



Kim and Daina


Discussion Points

  • Diana, Kim and Edward to  conduct research and upload to Google drive doc (as Kim has created). Note that Kim has already done some research on the Bordwell and Thompson reading (abstract and associative form) and the Bettina Frankham reading.
  • Group to conduct other research on some of the other readings we have gone through over the course.
  • Simon has started compiling project in Korsakof.
  • Kim and Edward missing two videos (due to trouble obtaining colours) and will upload to the drive by Monday.


Date: 29 May 2014

Week: 12 (final week)



Kim and Daina



Simon, Edward


Discussion Points

  • Research from Diana, Kim and Edward can be found on Google dive under ‘research document’
  • Kim will compile minutes and additional documents to gain the extra 5% for assessment
  • Simon to compile essay from research notes and place on drive for group’s viewing once completed
  • Group to meet prior to Thursday to finish up loose end of project



Analysis/ Reflection 6 ‘Premier shortcuts’

There are various keyboard shortcuts that can be utilized for your efficiency in Adobe Premier. Here are some that I have sourced that should come in handy when I am editing:

Apply Video Transition – Cmd+D (Mac OS)

Apply Audio Transition – Shift+Cmd+D


However, the most useful tips I have found in my practice so far is the shortcut of marking in and out, as below:

Mark in – I

Mark Out – O

Analysis/ Reflection 6 ‘Blood Simple’

Certain audio and visual editing techniques are notable in the excerpt of Blood Simple (1984, Coen Brothers, USA). The audio is cut over the video with the editing technique called a ‘J cut’. This is done to show the actor’s reactions when another actor is talking.

In the sound-scape you can hear mosquitoes buzzing as well as a humming sound found within the room. Additionally, certain items are of a focal sound – drawing attention to the central characters and props such as an envelope. This allows for effective continuity within the sequence of scenes.

Analysis/ refection 6 – ‘shooting on the day’

Guest lecturer, Sandra spoke to the Film-TV 1 students about the production of our short films as well as some strategies for the shoot day or in Sandra’s words “Learning how to be smart as soon as possible to get things done on the day of shooting”. Sandra provided the room with some insights into how to direct actors. Sandra told that when directing actors it is important not to hurt their confidence or to offend their acting abilities. Sandra spoke about how it’s often not the actor’s technique that is wrong, it is just that the actor and the director have different expectations of what they want from a scene or character. Sandra told a handy hint – to word things so that actors think that they came up with the idea. Sandra also advised not to get too bogged down in the actor’s technique

Analysis/ Reflection – Blow Up

In Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film, ‘Blow Up’, the director would have had to coordinate the extensive movement and blocking of the actors within the set in conjunction with the camera movement, focus and framing as well as considering what it suggests to the audience. The most striking shot when considers the director’s abilities within the excerpt shown, was when the male actor lunged for the telephone. Extensive coordination and planning between the actor and the cameraperson would have had to be done.  The camera almost foreshadows the actor’s movement – with the camera quickly dashing across screen before the man lunges for the phone. Additionally, in the shot prior, the camera frames the male actor on the couch and shows the other seat before the female actor moves to sit next the male. The suggestive camerawork along with the actor’s movements implies that the process has been arranged by the director to imply such things. Another striking scene, that shows much expertise is when the female actor moves back and forth across the set. The camera pans with her movement however it gains focus on the male then back to the female whilst zooming in and out. I must say that the coordination of movement with the actors within the set along with the thorough camera technique is highly impressive on Antonino part.

Analysis/ Reflection Five – Points from Readings

The director and the actor. In Mackendrick, A. On film-making : an introduction to the craft of the director, (p. 179-194). London : Faber and Faber, 2004.

The author speaks of the controversial issue in the film industry on how much the actor should know of the director’s intent and technique. The author notes that as a general rule “The director is an interpretive artist and is often called upon (by the actor, no less) to be critical and self consciously analytical in his approach, full of verbal explanations and deep rooted thought” (179). Interestingly, the author speaks of the argument based around the actor’s awareness of the director’s intent and the actor loosing some of his/ her original thought, creatively and acting abilities because of this awareness.  I do believe that an actor has the right to have some insight into the director’s vision, however I also believe that the actor should focus on their acting and not be overly concerned with director’s focus. This is notable in many roles in the production process; for instance, the sound guy should not be too concerned with what the camera man is doing to a certain extent.


Developing a crew. In Rabiger, M. Directing : film techniques and aesthetics, (p. 385-400). 3rd ed. Boston : Focal Press, 2003.

I stumbled across this article when perusing for something completely different, however it provided insight into what some of our roles and responsibilities may be on the day of shooting. The article spoke of the importance of allocating crew members responsibilities as to the functionality of shooting. Additionally, the article advised that the PM and 1AD should manage queries before the director does to allow the director to focus entirely on the craftsmanship of the shot. This makes perfect sense however, I was unaware of some of the predetermined responsibilities for various crew members. For example, my role within my crew is 1AD and the article notes that I will be speaking with actors when the director is busy as a means on contingency.

Analysis/ reflection five – Lighting Lecture

In our week seven lecture on lighting, Robin provided the class with a run down on how to apply lighting as well as useful information on the lighting environment in relation to filming. An important note that I took away from the lecture was to know your lighting environment. This could include knowing the transit of the sun in relation to the shoot location as well as being aware of the lighting situation that the location entails. Robin also advised for us to “choose the relationship between the lighting situation and the subject”. Although applying lighting can give us some control over how the subject may appear, we also have the ability to select where to place the subject in comparison to the natural light. This also brings us back to Robin’s initial point – know the lighting situation at the shoot location.


After considering the information Robin provided, our group mapped out the transit of the sun at our location and came up with an assumption of when the sun would be at its strongest and where it would appear. This also provided us with an idea of what lighting complications may occur. From there, we arranged our shot schedule to avoid some of the difficulties we envisioned and also chose our lighting equipment around the lighting situation and affect of the sun’s transit on our shoot location and time frame.

Analysis/ reflection 4 – filming Lenny

Filming the Lenny in such a short time frame proved to be quite challenging. Although we took correct preparations in scouting a nearby location, sourcing actors, blocking and discussing shooting ideas, the filming didn’t seem to run as fluidly as we would of liked. However, it allowed us to become familiar with equipment and the overall production process. A problem that we came across on the day was that the memory card was full when we went to shoot. This meant that I spent ten minutes deleting files, which lowered our already minimal filming time. In future I will definitely check that there is space on the memory card. Another thing that I found interesting on the day was applying the ‘shoot to edit’ technique. Although our time was quite limited, our team experimented with various shots, locations, sound techniques etc.… which proved worthy when we came to the editing process.

To watch how Lenny turned out, click here.


Analysis/ reflection four – lighting

Robin’s week six lecture on lighting was technically informative as well as brought to light (no pun intended) things to consider when selecting and creating the lighting environment for our films. I found that a lot of the points Robin made were generally about applying your common sense – which was one of the main points that I took from the lecture.

One of the topics that also involves ‘applying your common sense’ was about knowing the transit of the sun (note: rises in the East and sets in the West and t curves northerly in winter in the Southern Hemisphere). Knowing the suns transit and the direction of our location allows us to predetermine the lighting situation at out filming location e.g. where the sun will be at 4:00pm. On that note, the suns positing also brings to mind continuity within the film – being one of the reasons why we light.

Interestingly, Robin spoke of how digital technology gives us the advantage to experiment and test lighting at our location before we go to production. In doing so, we should be able to decipher what lighting may assist us in achieving our desired result or perspective as well as preparing us for the lighting obstacles we may need to prepare for. The test may reveal that the location is strongly back light and that we may need boards to block light on the day.