Behind the Candelabra

I watched this movie almost by accident, I had nothing to do and was procrastinating wildly when I found it on my housemate’s hard drive and gave it a play.

I belong to Gen Y. A generation that is so used to hypermedia that we refuse to pay attention for more than two minutes to anything we stumble across on the web. So naturally, I found myself skimming through the movie.

I watched this semi-non-fiction, fictional narrative, in a non-linear way. It was an interesting way to go about it. Completely different to the Korsakow project that I created and the ones we viewed. Those were not narratives, they were lists. The interface guided the user between objects on a list, whereas in the movie I guided myself between different stages of a story. It didn’t matter that they weren’t in order.

This I think would be the only way to effectively tell a story through a Korsakow project. Rather than trying to tell a narrative, take different stages in a story. It needs to be a story such as the exploration of the deterioration of a relationship, where the cause and effect aren’t necessarily the most important thing, more rather, the beginning status and the end status are important and different events that show how the protagonists got there.

I now have an idea for a Korsakow fiction project where it explores one person’s life through a diary. Each clip having a date but the viewer not having the opportunity to watch them in order, only relatively randomly. So you can explore someone’s journey not from start to finish but from random state to random state and piece together their personality gradually. I think it’s a great idea and could work fictionally or non-fictionally if you were to use a real person and a real visual diary, or to create a person and their story through fiction.

Media 1 Lecture Week 6

If you’ve only got a hammer, you see everything as a nail. 

I like this as an example. Rather, think about everything that you can do with the hammer.

It’s nice not to have your expectations being satisfied every time, not being told what to think.

Fuck Hollywood.

Listen to your ingredients

Think creatively about the limitations of your medium, what you can and can’t do, what you can and can’t make, in order to make the best thing possible.

Integrated Media Reading 4

I really agree with Bogost’s discussion about the way lists use, or don’t use, the language of literature. I think it is a refreshing break from the extensive and self-indulgent use of language in literature. Succinct and masterful use of language is necessary to form an eloquent and beautiful narrative though, to tell a story and to create the identification that was discussed in the reading. Lists are not better than traditional literature, though I’m sure they’re older and are perhaps used more commonly, but not for literary purposes.

I didn’t really understand where the Ryan reading fell into this though, as it merely explained what narrative and therefore gave us a clear idea of narrative is not. From this I am still not able to tell if lists would be classed as a narrative or not, because it contains some of those elements which Ryan proposed narratives must have, and it didn’t contain many more.

What I can take from these readings is how to write about the Korsakow readings. If I look at each clip in a project as a list, I can see how the lack of literature, or connecting language, makes these a representation and how they work together and what they do.

Reading 3 Notes Integrated Media 1

Causality, the relationship between cause and effect.

Narrative is spacial, temporal and causative. It moves between spaces, through time and has cause and effect.

Databases are not narrative, but can be formed into narrative.

The story constitutes of the lines and what’s between the lines.

The plot is only the lines. What is visibly and audibly presented to us. Including nondiegetic material.

Cause and effect take place in time.

Temporal order is easy to follow and commonplace.

Temporal duration refers to the time span that the film covers. It could be one night (Prom Night) or a lifetime (Benjamin Button).

Screen duration is the length of the film. This influences how much can be shown, how much cause and effect can occur etc.

Temporal frequency is the amount of times that we see something in a film. This can be used to show the double meaning of a scene that at the time seemed trivial.

Space does not always need to be shown, it can be imagined. Like the scene in Pulp Fiction where Christopher Walkin recounts the story of the watch to the dead soldier’s son.

Over time the ending is different to the beginning. If you look at only the beginning state of the world examined and the end state of the world examined you can see what differences arise. The narrative of the film tells us how these changes happened. This could be an interesting way to study narratives and it would be interesting to apply this to other mediums, not just film.

Patterns of development are similarities in cause and effect within narrative. For example change in knowledge, or goal plot.

Experiential film challenges conventional ideas what the movie can do and how it can do it. Perhaps to present difficult ideas or to explore the possibilities of the medium itself. This cinema may follow really unusual narrative paths.

Abstract form, experimental film-

This concentrates more on the aesthetics rather than the story. Uses music as a recurring and changing motif.

“In a film, these abstract qualities [of ordinary objects] become interesting for their own sake.”

Rhythm of editing is as important as the rhythm of individual shots.

It’s all in the editing, how the data is arranged. User interface, narrative combined.

Associational form, experimental film-

A poetic series of transitions. Drawing connections that might not be logical or obvious. Aesthetic connections or conceptual and emotional connections?

“First, the filmmaker typically groups images together in larger sets, each of which creates a distinct, unified part of the film. Each group of images can then contrast with other groups of images… Second, as in other types of form, the film uses repeated motifs to reinforce associational connections. Third, associational form strongly invites interpretation, the assigning of general meanings to the film…. The filmmaker will not necessarily give us obvious cues to the appropriate expressive qualities or con­ cepts. He or she may simply create a series of unusual and striking combinations and leave it up to us to tease out their relations.”

Principles of variation and repetition are present.

“…the power of an associational formal system: its ability to guide our emotions and to arouse our thinking simply by juxtaposing different images and sounds.”


Each frame is carefully constructed and shot individually. Kind of like the longer shots in an abstract or associational film.


“Many, perhaps most, documentaries are organized as narratives”

Alternative forms are categorical form and rhetorical form.

Categorical form organizes knowledge to make sense of the world. Sometimes scientific, most commonly and in daily life ideological associations.

Patterns of development are generally simple and this risks boring the spectator.

It can’t depend too much on repetition, the challenge is for the filmmaker to introduce variations and adjust expectations. Also can add aesthetic variation to add interest.

Rhetorical form the filmmaker presents a persuasive and explicit argument. It addresses the viewer directly and asks them to believe or to act. The subject of the film may not be scientific truth but a matter of opinion. The viewer might accept is as true because the filmmaker makes a strong case for it. The filmmaker may appeal to our emotions if fact isn’t enough. Often the film tries to get the viewer to change an act in their daily life.

Arguments from source are fact based claims from reliable sources. Subject centered arguments are based on subject.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Shapes of Stories

Having just studied narratives for my media class, I stumbled across this today and found it quite interesting in the way that it is a visual exploration of story structure and plot.


The article where I found this is here.

This could be an interesting way to visualise the complexity or style of story structure whilst planning or analysing a narrative. I have to admit that I haven’t read any of Vonnegut’s work but I really admire this anthropological concept.


Some notes on narratives from the Banston and Stafford reading:

Joesph Campbell studied the myths of different cultures and proposed that certain ambiguous archetypes were central to myth across all cultures and societies.

Vladmir Propp created eight character archetypes which he believed all characters from heroic folktales would fit into (hero, villain, donor, helper, princess, father, dispatcher, false hero), thirty-one events which move the plot. His was a very old fashioned and basic methodology, quite sexist too. Although it was the literature he studied that was sexist, not exactly the work.

Tzvetan Todorov had the idea that all stories began with an equilibrium, a peace, and then this was upset by something before returning to a different equilibrium.

Barthes‘ ideas were more complicated, he pointed out the “enigma code”, where little puzzles are set up throughout the story to prolong the ending in a pleasurable way. This isn’t always pleasurable though, and sometimes I feel like people do this unnecessarily in films just to stretch it out, or that it moves to blatantly from one puzzle to the next like a deliberate chain that almost insults the audience with its simplicity.

Syntagmatic relations– the structural order that a narrative follows

Syntagm– an element that follows another in a particular sequence

Paradigm– a class of ideas or objects

Levi-Strauss pointed out that narratives are binary, there are two conflicting sides. And I thought he only made jeans.

The stuff covering narrative was quite basic, covering sensical revelations, first/third person voice etc. I did like the point about how in short narratives, like ads, narrative can be established by certain signs, appearance of characters, setting, etc. The product will often be Propp’s ‘hero’ in this case.

Photography can use narrative in the way that the power in the photograph lies in what the viewer is lead to believe may have just happened or may be about to happen. In this way it has a story.

Cinema is time based, more being told and shown than anything.

Radio is also time based, but is quite dynamic and limited at the same time.

Institutional and industrial demands are kind of like the protocols of the internet. They are developed by the creators and users of the media, and are limited by technological advancements and also the format of the media being used.

Closed narrative ends, like a film or a novel with no sequel. Characters have a hierarchy, there are fewer characters, time and events are particular to and in the story, time is compressed, the same audience is assumed to watch from beginning to end, music and visual image is elaborate.

Open narrative continues, like television shows. Are more casual, as if it could go on forever, no end drawing nearer and no conclusions to expect or be drawn to, more characters naturalistically represented, characters are not hierarchical but come in and out of prominence as needed by the plot, characters can shift narrative role, time often is like real world time, the time makes broad references and is not particular to one period, each episode has to try and address both new and old watchers, more simple and less music, often has many storylines.

Some movies also follow an almost non-linear narrative path that echoes the non-linear narrative paths of computer use. This can be to advertise other products that the viewer could turn to in order to extend and manipulate the narrative but also in movies such as Sliding Doors where it is a tool to develop a complex story.