April 2014 archive

Shields’ “Reality Hunger: A Manifesto” Reflection

Shield’s collection of writings discusses the ideas around narrative and non-narrative rejects traditional ideals of story, narrative and collage. He chooses to write through a collection of numbered thoughts (each a sentence or three long) linked through key ideas. The most striking thing about Shield’s writing is its lack of traditional narrative flow or cause and effect as traditionally seen in narrative.

Shield’s main argument is that narrative and story are “predictable, tired, contrive and purposeless” (Shields 2011, p.116). It is clear that he aims to combat this through the idea of collage and mosaic, which he states are an “evolution beyond narrative” (Shields 2011, p.111). This idea of a postmodern story telling is an interesting idea, and Shield’s ideas of stories making sense through items being placed together, seemingly at random, is both a thought provoking and intriguing matter.

The main ideas surrounding Shield’s writing link incredibly closely to ideas that Korsakow also deals with. In particular, the ideas surrounding adjacent data and how to arrange this data are obviously problems, which people who create in Korsakow have to deal with. Two of the ideas I found most interesting where:
• Shield’s ideas about “picking through options and presenting a new arrangement” (Shields 2011, p.116) – I found this interesting as it proposes that you could take a linear story and rearrange it in Korsakow, and that through the use of keywords it would create a very interesting and engaging film for a user to view and navigate
• Shield’s ideas about “the problems of scale” and engaging the reader (Shields 2011, p.119) – Shields briefly touches on how to keep the viewers (or readers) attention beyond basic engagement – how they can “stay charmed, seduced and beguiled” (Shields 2011, p.119)

Shield’s writing provides a way to see how the ideas surrounding the Korsakow program can be used and applied in another form. Through the disjointed writing style arranged through the similar ideas in content, it’s almost like seeing a Korsakow film play out in text. While a challenging and bizarre reading, it provides another way to understand the Korsakow program.

Bogost/Ryan Readings

Two of this weeks readings, Bogost (2012) and Ryan (2006) are closely connected, and as such I will be discussing them together and in relation to the Korsakow program.

Bogost (2012) discusses how “lists remind us that no matter how fluidly a system may operate its members nevertheless remain utterly isolated” (p.40) and how they differ from other literary forms to create disjuncture and a lack of flow. Lists are a convenient way to store and view information, however there is not a lot of art in writing or preparing a list.

Ryan (2006) discusses how the rise in the term narrative has “diluted the meaning” of the term. She examines how narrative can now be used in fields other than film studies, including culture and technology, thus changing the meaning of narrative in its truest form. She uses the example of Abbott’s definition of narrative as the relation between story, narrative and narrative discourse, defining the terms as such;
• Story – event or sequence of events
• Narrative discourse – the textual association of story
• Narrative – A combination of story and narrative discourse
These terms allow us to understand how narrative is created and the ‘true’ definition of narrative.

The Bogost and Ryan readings create the outline for how to use Korsakow effectively. Bogost’s detailed discussion of lists ties in closely with the Korsakow program and it forces users to use lists to create the final product. It is different to other programs as it challenges the user to create something with a sense of flow and rhythm through the creation on compilation of lists. Ryan’s discussion of true narrative allows readers to fully understand what the true meaning of narrative, not its more commonly used form today.

Both of these relate closely to the Korsakow program and how we are using it this semester as they tie in closely with the ideas and challenges presented by it.

Bordwell and Thompson Reading

The Bordwell and Thompson (2013) reading for this week was incredibly long, and covered a wide range of topics. However, the idea that stood out most to me was the idea of Associated Form, which is commonly used in experimental films.

They state that “associational formal systems suggest that ideas and expressive qualities by grouping images that may not have any immediate logical connection…an association binds them together” (Bordwell and Thompson, 2013, p.363). Associated form creates associations between clips, images and ideas that may not necessarily have clear connections. They go on to discuss and demonstrate many different examples of how this has been used in experimental films such as Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi, which binds together clips with have no narrative or pictorial connections. However, upon reflection, these clips all suggest and have similar ideas behind routine, mass production and impersonal production.

The idea of associational form can be closely related to Korsakow films, as Korsakow pushes users to look beyond narrative and linear ideas to create a film. It challenges users to not use in and out key words as a way of creating a linear narrative or use and obvious cause and effect structure. This is vastly different to the mainstream way of understanding narrative and film in general as it is incredibly challenging to create a fluid linear narrative within the Korsakow program.

Associational form, as discussed by Bordwell and Thompson (2013) challenges filmmakers to look beyond traditional ways of creating narratives and creating associations. Associational form and Korsakow are closely linked as they both creators to create links between imagery and poetry that would not have been traditionally used.

Relational Media

At the start of this subject, in the first ‘unlecture’, Adrian said this subject wasn’t about digital media – that it was a “subject about relations”. I was initially intrigued by this idea, as of course this was a digital media subject – we are producing content that is going to be published on the Internet! I decided to do a little bit of research into “relational media” as I wanted to find out a little bit more about it.

When I googled the term “relational media”, it initially came up with a whole bunch of advice for people running social media accounts for businesses, not exactly what I was looking for. I eventually stumbled upon Bob Simpson’s post on the Australian Media Engagement Project’s website, published late last year.

Simpson discusses how approaching different problems in the same way every time will never work for you, how lateral thinking (or a more creative approach) will invariably be the most effective way to approach new problems. He reflects upon how if we approach new problems in the same way every time, “we will end up with a wrong solution or confusion” (Simpson, 2013).

I thought this was a really interesting way to view this subject, as approaching this subject in the same way I approach all of my other subjects it probably won’t end up very well. When working with a program such as Korsakow, which is vastly different to any other editing program I’ve used before, it is important to keep in mind the differences and harness them to make an engaging and interesting final product.

Film&TV1 Analysis and Reflection 3

Reasons why we shoot to edit include;

1. Gives us greater control over the actors performances – rather than having to reshoot a whole scene, when shooting to edit you only have to reshoot a single shot
2. It is easier to design and dress the set – each shot gets considers seperately rather than a whole shot

Nonlinear Narratives in Korsakow

A couple of weeks ago, in the Bordwell and Thompson reading, there was a discussion of associational form in terms of nonlinear and experimental narratives (p.365). For my blog this week, I decided to do a little bit of extra research into practical applications of this.

Blanquer’s 2010 research “Experimental short film: ‘WARPRINTS’” provides a practical example of nonlinear narratives and essay documentary films (Blanquer 2010, p.5). They document the process of creating ‘Warprints’, from collecting and collating the archival footage, to editing and putting the footage into a sequence which could be viewed and understood by an audience.

On reading Blanquer’s thoughts on documentary and essay film, as well the practical application of the discussion in Bordwell and Thompson, I decided that it was an excellent framework for how we should approach our final project. The discussion surrounding the sourcing, restoring and editing of archival footage was of particular interest to me, as I am really interested in using this in the final project for this semester.

Both the Blanquer and Bordwell and Thompson reading’s discuss associational form, which is obviously a idea that is very closely linked to the Korsakow program and the ideas that surround this subject.
Bordwell and Thompson discuss the different levels of associational form, from obvious groupings of a large volume of footage and the juxtaposition between them, to the slightly less obvious linking of clips.
One of the more interesting aspects from Blanquer’s writing was how they compared associational form to “the techniques of metaphor and simile used in lyrics” (Blanquer 2010, p.11). This is a really interesting way to understand associational form and how it can be applied in the Korsakow program, and particularly in relation to our final project for this semester.

Film Essay

The film I chose to write about for this essay was Traffic Light, produced in 2010, found here http://vogmae.net.au/classworks/2010/TrafficLight.html

The design of Traffic Light is incredibly simple, with each screen featuring three equal size videos across the middle third of the black screen, and no background music. These videos are still images until the mouse is hovering over them, in which the video begins to play (with the accompanying ambient sound). However as every frame is the same, the viewer often hears the sound of the next clip before they load, depending on how fast each of the clips load. Traffic Light features no title page, and simply ends with no final clip. Traffic Light is simple and straightforward, which is a change from many Korsakow films, which attempt to tell a story and use complicated layouts to do so. Traffic Light merely uses Korsakow as a program which helps to list the different ways in which people move around Melbourne, may that be by foot, tram or train.

Content and Pattern
Traffic Light shows different form of transport at different times of day. These forms of transport include trams, trains, and walking. The clips are shot from a variety of perspectives, and feature both shots where the camera is still, and where the camera moves around. Apart from the overarching theme of transport, most of the clips do not feature a particular storyline or recurring motif, however there are a few small collections of videos, which share a theme.
• Clips which feature a group of friends as they wait for and catch a train. These clips are obviously set up by the creators.
• Clips which feature people sleeping on public transport. These clips are clearly candid, as evidenced by the shaky camera work and fingers in the screen etc.
• Clips of people walking around RMIT, which are also clearly candid.
• Small close up clips of grass and dirt, in which it is revealed later in the clip that they are near tram stops.
These clips allow the viewer to consider the different ways in which they travel in their everyday lives. The heightened level of noticing, which has been discussed throughout the semester is explored through this Korsakow film. Transport, for many people is simply a way to get around, and the surroundings are not even registered as something worth noticing. Traffic Light provides a vehicle for allowing people to begin to notice their surrounding during their morning and afternoon commutes.

Traffic Light provides the viewer with a way of noticing the small moments of joy in public transport – whether that be the sun shining as you walk down the street, your friends making a joke as the train approaches, or people blissfully unaware they are fast asleep on a tram. It showcases both the joy and frustration of Melbourne’s public transport system, showing both train delays and empty carriages for just you and your friends.

The incredibly simple layout and content of Traffic Light is incredibly effective in communicating the authors intended message. Korsakow has provided them with a simple way of communicating ideas in an intriguing and powerful way.

“Intermedia Art, Lost Leaders, and Korsakow: An Interview with Matt Soar”

Renee Farar’s interview with Matt Soar, just a few weeks ago discusses his artistic processes and his work with the Korsakow program.

The most interesting aspect of this interview was the discussion surrounding the limitations of publicly broadcasting interactive documentaries. Soar discusses two ways in which they can be broadcast, those being;

  • Florian (the creator of the Korsakow program, using audience participation and laser pointers. However, this didnt work, because people didn’t use the system properly (Soar discusses people pointing them in Florians eye)
  • Letting the Korsakow film go on autoplay, which Soar found incredibly frustrating because the film took a long time between clips

Soar discusses how this is the “Achilles heel” of interactive documentaries, as they are hard to hard to broadcast to an audience of more than one person. Once there is more than one person viewing the film in a single viewing, it becomes more confused and less dynamic, because the film’s creation of meaning is solely determined through how the audience chooses to view the film.

In the first week of tutorials for this subject, we were given the opportunity to view Korsakow films made by Integrated Media students in class. As we gathered around the computers in groups of two or three, it was hard to fully understand how this could be considered an engaging way to create films, as there was more than one person’s opinions to consider when choosing which clip to play next.

I think one of my main problems with the Korsakow program is that it can’t be broadcast to more than one person at a time. As a media student, you are quite often creating products for mass audiences, may it be films, or even articles. It’s hard to reduce your audience to one person and leaving their understanding and interpretation of your film dependent on their mood at that particular moment in time.

This is something I’m going to have to remember when creating products for this subject in the future.