The program Korsakow provides an experiential and participatory platform for documentary making where the viewers are enabled to immerse themselves in the work. Even though the creator decides certain patterns, the interface design and content, the viewer has a certain degree of interactivity and power whilst viewing the piece. In order to examine and critique these aspects, I will use the 2010 Korsakow film Lego Man as an example, exploring the way it was constructed and what meaning was created.
The film opens with a situation where the three main characters, Fonzie, Summer and Seth have to leave Lego land but are then faced with the task of finding one another. The three characters seem to be the only pattern the film relies on to keep it cohesive. As outlined in the Bordwell and Thompson reading, “characters create causes and register effects” (p.78, 2013) creating a story or plot that the viewer follows however, the cause and effects presented in Lego Man are erratic and the multiple narratives are inconsistent and difficult to follow. When clicking on a Lego character at the bottom of the screen, you were shown the adventures that particular character was having and the tribulations they faced. However, often the clips seemed to be using objects and places just for the sake of it rather than developing some sort of consistent narrative. The repeated elements in the piece are through the use of the keywords which are presumably the characters names, but aside from that, there doesn’t seem to be any other relationship in regards to content between the clips. The film is constructed in a non-linear fashion and can be categorised as “temporal order” (p.80, Bordwell and Thompson, 2013) where the re-ordering of a story, flashbacks or presenting a story out of order is prevalent. Often the viewers are faced with the task of assembling the story themselves and different emphasis is placed on different scenes. Nevertheless, Lego Man presents the viewer with a difficult task of creating a narrative between the characters in the erratic scenes that are shown making it hard to establish a meaningful pattern. The immense amount of knowledge and information given to the viewer emphasises the goal of the plot, to reunite the characters in Lego Land but the viewer cant help but getting themselves lost on the way.
The interface is comprised of the large central square where the main clips are played and below, three Lego figures (either Seth, Fonzie or Summer) depending on what clips are played previously. The use of the Lego figures are very clever making it seem like a ‘choose your own adventure’ story and pertains to the patterns motioned previously between the characters. According to Aston and Gaudenzi, “the affordances of the media have made possible a two-way relationship between digital authors and their users,” (p.127, 2012) which is seen in the Lego Man interactive film. However, the confusion of the interface lies with the three thumbnails of the characters above the main square. At first I thought that these were the links for the Korsakow film but after discovering they were merely pictures, I found them unnecessary and the interface too cluttered.
There were some parts of the content, which really worked in tandem with the aim of the work and the overall piece – for the three Lego characters to be reunited. The Lego men links were especially effective, working with both interface and showing the significance of pattern within the work. Additionally, the music especially fit the piece incredibly well, making it seem like the user was on an epic adventure full of intensity and surprises but on occasion there were clips that contained diegetic sound which seemed to have no pattern or thought and were just disruptive. The creators utilised some stop motion animation in certain clips, which was incredibly effective in believing these inanimate objects were their own sentient characters not to mention enjoyable to watch. It seemed at times the repetition of clips were unnecessary and sometimes confusing. One clip had the caption “with the help of Summer’s partner, Plasticalus, Seth had faith that he would find his friends,” the introduction being confusing if you had not come across the character previously. It seemed as if there needed to be more of a linear structure for the film in order for it to be effective in achieving its aims.
The film as a whole is very exploratory and unpredictable making it exciting but daunting and frustrating at the same time. The interface of the lego pieces works brilliantly in re-affirming the patterns of content within the film however, there are aspects, which need to be more structured and clear. There is difficulty in setting up and creating a narrative but following a non-linear structure is not conducive. Nonetheless, the piece is exciting at times but Korsakow may have not been the appropriate program for the creator’s aims.
Link to Korsakow film: http://vogmae.net.au/classworks/media/2010/kfilms/legoman/
- Aston, J., Gaudenzi, S. and Ra. 2012. Interactive documentary: setting the field. Studies in Documentary Film, 6 (2), pp. 125–139.
- Bordwell, D. and Thompson, K. 2013. Film art. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill.