The Nature of a City- A Korsakow Film


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The process of creating my own interactive Korsakow film, which I have entitled “The Nature of a City”, made up of the small scale ‘sketches’ I’ve been completing throughout the semester has proved to be a great learning experience. Reading David Shields’ “Reality Hunger: a Manifesto” I became aware of the similarities between collage and interactive media. Shields’ idea that “the very nature of collage demands fragmented materials, or at least materials yanked out of context” (Shields 2011); became the foundation for what I wished to produce. My goal was to allow each video stand individually whilst still contributing to a linked collage of videos.


Looking at my seemingly random, fragmented sketch tasks I noticed two key reoccurring elements throughout my videos. One being the beauty and the naturalistic quality of nature and the other being urbanized life and man-made items. I decided rather than having a narrative based story which would be hard to control with the inability to govern viewers’ decisions, I would aim to create a cycle indicative of the progression of nature in all its beauty to its gradual destruction as man and city-life move in and take over.


To emphasize my thread of the deterioration of nature to the hands of man, I have utilized text. The text I have chosen to use, a poem by Edgar Allen Poe entitled “Forest Reverie”.  The poem in its lyrical rhapsodic nature, fit perfectly to my theme, discussing how the beauty of the natural world has been tamed and subdued by men, but truly encapsulating the splendor of nature at the same time. The other thing I loved about this text was how its construction too was collage-like, which meant I could deconstruct it placing single lines on each of the videos. Not only did this enable my videos to have a link and solidify the thread, but also each line was able to be associated directly with the video it was showing in its own context.


To achieve the cycle of progression so central to my theme the construction of my k-film was extremely crucial. I decided I would have four separate interfaces for four separate stages of the decline of the natural world into the urbanized world. I created four distinct backgrounds using Photoshop and two creative commons images, which all related to each other and had an essence of continuity. The first interface is representative of nature in its prime a bright green forest. The second interface, which shows the metaphorical dying of the natural world, uses the same forest image with a brown gradient subduing half of the image. The third interface would then show the same ‘dying’ forest but this time city buildings will have taken up half the frame, indicative of the city beginning to take over. The final interface is the same image of the city, but now it takes over the whole screen displaying the dominance of the city and city life over nature. Seeing as these backgrounds were so detailed, I decided to keep everything else within the frame very minimal and simple so to not distract from the videos themselves and overwhelm the screen. I used a very simple large legible font; bolded so it stood out and I also ensured my previews always remained the same size in the same place.


The four interfaces then became the four in and out keywords for my snu’s to make the cycle flow. The keywords linking either one step forward in the cycle or one step backward in the cycle, so eventually the viewer will arrive back at the beginning. I decided to begin with a video I entitled ‘lone flower’ in the nature interface; this video displaying the beauty of nature yet having a sad essence at the same time as it is the sole flower amongst a bush, almost foreboding the rest of the cycle. This video would then link to videos in the category “nature dying”, progressing to the next stage. I decided to make each SNU looped having infinite lives, to ensure the cycle itself was continuous and never-ending and add to the random collage-esque quality of the piece. Thus in giving each video infinite lives, I had to be careful with my out keywords to ensure that every video would eventually show up and also so that the cycle would get back to the start, back to nature and not remain in the city. This was a bit of an issue seeing as I had many more “City” videos than “Nature” ones, however, this almost played to my advantage indicative of the rarity of nature in an urban world.


Overall I believe that I have created a rather successful piece, which truly encapsulates my theme of the move from the natural to the urbanized world. I am really happy with the use of different interfaces to emphasize what section of the cycle each video belongs too, and the simplicity of the composition of my interfaces. Although I would have loved to have a slightly more structured and controlled piece, I think the random quality and the free flowing cycle effect is quite effective. It is an endless loop, just the same as the cycle of nature; despite being constantly tamed and destroyed at the hands of men to make way for cities and material possessions, nature continues to grow and bloom and provide beauty to our world.


I have learnt a lot from the completion of the task, which will not only be useful in other aspects of my life. Although learning to use Korsakow was an interesting and new experience; noticing the little things in my world and learning to find threads between random objects and scenarios, were the most important things I feel learnt from the task. The piecing together and threading of elements a key process of editing, which, will continue to help me within the media industry. It has truly challenged me to think more creatively and in a non-linear fashion.



Shields, David. “L: Collage”. Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. Vintage, 2011. ebook.


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