Dare to fight?! Ninja; is a flash mob created by an improv group in Toronto. Unlike the typical flash mob, this one does not involve music or dancing. The set-up, think one lone ninja standing in the midst of a public space with a sign with the simple dare fight me and a foam sword placed on the ground. Once a challenger accepts a mob of ninjas attack!!
A take on the flash mob that is light hearted, fun and full of humour!
Barcode is an international interactive documentary which features 100 short films by 30 different directors in 3 different languages. Born out of an encounter between two cultural institutions Arte and The NFB, Barcode is an ambitious exercise in transmedia; it is both an interactive website, an I-phone app and a gallery installation.
Objects serve many functions which the documentary aims to explore; they allow one to communicate, move around, get entertainment and ensure survival. They are also symbols that have not only sentimental value but also cultural weight and emotional powers. The idea behind the documentary is that it is essentially a “cinematic story machine that tells you who you are, based on the material possessions you hold dear.” Deciphering everyday objects and revealing what they say about us.
Sandra Gaudenzi’s reading “The Living Documentary” suggests that a linear documentary shot with digital technology and placed on the web whilst is a digit documentary, its not an interactive one, in order to be classified as an interactive the user needs to have an agency and as a consequence the interpretation will be based on the digital system itself, everyones different. Barcode fits this definition, a multi-platformed documentary that is by no means linear in any sense, each user bound to get different results in different orders every time. This predominantly being that there are many ways in which one can go about using the program too, aside from being able to utilise it on the web and on a mobile device. What Gaudenzi would term as the ‘explorative function’ the user within Barcode decides which path to take with their interactions. The participant has the option to search for an object by typing it into a search bar or to scan its barcode via the barcode scanner which utilises either your webcam or phone camera. Upon scanning you are directed to a page which tells you what category the object falls under, presenting you with the option to select that category or another one. From there the viewer is directed to a one-minute video which falls into selected category. For instance type in “google” and you end up on market for second-hand wares where a salesman tries to pawn off his erotic videos and Jackie Chan. Scan the barcode of a book and you end up on a train witnessing everyone reading, hearing the lines from the book and the sound-effects; almost as if you’re being transported into the imaginative world the reader is experiencing.
Once the video has completed it automatically directs to an end page which has a variety of options! It gives you another film which you can go straight too, the option to see all the films, or for a random film to be shown. It also allows you to pic another object if you wish and either search or scan it re-starting the whole process. Another option is “Facts and Figures” which takes you to a page which tells you about items in the particular category you have just viewed including how man items have been scanned within the category.
Social media plays a vital part in involving the audience within the documentary, terming it what Nichols’ and Gaudenzi would refer to as “Participatory Documentary”. The page entitled “If Things Could Talk” where people have posted their own photos and captions of random objects they’ve seen in their surroundings a prime example of this. With each of these images there is the option to share them across various platforms of social media. Clicking the share button on this page navigates the participant to a page entitled “Your Story” which presents the question “Got a good story about an object?” and allows the audience to add it to the documentary through selecting an object and uploading its photo, adding a caption to tell its story. Effectively, inviting the users to collaborate with the filmmakers and build upon what already exists through addition of their own personal content. The use of social media functions within the site also allows the viewer to not only share the video they have watched, the opportunity to recommend it getting word out about the site; but also the opportunity to comment on it and have their own input. In addition to this the documentary has its own platforms of social media including its own facebook page, twitter and blog. The use of these platforms really creating a community environment surrounding the documentary.
Overall Barcode is an incredibly interesting interactive documentary which encapsulates the essence of transmedia and webdocs, in a manner that is both collaborative and categorical.
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.
Because accidental subjects are the best subjects…
In the making of this video I just really wanted to play around with reversing all the footage I took to give the illusion of moving away from even though this may not have been what was occurring in reality.
Of course after being overcast all day, the sun decides to come out right as I arrive at the cemetery to film…
In the creation of this video, I wanted to utilise the sun which was ruining the atmosphere I wanted to my advantage. By breaking the traditional rules of filming and shooting directly into the sun, I wanted to play around with flares and experiment with obscure camera angles.