“Although a database narrative may have no clear-cut beginning or ending, no three-act classical structure or even a coherent chain of causality, it generates a narrative field full of story elements that arouse our curiosity and desire.”

—Marsha Kinder, Director of the Labyrinth Project, “Bleeding Through Database Fictions”

Flash Mob to Felony

In terms of activism, the internet seems to be most successful at organizing flash in the pan mass demonstrations - basically political flash mobs. These mobs mesmerize a space briefly before dispersing and retreating the fond memories of the crowd that witnessed them. Until the recent protests around the globe (especially the Occupy “fill-in-the-blanks”) I feel that most political protests have been organized in this manner and, as a result, have had the same fleeting influence. 

I wonder if we (as activists and artists) are beginning to imbue the internet with more weight when it comes to issue of social and political justice, or if the powers that we are attempting to combat via the internet are recognizing the potential of online activist networks and preemptively striking before the internet can be fully realized as a tool of social and political change. 

I would argue that the low stakes activism that online networks allow is beginning to change, especially in smaller countries, as a result of the validation by law enforcement. During the riots throughout Great Britain earlier this, most of which were organized through social media, simply attempting to organize protestors online became a crime punishable with a four year prison sentence (even if no protest/riot resulted from the online call to action).  

An Extremely Tardy, but Lovingly Crafted Text Post

I hate long takes.

I should provide some context for that statement and say that I hate it when long takes are used in an attempt to lend credibility to the reality of a film. Long takes do not mimic reality, they mimic theatre. A long take is the preservation of the final performance of an extremely rehearsed and choreographed circumstance.

In Children of Men the long take is a challenge to the viewer. The director dares us to look away. It becomes an involuntary staring contest; Baudrillard’s Disneyland that attempts to distract the viewer from the constructed reality they have committed themselves to. 

I argue that the long take is ineffectual in generating a sense of realism, but it can effectively function as a tool of criticism. The film Russian Ark provides an excellent example of the long take used as critic. In this film the camera becomes the protagonist (unlike Children of Men where the camera acts as agile voyeur) and takes the viewer on a linear (literally) journey through the Hermitage and Russian history. The film uses the long take to limit our experience of the environment in order to interrogate the institutions that purport to preserve and disseminate histories. 

Presentation Blog

Click on the post title to get to the blog Patrick and I created for our presentation. Feel free to peruse and comment (I know there’s a lot we didn’t get to discuss in class).

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