Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Documentary: Mode Activity 3

This doc mode assignment consists of the exposition for my final project.  The modes I was trying most to embody were autobiographical, performative, and essayistic.  There are also moments of observational mode, and a few reflexive moments, so if the ultimate result succeeds in being essayistic, then I’ve successfully embraced the marriage of modes that Fox attributed to essayistic documentaries.

The autobiographical elements are obvious.  The content for these shots come from my real-life.  About half of them are reenactments of things I actually do on a normal basis, and the other half are me turning the camera on things that were going to happen anyway, although they inevitably happened differently with a camera rolling, if only because we had to pause to set it up and press record.

Also, I feel that because the images here become subservient to the voice-over, that the shots take on a performative mode within the context of the whole piece (this may become more apparent in the final film, where there are more whole-heartedly performative elements).  The shots of daily tasks become more about an essayistic idea being conveyed than about my particular unique experience.  At least I hope I ultimately manage that.  I’m trying to emphasize the universality of my experience, rather than the singularity of it.  The voiceover feels like the element that ultimately renders the essayistic mode dominant for this piece, though that may be a stronger thread running through the finished piece than it is through this exposition.

I did find the autobiographical mode, turning the camera on myself, to be an intensely tricky endeavor.  When I’m the one authoring the piece, and I’m also the one providing almost all of the social acting, figuring out both what I want to capture and how I’m going to provide it for myself, there is an internal conflict of interest in everything I do. With limited control over my environment anyway, to be torn between my embedded social acting -trying to manage how I am perceived - and my need to portray myself as a character - having less concern about how I am perceived than about how best to tell the story – was an exercise in extreme discomfort and awkwardness.

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