What I am and am not doing in comparison….
I think Tess Mudge’s focus on themes of delinquency and what constitutes being inside or outside of a community are interesting and probably closely related to what I’m interested in (though in vastly different communities). Unfortunately the documentary regarding delinquency has been removed from youtube. However, the borders video addresses some common themes I might find in my own research. Similarly, Le grande velo polo clique by Jonathon Hutchinson, touches on the who’s in and who’s out, and the hierarchy and organisation of community.
In terms of documentary and narrative style and form, these two works are primarily expository. Interviews and voice-of-god narration are the primary modes of information delivery.
The animated Griefing and You is employing the poetic mode (arguably) but I’m not sure to what effect. It seems to be a long explanation of on-line ‘griefing’ that at some points trips over itself by suggesting that ‘griefing’ may simply be a good strategy. Perhaps it should have used an alternative narrative aesthetic to dive into what constitutes a code of conduct in on-line gaming, thereby also creating some draw cards to maintain the interest of the audience.
Breastfeeding by Deviani Syarifuddin explores the attitudes and habits of a community of Indonesian mothers and their babies who live in Melbourne, Victoria. It has a very “Ken Burnsian” approach in its exposition, added to by interviews. Its simplicity and thoughtfulness holds it together, though I’m not sure that the apparent conflict between societies codes of acceptance and mothers’ breastfeeding needs is dramatically revealed as well as it could be. I think this could be a symptom of trying to tackle too big an issue head on with little resource or not enough context. I’m not saying that the video is bad or poorly made, in fact it is one of the better ones, but rather that when creating a portrait of a tiny community, we should try to stay away from sweeping generalisations of society. I’m referring to the wikipedia quote that separates breastfeeding approval rates between the Western and the developing world. It seems to be trying to view a mass difference between the West and the “developing world” through the eyeglass of this small band of mothers, who in the end don’t seem to really have a problem in the first place. Conclusion: keep it relative, keep it simple, keep it personal.
At this stage I think I will be following similar themes to Borders and Le grande velo polo clique and so have found a good starting point. It seems that week 4 will probably be a central week for this project as it deals with deviance and delinquency. In terms of form, I think I have to depart from most of what was done last year and try out something completely different. I plan on trying to create a portrait of my community in which the relevant issues will reveal themselves, though not necessarily in an arbitrary/dry manner. As my research progresses I will be citing many radio documentaries which tend to take a more abstract form, and in my opinion delve further to the heart of such issues. Personally, I love radio as a documentary form and feel that it is the perfect medium for this topic. I will not stick to the purely audio medium, but will have it as a major influence. To use the phrase by Werner Herzog, I plan on presenting an “ecstatic truth” rather than an “accountants truth”.