Reality is a Flip-Cam
Video posts coming out of the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa give us a new visual language to depict “on the ground reality,” and I suspect this language will infiltrate other media and artists’ work in the coming decade.
One hundred years ago Expressionist/Futurist painters used mechanical imagery and multiple views of objects in motion to depict reality, as Marcel Duchamp’s Nu descendant un escalier n° 2.
Based on the Mideast video imagery, and if we think of these videos as art, not reportage, here’s what Reality looks like today.
Reality is storytelling dissected into pieces – very much the way all of us experience our world. While the pieces are disconnected and may be only 30 seconds long, they make sense through a context external to the artwork. There is never a narrative first act. It is assumed the viewer knows the set-up.
In Reality, sometimes there is only a second act, such as the experience of being in a crowd of protesters. Sometimes there is only a third act, as when protesters are assaulted and killed.
Reality’s colors are saturated.
Reality’s image is not stable. The image darts and careens as the camera tries to show us what the artist wants us to notice – now bullets on the ground, now dark smoke in the sky, now a gun waving, now people walking, now cars passing. Because there is no image stabilization, you find yourself moving your eye around the screen to keep one object or person at the center of your focus so you can understand what you’re looking at.
Reality is not widescreen. Its aspect ratio is 4×3 – the aspect ratio of a cell phone screen – and sometimes it has a slow frame-rate, so you become aware of its video quality. Looking at this reality is like watching animation without in-betweens.
Reality is seen through a tiny eye, about the size of a human eye, and you can tell it is tiny because of the way it moves. Reality moves like a flip-cam. Sometimes reality is seen from hip level, or peering around corner or down from balconies.
Because life is dangerous, Reality only observes from places the artist can be safe.
(Click on each of the still images to see the new visual aesthetic for Reality.)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Leipzig is the founder and CEO of MediaU, online career acceleration. MediaU opens the doors of access for content creation, filmmaking and television. Adam, Cultural Daily’s founder and publisher, has worked with more than 10,000 creatives in film, theatre, television, music, dance, poetry, literature, performance, photography, and design. He has been a producer, distributor or supervising executive on more than 30 films that have disrupted expectations, including A Plastic Ocean, March of the Penguins, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Dead Poets Society, Titus and A Plastic Ocean. His movies have won or been nominated for 10 Academy Awards, 11 BAFTA Awards, 2 Golden Globes, 2 Emmys, 2 Directors Guild Awards, 4 Sundance Awards and 4 Independent Spirit Awards. Adam teaches at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. Adam began his career in theatre; he was the first professional dramaturg in the United States outside of New York City, and he was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Theatre Center, where he produced more than 300 plays, music, dance, and other events. Adam is CEO of Entertainment Media Partners, a company that navigates creative entrepreneurs through the Hollywood system and beyond, and a keynote speaker. Adam is the former president of National Geographic Films and senior Walt Disney Studios executive. He has also served in senior capacities at CreativeFuture, a non-profit organization that advocates for the creative community. Adam is is the author of ‘Inside Track for Independent Filmmakers ’ and co-author of the all-in-one resource for college students and emerging filmmakers 'Filmmaking in Action: Your Guide to the Skills and Craft' (Macmillan). (Photo by Jordan Ancel)
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