The Concept of ‘work’ and ‘text’ provides a way to think about the possible differences between traditional film and video, and the possibilities that a K-film offers.
We decided to each take a separate approach to the question as we would like to reflect how we individually came out with our own textual understanding of how the videos are to be shot in relation to the framework that we have come up with and the actual essay question itself. By doing this, we think that our K-film project and essay will embody our individual understanding of the concept of “work” and “text”; where the “text” of something is processed differently with each person , has no constraints, multi-linear, and somewhat has intertextuality. Of course in the end we collate in manner that complements the framework that we set for our K-film. Evan and Dinie will be writing the essay while Wennie is going to create the K-film in her vision.
Traditional film and video has predominantly remained the same in both form and function for many years. We can see this in perhaps 90% of the mainstream Hollywood films that have been churned out like what it seems to be since the emergence of filmmaking. The tools that are used in process of filmmaking have evolved; given us new ways to shoot or edit the film/video. Nevertheless most of the time the end product of the portrayal of the story has almost always has a singular linear form.
Normally a traditional film will have a somewhat meaningful narrative; consist of plausible cause and effect relationships in the film. I believe that this is true for most cases with the exception of some films such as Memento, Eternal Sushine of the Spotless Mind and other films where it seems that the filmmaker almost totally disregard linearity and opt for multi/non-linear way of portraying a story/narrative. One could argue that it’s not really a narrative if there’s no linear way of telling it like how majority of people are used to. But I would argue that a story doesn’t have to be linear to be a story. Programs such as Korsakow have enabled people into making multi/non-linear films.
My understanding of Barthes concept of ‘work’ and ‘text’ are that, Works normally provide a sense or definite closure, has a linear flow to it and are definite. On the other hand, Texts are multi/non-linear, have no constraints (or an end) and refer to other texts (intertextuality). With that, one could possibly generally categorise traditional film/video as Works and K-films as texts. Although, we could possibly also see K-films as both works and texts.
Normally with traditional film and video we can see them as Works in the logic that they have a sort of closure, a linear flow to it and are definite. With a K-film we are free to explore with numerous idea combinations with SNU-ing the videos to showcase the K-film and let the user experience it in a non-linear, constrain less manner. With a traditional film, we, as viewers have no control of the flow of the film, whereas in a K-film the viewer has some form of control over the flow of the film.
Work can be seen as things that it can be seen and be “held in hand” while the text is a process of demonstration, which is held in language or possibly, understanding. “The text is experienced only in an activity of production”: the text is writable through sketching the lambent of existence and nonexistence of the chain of signifiers. So the text “cannot stop” because the process of language or understanding does not come to an end, the meaning is always suspended, something deferred or still to come by each individual. With that we could say that watching a traditional film (Work) is a hand holding experience in where the viewers are shown a narrative in the way that the filmmaker intended to do so. And that with a K-film the user has a certain level of control of the flow of the K-film.
From what I understand from Barthes’ reading, Text can be approached, experienced, in reaction to the sign of a body of work. The work closes on a signified that falls under the latitude of an understanding. In short, the work itself functions as an overall sign and it is normal that it should embody an institutional classification of it being a sign. I think that K-films practice the endless deferment of the signified body of work. The limitlessness of the signifier refers to some idea of playing – to play with the disconnections, overlappings, and deviations between signifier and signified. The work is somewhat symbolic and the text is radically symbolic, filled with symbolic nature – like language or possible permutation of outcomes, it is structured but off-centered, without a definite closure unless perhaps someone made the ending of the K-film definite. A K-film can be a totally multi/non-linear experience to a user or a totally linear one. It depends on what the creators of the K-film set out to do. Whether to let the users go wild and have random variations with each prompt or to somewhat guide them to specific direction.
As mentioned earlier, one could argue that everything we do in any form of media is eventually about handholding someone through an experience or more commonly, telling a story or narrative. When we are making a film, may it be a traditional film/video or a K-film, our goal is to build an environment that connects with the users and engages them in their own way.
I think our K-film has managed to do that pretty well by letting seemingly letting them have a freedom of choice of which video to watch next. It’s almost up to them. The only constraints are the permutations of the three video thumbnail links that are generated, the keywords used to SNU-ify the K-film and the disclaimer that we put to start the K-film due to legal reasons.
The concept of ‘work’ and ‘text’ provides a way to think about the possible differences between traditional film and video, and the possibilities that a K-film offers.
In this essay I will try to expand on the statement we as a group have chosen. As stated in our ‘group introduction’ we are each taking separate views on this statement. The concept of ‘work’ and ‘text’ definitely expands the possibilities and differentiates a K-film to that of a traditional film or video. In this essay I will go into this, as well as firstly talking about the videos I have shot for this F-film, which will then link to the next body in which I will talk about how I think these videos relate to the statement, as well as then finally comparing the difference of using these videos for a K-film compared to a traditional film.
For this final K-film, we chose the theme ‘Life is…’ we thought it was really open ended and it could work to our advantage as we could take the theme in any direction we wanted. We ended up choosing to take ‘Life is..’ into ‘Life is a crime.’ Now onto how the videos how these videos were shot for Life is a crime. I’m just going to focus, on the 20 videos I have shot, as I haven’t seen all the other 40 videos my other two group members shot. The videos I made, were all quite similar in many ways. They are all edited pretty much the same, always having a transition at the end of the video, most of them having titles throughout the videos to describing what they are seeing is a crime, and a lot of them also have soundtracks to go along with the video. As far as how they were all shot, such as composition, mis en scene, framing and lighting. There isn’t too much here that makes them all the same, but there are a few things between the 20 videos that you could recognize as a recurring theme. We have all taken our own ‘personal’ approach to the way we have shot our videos, I suppose the videos we each have shot are a lot more like ‘us’ in the way we have gone about shooting them. For eg. My style to shooting my videos, which includes lighting, mis en scene (which isn’t that important for these sketch videos) composition and framing is a lot different to that of Dinnie’s videos. However, the one thing they all have in common is the fact we tried to go for a comedic approach to our videos, as ‘crime’ is a pretty dark subject. Now I will talk about how these videos in relation to the statement of our essay.
Before I go onto talking about the possibilities that a K-film offers and how it differentiates from traditional film and video, it is imperative that I firstly talk about how the videos of our project on crime relate to our statement. Relating the videos of our K-film to ‘work’ and ‘text’ is what I will be talking about here.
Firstly let’s define ‘Work’ and ‘Text’, Taking the idea of the definition coming from ‘Barthes’ Text and Work. He says that Text is “that social space which leaves no language safe, outside, nor any subject of the enunciation in a position as judge, master, analyst, confessor, decoder” (Barthes “From Work to Text,” 1475). To simplify the meaning, “‘text’ can be seen as something that is not restricted by linearity and hierarchy, the reader can actively produce the text. It is only when the reader tries to read this text as a traditional work that is commodified and consequently becomes unreadable and/or boring.” The meaning of ‘work’ on the other hand can be seen as “it’s overall meaning is limited by genre, author, and linearity, the reader is not able to actively engage in the production of this text, thus the act of reading is an act of consumption and the work is a commodity.” Having a look at both ‘text’ and ‘work’ our videos without a doubt fall more closely under ‘work’ than it does ‘text’. Our K-film’s videos are restricted by the overall theme of ‘Life is..’ which as I stated was originally pretty broad, therefore you could argue it isn’t that restrictive. But because you need to choose what life is, we took it as ‘Life is a crime’ which automatically restricted us to make videos on acts of crime. So that explains how our videos were limited by genre, they also were limited by the author as, each of us shot 20 videos each, in which each of those 20 we all shot were limited by the way we each wanted to shoot them, ‘our own personal approach to them.’ Which leads me to linearity, there is no doubt our K-film will be quite linear due to the ‘work’ of our project. All videos are crime based, although some may be different than others, the fact that all are based on ‘crime’ makes the K-film linear, and when a user views our K-film on the internet, their ‘act of reading’ will be an act of consumption and the work will be a commodity. You could also argue that, the reader may have the ability to also be the producer of the text, under ‘text’ as they do have the ability to choose the way in which they view our K-film. By choosing what video to watch next through the interface, that’s about the all the power they have though. Now I will go into the final part of this essay, in how ‘work’ and ‘text’ provides a way to think about the possible differences between traditional film and video and that a K-film offers.
Having mentioned the videos of our K-film, and how they relate to the statement, it is now easier to understand the differences between a traditional film compared to that of a K-film. It all comes down to the ‘work’ and ‘text’ and how that differentiates the possibilities of a K-film compared to that of a traditional film. A traditional film, requires heaps of videos that in post-production need to be edited together to make one whole final cut of the film. This requires many things, such as titles being added, soundtracks etc. After it is edited that is it, there is the ‘one’ version of the film. Which in turn makes it very linear for the audience who watch it, as there is only one way to watch the film. Off course, different people may understand the film differently. A K-film however can have a concept of ‘text’ and ‘work’, In turn enabling it to either be linear or non linear if it likes. It also has many ways in which it can engage the people who watch it, letting them be consumers much like a traditional film but also as producers of the text. They can be linear, non-linear, pretty much put together however the authors of the film like. The way in which a person makes a K-film provides so many more possibilities compared to that of making a traditional film, as some of these have already been explained. It’s the aspects of ‘work’ and ‘text’ that provide a K-film with these different possibilities a traditional film cannot achieve when the author makes the film, and how the film interacts with the audience.
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