To Be or Not to Be

Marie, Suzanne, John

Reflections on a Multimedia Project

Our group multimedia project sprang from Marie's inspired idea of "mis"matching audio clips and still frames from our 9 class film excerpts, in order to generate new meanings from a different contextual relationship between the visuals and the sound. Thus, we set about our task of selecting sound-bites from each film that we felt would be "rich in meaning," or that might reflect a particular theme of the film clip from which it was taken. Next, we decided to order these in a loosely "narrative" manner, so that each audio segment transitioned smoothly into the next. Finally, we added representative stills from each film, in a manner that both coincided with and added to the interpretive richness of our completed "soundtrack."

Through the realization of these steps, we discovered two important ideas regarding the productive process itself. First, we all agreed that the learning and mastery of the technologies involved is most effectively achieved through trial-and-error, hands-on experience; that is, our somewhat modest technological competence at the completion of our project had come from the commission and correction of numerous errors. Perhaps more importantly, we found that we had to consciously resist the temptation to impose a single, distinct meaning upon our finished product. The overwhelming number of narrative possibilities would have made this discriminatory process too time-consuming and unwieldy, and would have actually detracted from our original goal of creating a literacy site where each "reader" of our audiovisual text could construct (and hopefully articulate!) his/her own meaning from our completed work. Therefore, our challenge was to avoid the narrowing and structuring tendencies which we each were feeling; numerous times, we fell in to the trap of being too definitive in our storyline, and we had to remind ourselves of our original purpose. We feel this need to overcome our "singularizing" instincts may be very telling with regard to how our own respective literacies function - and more significantly, how they have been formed by education, environment, and habit.

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To Courage: The Film Intertext