A Predator of Information

Our songs will all be silenced, but what of it? Go on singing.

The Treachery of Imaginings

18 April 2017 2:16 PM (musing)

We know that some people at some times and places have banned, for religious reasons, representational art. What about the opposite?

Someone could take the side that knowing God's creation allows us to know the mind of God and treat accurate sculpture and painting and, even more so once they exist, photography and cinema as sacramental. Perhaps they would end up with some Dogme 95 (a name now more appropriate than ever!) style restrictions on the practice of film making to ensure that what is seen is what is real.

You could have people reasonably push for edits at first, to cut out extraneous details as being better showing some aspect of the truth. Filters and fluorescence, infra-red cameras, those might all be allowed in more liberal areas.

Fictional accounts, pictures of scenes that never were, all these would be completely verboten. Music could be, beyond perhaps recitations with the pitch and rhythm of natural language accentuated.

You end up with potential for disagreements. If you want to show history, is it better to shoot scenes of life and speech as it is and painstakingly edit it together in a way that matches the narrative, or to get people to take on the roles of people they clearly aren't, do things they clearly wouldn't, say things they would never say, but produce an artifact that more truthfully reflects the history as it occurred?

You could save music, maybe, through a process like that used in Notjustmoreidlechatter, but built on any natural sounds.

Depending on where you live it might be a bad time for visual aids. A false image to convey an accurate concept like ball and stick models molecular models or diagrams of electron orbitals might be frowned upon indeed.

You could imagine both traditions branching off. The one that allows false images to convey true stories just seems to give way to ‘based on a true story-itis’. The other seems more promising. If you can throw away the narrative constraint entirely and tell whatever story you want so long as it's done in the form of a cinematic collage from found footage. Maybe you could even write ‘fiction’ of a sort so long as each phrase was copied verbatim from a nonfiction source.

2 responses

  1. Digital says:

    [...]restrictions on the practice of film making to ensure that what is seen is what is real.

    I'm moderately certain this is, or was, the case with some religions. Unfortunately, a leisurely browse through the Internet and my personal notes does not reveal anything.

  2. Azure says:

    You're probably thinking of Iran. Iran has a very strange relation with film making. It almost got banned outright after the Islamic Revolution as being a purely western practice imposed on them. Fortunately, the first supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, liked a few movies that treated what he considered Iranian themes rather than the ‘Basically 50s America in Persian’ content that had predominated before.

    The Iranian New Wave often tells fictional stories, but it tells them in a very true-to-life and documentary style. Mostly. Sometimes it gets a bit strange. One film's story is interrupted by the 'actress' saying she doesn't like that role and walking off the set. It's part of the story, though, and she's still mic'd up as she does. The camera crew follows her through her 'real life'.

    This kind of thing is common, and other films will play with the idea of film making. There have even been fictional films about real directors and actors that were documentaries about the making of films that were never made.

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