Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What if everyone had a camera?

I am kino-eye, I am a mechanical eye. I, a machine, show you the world as only I can see it. Now and forever, I free myself from human immobility, I am in constant motion, I draw near, then away from objects, I crawl under, I climb onto them. I move apace with the muzzle of a galloping horse. I plunge full speed into a crowd, I outstrip running soldiers, I fall on my back, I ascend with an airplane, I plunge and soar together with plunging and soaring bodies. Now, I, a camera, fling myself along their resultant, maneuvering in the chaos of movement composed of the most complex combinations.
- Vertov 1923

What's behind the camera?
Not only is there speculation and concern about reflexivity, but there is an equal amount of curiosity about the landscape, atmosphere, and depth perception of what the lens does not capture. Think about the first time you started driving. You had little to no perception of the parameters of the car. You feared backing up and hitting the car behind you, you raised your body to see where the front bumper ended, the right side of the car was a mystery when pulling alongside a curb, and to make it worse "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear." Although there were many things you were unsure of, you had somewhat of a vague idea of the car's body. The same goes for the parameters of the camera. The audience is aware of the activity that takes place within the frame, yet they only have a vague idea of what may be behind or to the sides of the camera. The filmmaker may pan to the left or to the right, and may even do a full 360ยบ, but the environment is constantly changing as well as the expressions of the filmmaker. The Vertov quote above shows the extensive mobility a filmmaker possesses. This style of filming works to reveal as much as possible, but it does not reveal what is directly behind the camera.

Imagine being in an interview and having a camera recording you as you record the interviewee. There wouldn't be much need for reflexive methodology since the there is a camera from both cultures. This would be improbable to do with a larger group outside of 3-4 people, unless you are willing to spend the money to arm everyone with a camera. My thoughts are that it will alleviate the problems of representation and reflexivity, while fueling collaborative film. There is still a great amount to think about, but it is a start!