10/4 In-Class Assignment

• Exercise for Thursday

o The following exercise shall be led and facilitated by the three Ph.D. students.
o 45 minutes: Get into groups of 2-3. Answer the following questions:

1. What are some specific cinematic issues or techniques in the representation of reality (e.g., realism versus formalism)? Come up with a list.

2. Pick 2-3 items from that list and answer this question: How do these issues or techniques shape or condition viewers’ responses to them?

• Use the readings as a guide! Use any or all of the following as resources to think through this question. Or use things you underlined in the readings.

o Following Metz: Think about perception, the relationships between the depicted and viewers’ realities, the performance of the film as well as the performance of the viewer (while interpreting)

o Following Kracauer: Think about Lumière versus Méliès, or realism versus “the formative tendency” (aka expressionism or formalism); also, “true nature” of the medium (that is, what Kracauer considers the kinds of works that film was made for versus those that “go against the grain”)

o Following Prince: The indexical relationship between film and reality is the basis for the classical distinction between realism and formalism (expressionism), but modern technology is breaking this down; a “perceptually realistic image” structurally corresponds to a viewer’s experience of real life space; filmmakers can manipulate light, texture, and movement to construct a synthetic reality; distinction between “perceptual realism” and “thematic realism” (traditional realism in Kracauer’s sense, representation of reality)

3. Which of the items listed in #1 seem relevant to different forms of interaction design (e.g., video games, pervasive computing, CRM software, etc.)? How so?

4. How is this line of questioning “phenomenological”?

o 30 minutes: Discuss your answers and prepare as a whole class your collective answers to me about these questions. IOW: I want just one set of answers to these four questions, and that set should reflect the consensus of the class. The answers can be offered as a bullet list—no proper “report” needs to be written. Next week, I want the class to present this to me during class.

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