Micro-Narratives: An Interdisciplinary Project on Video Experiments
The presentation examines a 13-week video laboratory series I have conducted for 4 years, to plough through the theoretical issues that have formed and evolved from this pedagogic experiment. Grounded in interdisciplinary research and education, I have used the term “micro-narratives” to characterize the general direction I take, which works on two levels. I step back from issues of representation and the avant-garde imperative for medium-specificity and, instead, beg for creative moments to be always situated in the crossroads of different art forms, thus engaging in critical dialogues with history. A revisit of the highly fluid early cinema works brings back many lost possibilities. Serialism in music highlighted the constructed quality and openness of narrative in extreme states. On another level, after Gilles Deleuze and Raul Ruiz, the moving image generates new forms of human consciousness. Deleuze focuses on cinema’s ability to create new experiences of time and space (time as space and space as time). His concern is not the referential value of cinema, nor the level of events and human actions, but affective vectors and forms and flow of energies that the materiality of the moving image embodies. As for Ruiz, the rejection of American cinema’s “Central Conflict Theory” is morally motivated and morally persuasive. His critique is on how the clarity-obsessed, Central Conflict-oriented narrative endorses a simplistic world view and cultivates an attitude of mind that rejects the complexity of human existence. Whereas Deleuze calls our attention to the fine, micro-level components that form an image discourse, Ruiz picks up structuration in story-telling to link up narrativity and consciousness. The use of Deleuze generates a workable deconstructionist scheme for the video artist. Ruiz brings us one step closer to analytic philosopher Cora Diamond’s position that arts can enlarge our moral imagination. The agenda of micro-narratives challenges the artist to anticipate in broadening the viewers’ imagination and their moral sensibility by providing visual and audio descriptions. This presentation will be accompanied by excerpts of video experiments created in the workshop series, which also illustrates how artistic activities open up the hidden-ness of the life world, drawing out what is embedded as well as what is potential.
Keywords: Interdisciplinarity, Video Experiments, Time and Space, Narratives
Dr. Linda C.H. Lai
Assistant Professor, School of Creative Media, The City University of Hong Kong