Working on the Lunch Love Community webisodes, the form-follows-function rule comes up again as I get used to making these shorts for the web.
One function of this project is to attract and coalesce emerging advocates for school lunch reform. These pieces about the Berkeley experience are gifts to anyone who wants to watch and use them.
Another function of the project is to create a laboratory-like environment where we can create and test out a new container for growing them.
As I thought of using the work “container,” the image of container gardening came to me. Our container garden for these pieces — that I hope will grow and vine out across the web – sits on the wire frame of the web. For now, we are testing how these little documentaries will be noticed and used even though they are not yet connected to traditional distribution streams like broadcast, or venues like film festivals or museums or other art spaces.
The variegated forms of each of the webisodes are emerging from both an internal, dialogue I am having with myself and an ongoing external conversation I am having with my creative partners, about function, clarity and possibility.
What ideas, scenes and images to include and build upon? What elements to intentionally leave out? Is there a story that is being pointed to, indirectly, outside the frame? Or a proposition – an insight or idea – being offered to the viewer to take and extend further? These questions come up while building a piece we limit to no less than 3 minutes and no more than 7.
The process is imperfect because we have to discover what each piece wants to be — picking and choosing, drafting and revising, adding and subtracting, reducing and polishing a narrative or string of linked ideas to spark the viewer to want to explore the subject more. I’m calling this exploration “Beautiful Imperfections,” because I feel I am working with a highly unstable tension between:
1. Being an artist using digital media and…being a filmmaker.
2. Art that builds community and …art that tells the truth.
3. A creative partnership and …individual vision and control.
4. Vernacular, alive imperfect video and…professional craft.
5. What is media communication and…what is media art.
6. Creating a viewing space for insights to emerge and… having a simply clarified message to put out as a call to action.