"But as a strategy and a form, the interview–oriented film has problems of its own. ... the film–maker with intertitles, making patently clear what has been implicit all along: documentaries always were forms of re–presentation, never clear windows onto 'reality'; the film–maker was always a participant–witness and an active fabricator of meaning, a producer of cinematic discourse rather than a neautral or all–knowing reporter of the way things truely are."
(David MacDougall p.260, 1985)
MacDougall, David. "The Voice of Documentary", in Movies and Methods: Volume II, Bill Nichols ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.
Fig.1 Dana Perry and her son Evan Scott Perry, at age 3, HBO documentary "Boy Interrupted" [http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/boy–interrupted]
"Central to Michael Polanyi's thinking was the belief that creative acts (especially acts of discovery) are shot–through or charged with strong personal feelings and commitments (hence the title of his most famous work Personal Knowledge). Arguing against the then dominant position that science was somehow value–free, Michael Polanyi sought to bring into creative tension a concern with reasoned and critical interrogation with other, more 'tacit', forms of knowing.
Polanyi's argument was that the informed guesses, hunches and imaginings that are part of exploratory acts are motivated by what he describes as 'passions'. They might well be aimed at discovering 'truth', but they are not necessarily in a form that can be stated in propositional or formal terms. As Michael Polanyi (1967: 4) wrote in The Tacit Dimension, we should start from the fact that 'we can know more than we can tell'. He termed this pre–logical phase of knowing as 'tacit knowledge'. Tacit knowledge comprises a range of conceptual and sensory information and images that can be brought to bear in an attempt to make sense of something (see Hodgkin 1991). Many bits of tacit knowledge can be brought together to help form a new model or theory. This inevitably led him to explore connoisseurship and the process of discovery (rather than with the validation or refutation of theories and models – in contrast with Popper, for example)."
(Mark K. Smith 2003, infed.org)
Smith, M. K. (2003) 'Michael Polanyi and tacit knowledge', the encyclopedia of informal education, www.infed.org/thinkers/polanyi.htm.
Hodgkin, R. (1991) 'Michael Polanyi – Prophet of life, the universe and everything' Times Higher Educational Supplement, September 27, page 15.
Polanyi, Michael (1967) The Tacit Dimension, New York: Anchor Books. (108 + xi pages). Based on the 1962 Terry lectures (Yale) this book provides an overview of tacit knowledge. He looks at tacit knowing, emergence and the significance of a society of explorers.
"If the story of the Three Little Pigs broke today, how would a modern newspaper cover it? That's the concept behind a new TV ad for The Guardian, the newspaper's first major TV spot for 25 years.
The spot launches a campaign to promote the paper's 'open journalism' approach–its name for the way in which it is attempting to involve its readership in not just commenting on stories, but contributing to and even determining its news agenda. 'Open is our operating system, a way of doing things that is based on a belief in the open exchange of information, ideas and opinions and its power to bring about change,' said Alan Rusbridger, editor–in–chief of Guardian and MediaGuardian publisher Guardian News & Media. 'The campaign is designed to bring that philosophy to life for new and existing readers.'
The launch ad examines the way in which the tale of the Three Little Pigs might be covered by The Guardian today, with all the different forms of content and different channels that implies. It also seeks to get over the way in which stories develop over time as new facts come to light and the effect of social media on switching the focus of coverage and debate.
An epic two–minute version (shown above) debuted on Channel 4 last night.
Comparisons will inevitably be made with 1986's classic Points of View by BMP (indeed the Guardian itself has said that the new ad is a 'nod' to the old one. They share an endline: The Whole Picture).
But while Points of View got over its message succintly and elegantly, Three Little Pigs is less focussed, less pithy. This can be seen as a reflection of the changing nature of media–newspapers are now less about relating THE story and more about acting as a platform for multiple strands around a topic to be explored by multiple participants, including the readers themselves, in real time. But it makes for a less memorable piece of advertising storytelling.
'The aim is to reach progressive audiences and show them why they should spend time with us,' according to Andrew Miller, chief executive of the Guardian's parent company Guardian Media Group. But you have to wonder whether such progressive types would not be aware of what the Guardian is doing anyway? The ad will probably make existing Guardian readers feel better about themselves, but will its slightly daunting complexity attract many new ones?"
(Patrick Burgoyne, 1 March 2012, Creative Review)
"The conventional model of science, technology and society locates sources of violence in politics and ethics, that is, in the application of science and technology, not in scientific knowledge itself.
The fact–value dichotomy is a creation of modern, reductionist science which, while being an epistemic response to a particular set of values, claims to be independent of values. According to the received view, modern science is the discovery of the properties of nature in accordance with a 'scientific method' which generates 'objective', 'neutral', 'universal' knowledge. This view of modern science as a description of reality as it is, unprejudiced by value, can be rejected on at least four grounds.
All knowledge, including modern scientific knowledge, is built through the use of a plurality of methodologies. As Feyerabend observes:
There is no 'scientific method'; there is no single procedure, or set of rules that underlines every piece of research and guarantees that it is 'scientific' and, therefore, trustworthy. The idea of a universal and stable method that is an unchanging measure of adequacy and even the idea of a universal and stable rationality is as unrealistic as the idea of a universal and stable measuring instrument that measures any magnitude, no matter what the circumstances. Scientists revise their standards, their procedures, their criteria of rationality as they move along and perhaps entirely replace their theories and their instruments as they move along and enter new domains of research (Feyerband, 1978, p. 98).
The view that science is just a discovery of facts about nature does not get support from philosophy either. If scientific knowledge is assumed to give true, factual knowledge of 'reality as it is', then we would have to 'conclude that Newtonian theory was true until around 1900, after which it suddenly became false, while relativity and quantum theories became the truth' (Bohm, 1981, p. 4)."
(Vandana Shiva, 1990)
1). Shiva, V. (1990). 'Reductionist science as epistemological violence'. 'Science, Hegemony and Violence: A Requiem for Modernity'. A. Nandy, Oxford University Press: 314.
Paul Feyerabend, Science in a Free Society (London: New Left Books, 1978).
David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981).
"In the late 1950s major breakthroughs began to occur in the technology available to filmmakers. These occasioned what can be thought of either as something totally new under the artistic sun or merely as new ways of doing old things. What they permitted was the synchronous recording of sight and sound outside the confines of soundstages and studio back lots. Virtually anything that could be seen and heard could now be captured on sound film almost anywhere. These new technical possibilities did not dictate the uses to which they would be put, however. One of those uses was that of the Americans who called what they were doing direct cinema. Another was that of Frenchman Jean Rouch, who coined the term cinema verite (film truth) to apply to his own work."
(Jack Ellis and Betsy McLane, 2005, p.208)
Jack Ellis and Betsy McLane, A New History of Documentary Film, (2005), 208–325.
Fig.1 Albert (right) with David Maysles on the set of 'Grey Gardens' (1975).