Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dead Serious and Political

A youtube digital story, from my high school days.
The Kent State shootings, May 4th, 1970, led to protests and a national student strike, causing hundreds of campuses to close because of both violent and non-violent demonstrations. The Kent State campus remained closed for six weeks. Five days after the shootings, 100,000 people demonstrated in Washington, D.C., against the war and protesting the killing of unarmed students on a college campus.

The Jackson State College shooting occurred on Thursday/Friday May 14-15, 1970, at Jackson State College (now Jackson State University) in Jackson, Mississippi. A group of student protesters were confronted by city and state police. The police opened fire, killing two students and injuring twelve.


Anonymous said...

Norah! Incredible!
In Dead Serious and Political, you have moved story into an area that has been left behind for too long, at least here in the US -- Stories to awaken or reawaken our political natures! A wonderful new dimension is being added to storytelling thanks to people doing work like this.

That is what stories have been since there have been people to tell them. Traditionally, stories were how people spread the news, how we inspired one another; it is how the people spoke to one another from one community to the next and one generation to the next --. The old tellers spent the first part of the evening telling the news, an commenting on the state of affairs, and only the last part telling the traditional tales.

In this throw-away society with its 30 minute news cycle, we forget the news that changed our lives and made us what we are. We forget even yesterday's news! We are amnesiacs!

Then, when we are reminded of what happened last week, last year, last decade -- we get angry all over again. But that's when things happen. Otherwise we would never change. Stories can help us remember, set our blood boiling, make us determined to make things right, and ultimately bring us together.

On an artistic level -- By using both pictures and spoken story you've found a wonderful way to spread tales via the internet! Just sound over the internet isn't quite enough. But multi-media like this. Wow!

You have inspired me! - Bob Reiser

Connecting Stories said...

Glad the content resonates - Dead Serious and Political, is part of a longer story I am working on and I hope in my shorthand version (Bro Blue has an 8 minute limit) I did not distort history or my regard for people? The main thing for me was that the two guys who were allies for each other came from such different groups and they did what needed to be done - without being political
or they did what needed to be done
because the political people created a space for them to see what could be done they could be there for each other?
or they did what needed to be done
because they expressed the will of a student population, trying to do the right thing,
Dunno yet. The larger story and meaning is still percolating.

Artistically this blend of story,music and image is wicked good fun to do. And I am glad if you all are inspired to try this...learnin vernon has a youtube playlist just for LANES Maybe we LANES folk will start to share stories this way?
I wonder about this medium - which is a bit like picture book writing , in a way. Does it add or detract from the experience of story as spoken word ? The cool thing about listening to a story without looking is that our imaginations can provide better visuals than any video. Look at my video clips of live performance to see what I mean. I have Egg Girl on a podcast as well.
imho watching the Egg Girl video detracts from my ability to image/imagine the story.

So these new technologies raise artistic issues.
Is it always better to listen without visuals?
Thinking of recorded live performance here-
What if given a choice between a video
and an audio representation of a story? Often our videos are so-so in quality-
Feeling the need to say
[ooopsy , having a Luddite flare up- phew -- all better now.]

Other thoughts?
Will love to see other people try this form - debate this form - refine this form
LANES member Andrew Potter gave a workshop on this a few years back at stf.
Maybe we can get some expert advice?
all the best,

Connecting Stories said...

Dear Norah,

You ask a great question - Do the visuals detract from the story?

Normally -- In a live setting, props and costumes do detract - to me -- However, I love watching the performer use all of his gifts - face, body, tone, voices etc to actually embody the story -- There is nothing like the joy of watching a live performer

But the internet is a tricky medium. We sit with our faces just a foot or so from a small screen. When I watch stories being performed, I see a 4 inch teller do things that are meant for a stage. If I know the performer, I can imagine what I can't see. But if I don't know the performer -- The experience is less than overwhelming. It reminds me of the early days of TV when my grand parents watched a three inch high black and white Victor Borge joking around on the Ed Sullivan Show. They were thrilled. They knew Vicor Borge as a real performer. But me -- I always fell asleep.

On the other just sound on the internet is not bad. I start one of the great podcasts from Sid Lieberman and I walk around the room or close my eyes and sit down somewhere. It is like listening to a cd or a radio show. But the power of the Internet isn't being tapped.

What you did suggests a wonderful use of the internet's power. Your voice tells the story (It would have been nice to see you a few times during the performance so we know who is telling the story, but that is minor). And the visuals comment on it -- They don't illustrate what you are saying, they reflect it. It is wonderful! You use the visuals like music -- returning to motifs, building tempos. This is something that would be hard to do in a live setting -- It is perfect for the internet! I loved it!

Keep on trucking!


Connecting Stories said...

I really appreciate this discussion about digital storytelling. And I greatly appreciate Norah's work and the work of all those oral storytellers investigating and creating new forms of our art. I know I've become way to complacent over the years, having come to oral storytelling from a way out version of digital storytelling in the mid 90's and now going back and forth in various ways.

I think the key is to realize that a digital storytelling audience is not just diverse geographically through the distribution of the internet, but also diverse in terms of their approach to the combination and quality of media in a digital story. Because it is a combination or orchestration we are talking about. The storyteller has to make a shift from being an often brilliant instrumentalist, to being more of a conductor of story elements that include themselves. Less like an amazing piano player, more like Duke Ellington and his orchestra. So to address one of Norah's issues, does the orchestra detract from the piano? My opinion - not if it's done right.

One example is that of a friend of mine, Tom Banaszewski. Tom has come to STF a number of times and is a really good storyteller, elementary school teacher and technologist. But his dream was to put all of these things together. He's been involved in the Digital Storytelling movement for years and has travelled around the world teaching it to others. He's now a teacher of technology and media for a school in Singapore. He has a great blog that requires reading AND viewing of the videos. The words and the videos support each other - they are integrated - or orchestrated.


Kevin M. Brooks
...because a story is a terrible thing to waste.

Connecting Stories said...
Is where you can find Bob Reiser