Documentary practice

Furnham, David (1999) Documentary practice. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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The thesis is a development of the making of the documentary tape L'Artiste. Le Fermier et Le Paysag. The central argument is to propose a way of looking at documentary based on the possibility of making and examining documentary material
which combines narrative and non-narrative techniques and on the value of comparing non-actor contributions to improvised performance processes and outcomes. The purpose of this approach is to produce an effect upon the viewer where the viewer engages in working out what is happening within an array of possible meanings contained within the audio-visual pattern. The qualitative effect is to offer the viewer pleasure, recognition and a game of intellectual inquiry and assessment. The whole activity is termed the non-linear improvised approach to documentary. It places the maker in an ethical relationship with the participants and aims to create a democratic state of affairs for the viewer.
Key areas of concern are firstly to examine the role of the participant and maker, before and during shooting. The participant develops confidence with the maker and at the time of shooting he or she is in a state of being to produce a performance which can be described as a line of energy drawn from his/her personality. Secondly, within the overall structure of the documentary attention is given to the opening, the ending and the overall patterning. Each scene produces many moments of meaning (beats) reinforcing the main theme which itself contains a cluster of meanings. Comparisons with silent cinema, the films of Jacques Tati and music hall comedians aim to illuminate the discussion.
A key consequence of the non-linear improvised approach is to consider sound and image on an equal footing combining to produce a distinct style. Sound becomes a series of elements - dialogues, atmos. tracks, music and spot effects - which all have a role in the production of beats. Voice elements can be seen as much for their intrinsic poetic qualities as for their objective statements about the social world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Research Areas: B. > Theses
A. > School of Art and Design
Item ID: 10701
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2013 10:39
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 03:07

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