Unlike my previous artefacts, I started my research by looking at secondary resources rather than primary ones. I decided that instead of creating something imaginative, or surreal, I would create an artefact which would study imagination itself.
As I didn’t know where to start with this project, I researched the definition of the word “imagination”. Cambridge Dictionary gives this word a few definitions, such as “the ability to form pictures in the mind”.
(Cambridge Dictionary, 2016)
Having a concrete meaning to the word, instead of just my own thoughts, allowed me to start thinking of an idea. In one of the first seminars with Clifton, he asked us who we think lead exciting lives and after no one answered, he suggested that maybe no one truly does (Stewart, 2016). I brought up children and we then discussed how they find happiness and excitement in everything. I felt that this discussion links to imagination and how children tend to have more than adults. This is what I wanted to explore. How does a person’s age affect their imagination and creativity? Matt Johnson joined me on this project and he suggested adding personality to the exploration, as it’s something that can have a massive impact on a person’s imagination.
I started researching the link between age and imagination. I was referred to an article which explained that remembering the past and imagining the future may use the same controls in our brain; imagining is closely related to remembering (Than, 2008). Similarly, Creating Minds suggests that our creativity starts declining as early as 12 years old and we only use about 2% of our potential (2004). The reason behind this is conformity, as we are made to follow rules and regulations as we grow up (Creating Minds, 2004). Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, claims that creative acts are reproductive and are linked to memory and we are “resurrecting traces of earlier impressions”(Vygotsky, 2004). All these sources are essentially saying the same thing; our imagination and creativity decline as we get older for two reasons. 1. We lose our memories, which is part of what creates imagination. 2. We become conditioned to think in a certain way as we grow up, which hinders our creativity.
Coming from a large family, with my nephews and nieces ranging from the ages of 5 months to 10 years, and my siblings ranging from 15 – 39, I really wanted to test out what I learned in my secondary research. I remembered a game that I played when I was a child, in which each person write a sentence to a story, folds the piece of paper and passes it onto the next person who does the same thing. When the story is finished, it’s read aloud for everyone to enjoy. Funnily enough, it wasn’t just a game that only I played within my family, as I found a similar description of the game online.
There’s even a website dedicated to this game online: <http://foldingstory.com/help/> (2016). I wanted to recreate this game and turn it into a video. The fact that I could find a description of this game online suggested that people would be more willing to take part because they may already know the game, or because it’s so easy to comprehend.
In the game, Matt and I wanted to give the participants complete freedom to say what they wanted. But we set to set a couple of rules:
- Don’t use vulgar language as kids would be getting involved
- Don’t sabotage the storyline completely if you’re not the last person taking part (e.g killing off all the characters)
The fact that this video was based on real life, yet we had to slightly control the participants, made me realise that our artefact would be structured reality. Structured reality is a “hybrid form that plays with dramatic construction and social interaction” (Ouellette, 2013). The book mentions TV shows like Jersey Shore and Mob Wives, but I don’t think it only has to fit in with television. The information from this book reminded me of the “Ten Metre Tower” film, which we were originally shown in lecture.
(Plattform Produktion 2016)
In the lecture, we learnt that the participants in the video were cast for the shootings, and there was a certain criteria for them to fit into in order to take part (Arrand, 2016). Ten Metre Tower was a great video to watch and I originally felt bad for planning to give the participants of my artefacts rules to follow. Watching this though, made me feel more justified for what I was doing.
I think social experiments are a form of structured reality. I came across an incredibly viral video about beauty, which can be seen below. This social experiment used close ups to show the people’s reaction when being told they are beautiful. I don’t think I will be using the same shot type, but it has made me think about keeping my shots consistent, just like in this video.
Unfortunately, YouTube social experiments are infamous for being completely fake, so I didn’t want to look at any others on this website. So I looked into Vimeo.
The video above is another social experiment, where each person talks directly to the camera. It then cuts to one of these people telling more of their story. I liked the fact that I can’t hear someone on the other side of the camera, asking each person questions or telling them what to do. This is something I want to happen in my artefact. Both of the social experiments used establishing shots at the start of the videos, in order to set the scene. However I don’t think this was necessary for my artefact, because where it was taking place didn’t matter.
Arrand, K. (2016) Berlin Film Festival Showings. [Lecture] module 360MC, 3 November 2016 Coventry: Coventry University
Cambridge Dictionary (2016) Imagination meaning in the Cambridge English dictionary. Available at: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/imagination (Accessed: 7 November 2016)
Creating Minds (2002) Age and creativity. Available at: http://creatingminds.org/articles/age.htm (Accessed: 7 November 2016)
FoldingStory (2016) Get help for your FoldingStory. Available at: http://foldingstory.com/help/ (Accessed: 10 November 2016).
Group-Games (no date) Team Story Game. Available at: http://www.group-games.com/stationary-games/team-story-game.html (Accessed: 10 November 2016).
Ouellette, L. (2013) A companion to reality television. United States: Wiley-Blackwell.
Plattform Produktion (2016) Trailer: TEN METER TOWER by Axel Danielson & Maximilien Van Aertryck. Available at: https://vimeo.com/152556458 (Accessed: 7 November 2016).
shea (2015) People react to being called beautiful. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW8BDgLpZkI (Accessed: 16 November 2016).
Smith, S.N. (2010) I Am. Available at: https://vimeo.com/11527784 (Accessed: 16 November 2016).
Stewart, C. (2016) Food Artefact Viewings. [seminar] module 360MC, 20 October 2016 Coventry: Coventry University
Than, K. (2008) Ageing makes the imagination wither. Available from: http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080104/full/news.2008.408.html (Accessed: 8 November 2016)
Vygotsky, L.S. (2004) ‘Imagination and Creativity in Childhood’, Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 42(1), pp. 7–97.