Thursday, February 12, 2009

Obsessed with Complexity

1896: First public motion picture in United States at Koster & Bials Music Hall (adapted from Wikipedia)
4,000: number of television sets produced in America in 1947 (Koolhass, Mutations, pg513)
14 million: number of television sets produced in America in 1953 (Koolhass, Mutations, pg513)

The moving image or video and its inherent complexities are exponentially dominating the scene. Two weeks ago my roommate and I sat down to watch the film Rope by Alfred Hitchcock. Interrupting the movie because of his boredom my roommate said, “I wonder if this film was completely riveting and action packed in 1948 when first viewed in theaters; I bet this was a really exciting film for the time.” He could not even finish the movie; it lacked excitement, action, speed, and overall complexity. In fact, he did not finish the movie; he left and went downtown for some real action. I wonder if he is right though, were the films of the 50’s riveting for people in the 50’s? If the answer is yes, then it is fair to assume that as a society we have evolved; and now we garner for more; more action, drama, movement, speed, etc. However, I believe that many of us still find entertainment, suspense, and complexity in very simple and static things. The question is not so much which is a better means of portrayal and narrative; sculpture, painting, 2d mapping, 3d mapping, motion picture, or stills? But rather, how do you bring excitement and compel and dynamics to the format you have decided upon as a means of conveying your idea or narrative? Entertainment is non-discriminative of format. Complexity is inherent in everything. It is portraying and depicting the qualities of, that matter.

1 comment:

  1. I think the subject of complexity and it's value in today's society is very interesting. I believe that anything worthwhile has many layers that can be delved into if one so desires. I think that it is not common in today's society to expect, or value complexity. We live in a world of instant gradification. Hitchcock for instance, if we researched why his film is valuable we might find that the technology used at this time was cutting-edge. By comparing his film "rope" with other films created at this same time we could discover other layers of information that would make this movie both entertaining and thought-provoking. Complexity must be sought out!