Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Project Assignment: Spirit of the Times Movie Poster

As we have read: "An episteme is an accepted, dominant mode of acquiring and organizing knowledge in a given period of history. Understanding the work of signs is an important means to identifying the episteme or dominant world view of an era. Each period of history has a different episteme--that is, a different predominant way of ordering things or of organizing and representing knowledge about things." (POL 149)

Our text discusses films such as Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera (1929), which "captured life on the streets of Russia as viewed through the eyes of this 'spinning top' [translation of the name Vertov] cinematographer," as well as examples of French Poetic Realism and Italian neorealism. These styles relied on different formal and aesthetic conventions to evoke the real. Each style of realism expressed a particular worldview that vies with other realisms and other worldviews in particular social contexts. (POL 147-149)
  • Find images of posters for at least three movies that you think carry an essence of the time in which they were made and post them on your blog. Present movie poster research in class on Monday, October 26. Be prepared to talk about how the posters' styles create expectations about the film it advertises.
  • During class on the 26th you will work in small groups to brainstorm an imaginary movie that you think embodies a dominant world view for our era. A good way to start is to make a list of things (events, trends, issues, technology, images etc.) that you think are representative of the end of the first decade of the 21st century. Then use these to fashion a film synopsis (samples abound on the web). Be democratic! These do not need to be long but should have basic information about plot, character, setting. Synopsis due on Wednesday, October 28.
  • Once you have a synopsis to work from, each one of you (individually) will design your own movie poster (11"x17") to advertise your group's proposed film. You may use collage, drawing, painting, photo, digital means or any combination. Think about how each element in your poster conveys something about your "film truth" and, by extension, the "truth" of our era. Movie posters due Monday, November 2.

For Monday 10/26: Discuss Cooley exhibition; movie poster research (on blog) & list of trends, important events, issues, etc. Group work session.

For Wednesday 10/28: Read POL pp. 151-180; movie synopsis due. Quiz on current reading only (no midterm). View "A Day on the Grand Canal with the Emperor of China."

For Monday 11/2: Movie Posters due, presentations & discussion. "On the Spot" Manifestos

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