Secluded Cinema: DA & Contextual Essay

Concept

My DA consists of two parts.

  1. An Instagram account which posts lonely, beautiful, nostalgia-inducing film stills. As discussed in the week two lecture, sci-fi is a socially accepted way to imagine possible futures. That’s why I chose to only post stills from sci-fi films.
  1. An accompanying blog series on my personal website which discusses concepts from sci-fi films and ideas of the future which these films bring up. It’s important to note that I’m not personally trying to predict the future (as discussed in week three), I’m simply trying to discuss the predictions of others and give my thoughts on those. So far, Blade Runner 2049 is the only one which is active, though The Matrix, Looper, Ghost in the Shell, and A Quiet Place are coming up.

These parts (both together and separately) will show how the future has been predicted (or projected) within sci-fi films. As these films come from a variety of backgrounds from vastly different periods of time, I should be able to give my audience a somewhat accurate idea of what the future in 1, 5, 10, 25, or 50 years may be like. While I don’t plan on projecting these ideas myself, I think that by compiling these images with my accompanying blog, I’ll be able to consider the future (near or far).

You can watch my Beta to see the full concept behind my DA.

Methodology

To create my DA, I watched a wide variety of films set in the future and took screenshots of them using Chrome’s Screenshotter extension.

To post on secludedcinema.jpg, I formatted the images correctly (cropping any blackspace) using Canva, and posted them onto Instagram. The captions I used simply outlined the film title, year of release, and the director.

To write the blog posts, I did some additional research looking at film reviews, essays, and video essays which outline some interesting ideas about one specific film. Then, I referred back to relevant ideas from the subject materials and took some time to think about the film critically. Finally, I wrote a brief explanation of each film and brought forward some interesting concepts from the film itself. Before posting, I added a relevant quote and a few visual collages to accompany the text for visual appeal.

Note: I’ve agreed to swap some blog posts with a friend of mine so we can develop our editing skills. She’s currently looking over my final drafts for 4/5 of my film posts. For that reason, my edited posts will be live within the next few says but only the visual aspect is live at the time of submission.

Background Research

The background research for this DA varied greatly for each post. Generally speaking, I found it best to look for a mix of light-hearted reviews/op-eds and scholarly articles. I then related those ideas to concepts from the subject materials and ideas discussed on Twitter (where relevant).

I also found that the most informative pieces came from the writers who were able to speak with the creators of the film. For the films we discussed in class, a lot of resources were shared on Twitter which led me to some useful information. Additionally, video essays on YouTube became very helpful too.

Utility and Trajectory

My DA’s utility was to entertain my audience while informing them on the potential future we have ahead of us. I also aimed to highlight unique or entertaining perspectives to give my audience something more to think about.

On a personal level, I really enjoy discussing films and I hope to continue it into the future. The blog section of this DA has been really useful for me and has helped me to gain experience in film discussions. Therefore, this DA has given me a lot more experience in a sector which I’m particularly interested in, and I plan on continuing this in the future.

This DA has changed significantly from the beginning of this subject, and I feel that I truly enjoy what I’m currently working on. By reflecting upon my personal experiences and discussing things with peers, I’ve been able to iterate my project to have a more prominent focus on the blogs rather than Instagram and Tumblr. In the future, I hope to continue this project and expand the topics beyond sci-fi films.

Successes and Limitations

I found that the Instagram account was very limiting when trying to incorporate the concepts from this class. However, the blog post gave me a lot more freedom to discuss my own thoughts and relate it to external research as well as the subject materials. By toning down my time on Instagram and putting more focus into the blog, I feel that my DA was able to find more shape and address the DA Future Cultures challenge.

However, a quote from Chris from week four’s lecture stuck out in my head. He mentioned that “images of the future are among the causes of present behaviour”. This quote stood out to me and encouraged me to continue posting images, as images truly do speak a thousand words, especially within the context of Future Cultures.

Additionally, I feel that Tumblr was a weak platform without much freedom or engagement. Though my personal blog has less reach than a Tumblr page (by default), the blog is more professional and fits better in my portfolio. By pairing the blog with sceniccinema.jpg, I feel that I was able to pair bite-sized bits of information well with longer form pieces to create something which is digestible for a range of audiences. By using visuals and text, I feel that I was successfully able to address the future in 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 years time.

However, neither my blog nor the secludedcinema.jpg Instagram have received much interaction. The blog is still developing with more content to be posted soon, but the Instagram account has been relatively active without much engagement at all. I hope to focus more on these issues in the future.

So that’s my DA. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it, though I admit that it’s far from perfect. I plan on continuing this DA into the future, so I apologise for not giving you something complete. I doubt it will ever truly be complete.

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Published by daylebeazley

Writer. Editor. Student. Creative.

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