Saturday, 4 June 2016

Breaking Cinema: The Point of the Podcast



Point of view is very much at the heart of the focus of the Breaking Cinema podcast I have been developing since the beginning of 2015. It was originally its own project, but I have since incorporated it into my MTA (Masters of Transdisciplinary Application) portfolio and, after many false starts, as expressed in the 17 test episodes already recorded, I have decided on a limited-run of 10 feature length episodes which will utilise an experimental documentary storytelling format to constructively explore the subjects of film, media and psychology from a lucid and lateral, but highly entertaining and quirky perspective.

I even have a very large episode outline document written for the 10 episodes and, alongside the study component of my MTA portfolio, I am currently in the process of recording the material for these episodes.

The episode outline document.


It is called Breaking Cinema, but ‘Breaking Blindness’ would be a more accurate name for what I am really trying to achieve with it. Ignorance was a topic I explored in my BA (Hons) theoretical dissertation and ignorance in general is something which has always bothered me about human beings and the world at large. 

However, I more so have a problem with the lack of education on the subject of ignorance and how to go about identifying it and then constructively producing a positive outcome from it – this is what I am aiming to achieve with this podcast and cinema just happens to be a very good means of handling the topic. 

My own issues with ignorance are tied up with my passions of cinema – hence  the name of Breaking Cinema - and in order to thoroughly outline the mechanisms which produce ignorance, you have to unravel human psychology and confront the individual and/or collective point of view which can produce ignorance in the first place. This is the subject of Episode 1: My First Education in which I present a very personal presentation of my biases and my prejudices and how these are reflected in my preferences of cinema. 

This podcast is actually a very personal project in which my point of view plays a strong role and is heavily critiqued over the course of the 10 episodes. However, the point of overcoming ignorance is to see beyond a singular point of view, which is precisely why I am exploring and presenting other point of views as a part of the project.

Like my MTA portfolio, the podcast is very diverse in its focus of topics and it very much ties into the various concentrations of my MTA portfolio. Each episode has a different focus and format presentation, but all the episodes build on one-another and all come together to present a constructively unified exploration of how cinema and media as a whole play a very revealing, strengthening and defeating role in the human psychology of ignorance. 

The podcast draws heavily on the thinking of Marshall McLuhan, a man who was ahead of his time. I have just finished reading Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man in which McLuhan proposes that every form of human invention from the blade to the television is a form of media and that all media are extensions of the human being. In short, this is a ground-breaking work in which McLuhan puts his finger on the pulse of every technological reformation and automation we are experiencing today… and he wrote this back in the 1960s!

The podcast is very much tied up with my endorsement of Constructive Film Studies and the podcast itself is called Breaking Cinema, i.e. breaking away from cinema, so it is studying the subject of film, but starting with the spectator, not the film, and examining it from their point of view, so as to expand the scope of the discipline to include a broader psychological and subjective perspective, because it is in the psychology of human beings that we can find the underpinnings and deeper correlated complexities of the collective entity we have come to refer to as ‘cinema’. The films themselves can only tell you so much, the films plus the spectators can tell you a hell of a lot more... and this is when you start to see a bigger picture forming.


“Films are not 2D images on a screen, they are not isolated entities, they are us. They exist through us, the expand through us and they are everywhere now. They are much broader, bigger entities and if you want to study them, if you want to create them, if you want to do something with them, you can not ignore that. That’s the point of this podcast, that’s at the heart of Breaking Cinema.” 
– Me, Breaking Cinema with a Selfie Stick

Ultimately, it is about presenting an entertaining and informative presentation which will enrich and, hopefully, widen the point of view of the listener. This is precisely the reason why I am doing this project as an audio podcast, opposed to a series of YouTube video presentations, because presenting this topic - as well as the visual topic of cinema - in an audio format makes you think and visualise it in a completely different way! 

As I have discovered from the many podcasts I have listened to, it makes the brain of the listener work harder and will force them to use their own imaginings and life experiences to illustrate the presentation of the episodes. As a result of this, it will be a much more subjective and relevant exploration to the point of view of each and every listener/spectator. 

"Radio is provided with its cloak of invisibility, like any other medium. It comes to us ostensibly with person-to-person directness that is private and intimate, while in more urgent fact, it is really a subliminal echo chamber of magical power to touch remote and forgotten chords. All technological extensions of ourselves must be numb and subliminal, else we could not endure the leverage exerted upon us by such extension. Even more than telephone or telegraph, radio is that extensions of the central nervous system, that aboriginal mass medium, the vernacular tongue? The crossing of these two most intimate and potent of human technologies could not possibly have failed to provide some extraordinary new shapes for human experience.” 
- Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1966:263-4

There were a lot of loose threads left hanging in my theoretical dissertation and the first 10 episodes pick up those threads and tie them up as a collective entity, in regards to the wider concerns of my MTA portfolio. 

There is a lot of potential to do more episodes, but, for the time being, the 10 already outlined more-or-less cover what I want to cover. I am just focused on getting these 10 episode produced. 

Slowly, but surely the Breaking Cinema podcast is coming together!

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