Gotta love the link

Through the power of the link, someone I’ve never heard of riffs on the discussion this weekend about product v. process journalism from an artist’s perspective, adding this:

Think about the change from the camera in the 19th century to the projector in the 20th. The camera framed objects, alluded to three dimensions, stilled time. The projector blasted synthesis – one frame negating another and at eye blinking speed. We may think of blogging as the result of another technological frontier not unlike the camera and the projector.

A newspaper by its very nature stills time; states the fact wrapped in the eternity of print – it is a moment of truth stilled. A blog is more akin to the projector: the movement itself. Recording the changes of truth over time. Revisionist, processing, excluding and incorporating.

But what of the truth the blog seeks? In art that truth is the thing that is coming into being, it is intertwined with the perceivor.

When we discuss in blogs the movement from rumor to not rumor, when one moment’s truth collides with the next, what is the truth? Where does it end? When does it become fact?

If the truth must be corrected – wouldn’t the truth finally have to be the sum total of process AND product? Shouldn’t it be a document of changes which tells the truth about editing, as well as about the information being edited? And wouldn’t it imply information is only momentarily true. That the end of a story doesn’t have to do with truth it has to do with interest or the loss thereof?

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  • Matthew Terenzio

    Genius.

  • http://www.familygreenberg.com/index2.php Brian Greenberg

    I love the metaphor of newspaper as camera and blog as projector. It will help me explain these concepts to certain (older) members of my family – you know, the ones who still buy and read newspapers.

    One quibble: not all truth needs to be corrected. It rained this morning in New York City. That’s true now, and will be true a thousand years from now. “Current NYC weather” – the equivalent concept that does change from minute to minute and day to day, is not about truth vs. fiction. It’s just an evolving state of reality.

  • http://www.caitlinfitzsimmons.com Caitlin

    Interesting though that the camera was used primarily to record reality, while the projector’s greatest use has been as a fiction medium. I wonder if that’s coincidental or something inherent about distillation of a moment time versus capturing time passing. If the latter, it might also have implications for how blogs might differ from newspapers.

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  • Andy Freeman

    > Interesting though that the camera was used primarily to record reality

    Except that a camera does not record reality. It records point of view.

    And then there’s photoshop.

  • http://www.caitlinfitzsimmons.com Caitlin

    @Andy Freeman
    Photoshop did not exist at the time of the invention of the projector. The point was to discuss the transition from camera to projector.

    A camera records both reality AND a point of view. Of course it doesn’t record reality in its entirety; that’s impossible. But it CAN record a slice of reality.

    You can use a camera for fictional purposes too – but, as I said, it was *primarily* used as a tool to record reality. (Although the Victorians did get into some creative photographic shots of fairies).

    Whereas the main achievement of cinema has been the feature film rather than the documentary.

  • http://www.caitlinfitzsimmons.com Caitlin

    Truth might be relative but some fictions/lies are absolute.

  • Andy Freeman

    > Photoshop did not exist at the time of the invention of the projector.

    No, but creative printing techniques and staging did. Note that staging (and POV) are capable of great fiction, fiction which appears on the negative.

    Since no one views negatives, creative printing gets to do its thing before a human sees anything.

  • http://www.caitlinfitzsimmons.com Caitlin

    I’ve already acknowledged that the camera was capable of fiction – like the Victorians and those fairies. It’s beside the point. I was talking about the medium’s PRIMARY use, not its full capability.

    Whether you like it or not, I’ve little doubt that an objective, empirical study would show my thesis to be true. What I’m really interested in discussing, if anyone wants to pick up on it, is whether fleshing out the analogy in this way has any relevance for the discussion about newspapers and blogs.

  • Andy Freeman

    > I was talking about the medium’s PRIMARY use, not its full capability.

    > Whether you like it or not, I’ve little doubt that an objective, empirical study would show my thesis to be true.

    Yes, you could show that most photographs taken accurately portray what was in front of the lens when the shutter did its thing. However, that’s a long way from showing that photographs are “truth”.

    I’ve mentioned POV and staging. There’s also the fact that people choose which images to show to others. For example, a picture of a dead body might show a bullet hole, but it doesn’t show the circumstances that lead to said hole.

    The “accuracy” of pictures of Potemkin village is the lie.

  • http://www.caitlinfitzsimmons.com Caitlin

    Philosophers could spend all day arguing about the existential nature of ‘truth’. I’m not really interested.

    From the sounds of it, you probably don’t agree with the analogy made in the quoted section of the main post, that a newspaper is “a moment of truth stilled”. You would have a point. Newspapers are not always truthful. I don’t think that photography as a medium is any less truthful, and certainly not as it was practised before the invention of the projector.

    I wasn’t claiming anything quite so grand as “truth” for the photographic medium. (Though I’d argue that a body with a bullet in it does show truth, just not the whole truth). I was only pointing out that it was generally used for documentary purposes rather than constructing fiction. The non-fiction genre in general is not always truthful but it’s still not fiction.

    It made me wonder whether the legacy of the internet will be fiction or non-fiction. Rather than debating endlessly about the photography of the past, let’s talk about internet and newspapers and journalism. This was, after all, the point of the post.

    • Andy Freeman

      >I was only pointing out that it was generally used for documentary purposes rather than constructing fiction.

      Nope. The claim, as one can see above, was “Interesting though that the camera was used primarily to record reality, while the projector’s greatest use has been as a fiction medium.”

      Pictures of potemkin villages were “documentary”, but they’re a long way from reality.

      > (Though I’d argue that a body with a bullet in it does show truth, just not the whole truth).

      A picture of a body with a hole in it is almost always intended to argue “this is good” or “this is bad”, yet said picture doesn’t provide any evidence supporting that claim.

      Pictures are almost always presented in a context. They’re intended to evoke a reaction. However, said reaction and context may have nothing to do with the truth.

  • http://www.caitlinfitzsimmons.com Caitlin

    “Interesting though that the camera was used primarily to record reality, while the projector’s greatest use has been as a fiction medium.”

    That is indeed what I said. That conveys exactly the same meaning as “it [the camera] was generally used for documentary purposes rather than constructing fiction [like the projector].”

    I don’t feel that this conversation is progressing in any way. You seem to have a bee in your bonnet about the potential of the camera to create fiction, which is not in dispute, and/or the nature of reality/truth, which is a far large question.

    Also, it’s now turned into a two-way conversation on someone else’s blog, which I don’t feel is polite or constructive. If there was a wider discussion going on, I would be happy to continue, but this exchange just feels weird and pointless.

    By all means reply and have the last word, but I’m done.

  • http://bfmcmillen.com/virtuallee VirtualLee

    Wanted to apologize to all for my page disappearing. If it’s not too late, ‘Random Thoughts and the Nature of Truth is here:

    http://bfmcmillen.com/virtuallee/?p=338

    Just so you have the reference. Typical web-flux. Have enjoyed the conversation very much. So glad to see it’s a provokative article.

    Thanks.