Before we began filming, we started talking about how we would edit the
film. We recognized the dangerous proclivity of filmmakers to shape the
images they record and turn the real settings they filmed into contexts
that don’t exist. So we devised a filming and editing method that
attempted not to do that. When we filmed, we recorded all of the space
in a given location and all of the immediate surrounding space to contextualize
these spaces in specific places. During the editing process, we made a
decision to stay away from decontextualized sound bites and allowed our
interviewee’s thought processes come out—so as not to misrepresent
them or to make something they said seem concrete, when in reality they
were visibly and verbally still thinking about an issue. We also made
sure to include all footage of the actual physical spaces and places,
to allow the viewer to see fully what we ourselves saw within the spaces.
Additionally, we focused on movement while we were editing and filming.
We thought it was appropriate and most accountable to have viewers experience
the frequency of our arrivals to and departures from cities, places, spaces,
and people while we were researching and filming. In addition, the feeling
of movement in the film is meant to recognize the shifting nature of communities,
individuals and organization within “infoshop culture.” As
Liz comments at the end of the film, it is as if movement and travel are
oftentimes used by many people in “infoshop culture” as an
attempt to get back a sense of place or to create a place for themselves
in the world. This idea of motion and inbetweenness as place really resounded
with us, as we crisscrossed the country on Amtrak.
In contrast to our attention to movement, we also took time to make space
for silence and stillness, as a way to create breaks in the film for small
amounts of thought to go on uninterrupted by more stimulation. The most
notable, for me, is the break after Mike from ‘Q is for Choir’
talks about the difference between the sanctioned public space of a Portland
Community Garden and the fluid public space of the garden at Liberty Hall.
The gardens back up to one another and the visual impact of the juxtaposition
is impressive. The Portland Community Garden is almost awkward in the
way it is sectioned off. But, when you turn around it is hard to tell
where Liberty Hall’s garden starts and “the lawn” begins.
Even though they have the same function, it is interesting the way that
different minds engage with similar concepts.
While I’m writing about concepts I’d like to touch on why
we decided to present our film in images that are more visibly pixilated.
It was a mistake, but it was a happy mistake that allowed Liz and me to
come to terms with a reality of filmmaking. The images we are able to
record aren’t reality—they are only a distorted reflection
of it. Even if our images can tell a credible, accountable and thoughtful
story and explore meaningful questions, we see that there still must be
an acknowledgement of the media and its effects on what is viewed and
judged. By making a decision to keep the film in its compressed form we
made a decision to keep ourselves and the audience informed of the reality
of the images we are watching. They are digitized, manipulated images.
To us, it is an interesting, and possibly more authentic, way to have
the media itself be reflexive.