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The murky business of recorded memories: Context, framing and working with autobiographical material Stefan Schutt
what i will touch on today <ul><li>background: the  small histories  project & narrative ordering </li></ul><ul><li>contex...
what is  small histories ? <ul><li>work-in-progress website and PhD project </li></ul><ul><li>designed for people to creat...
how does it work? <ul><li>you log in </li></ul><ul><li>you upload items (text, audio, images, video etc) into a repository...
how does it work? <ul><li>you begin to create a story: </li></ul>
how does it work? <ul><li>you choose and order the items to be included in your story </li></ul>
how does it work? <ul><li>you choose a presentation style: </li></ul>
how does it work? <ul><li>your story appears on the web, and is fully editable by you: </li></ul>
principle of sequential ordering <ul><li>allow people to build  narratives that “create meaning by the principle of sequen...
nodes and roads  <ul><ul><li>for  consumers of stories , a narrative is a path taken through a series of nodes within a ne...
more roads and nodes….   The important thing is the creation of the  links between the nodes  How you see the node (or pho...
context and framing <ul><li>context: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>'an objectivist appeal to an allegedly pre-existing set of hist...
context and framing: context <ul><li>autobiographies are unreliable forms of truth </li></ul><ul><li>Lejeune: ‘autobiograp...
context and framing: context Photos from those years have a different intensity; it's not because they record a lost world...
context and framing: context <ul><li>tacit (unstated) and explicit contexts? </li></ul><ul><li>many contexts hidden in the...
context and framing: context <ul><li>digital technology: potential for new forms of visual juxtaposition </li></ul><ul><ul...
context and framing: context
context and framing: framing <ul><li>Framing (media studies): </li></ul><ul><li>'an acknowledged active intervention on th...
context and framing: framing <ul><li>Framing (social theory): </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Frames are principles of selection, emph...
context and framing: framing <ul><li>Framing (media studies): </li></ul><ul><li>‘ to frame is to select some aspects of a ...
context and framing: framing <ul><li>‘ framing’ has a particular resonance when applied to images </li></ul>
context and framing: framing
context and framing: framing ‘ ...after my first researches I started to see these photographs with a different eye. My gr...
context and framing:  conclusion-in-progress <ul><li>The following all occur within a framework of intention, unconscious ...
the end. [email_address] www.smallhistories.com
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The murky business of recorded memories: context, framing and working with autobiographical material

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Presentation by Stefan Schutt at Narrative Network Australia Conference: Losing the Plot (July 2010). Covers specific aspects of investigation related to the Small Histories PhD project.

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Transcript of "The murky business of recorded memories: context, framing and working with autobiographical material"

  1. 1. The murky business of recorded memories: Context, framing and working with autobiographical material Stefan Schutt
  2. 2. what i will touch on today <ul><li>background: the small histories project & narrative ordering </li></ul><ul><li>context and framing </li></ul><ul><li>explicit and tacit contexts </li></ul><ul><li>framing ‘framing’ </li></ul>
  3. 3. what is small histories ? <ul><li>work-in-progress website and PhD project </li></ul><ul><li>designed for people to create, keep, publish & compare life stories </li></ul><ul><li>www.smallhistories.com </li></ul>
  4. 4. how does it work? <ul><li>you log in </li></ul><ul><li>you upload items (text, audio, images, video etc) into a repository </li></ul>
  5. 5. how does it work? <ul><li>you begin to create a story: </li></ul>
  6. 6. how does it work? <ul><li>you choose and order the items to be included in your story </li></ul>
  7. 7. how does it work? <ul><li>you choose a presentation style: </li></ul>
  8. 8. how does it work? <ul><li>your story appears on the web, and is fully editable by you: </li></ul>
  9. 9. principle of sequential ordering <ul><li>allow people to build narratives that “create meaning by the principle of sequential ordering of elements” (Dalgaard 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>compare perspectives on events and times in history </li></ul>
  10. 10. nodes and roads <ul><ul><li>for consumers of stories , a narrative is a path taken through a series of nodes within a network (like a road trip through a series of towns) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to add more nodes and roads is to set up new possibilities for the making and remaking of meaning </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. more roads and nodes…. The important thing is the creation of the links between the nodes How you see the node (or photo, or piece of writing, or sound) will depend on how you have approached it, on the context your journey has created for it . Jonathon Potter (1996); Representing Reality: Discourse, Rhetoric and Social Construction ” Truth can be treated as a commodity which is worked up, can fluctuate, and can be strengthened or weakened by various procedures of representation. &quot;(p5) &quot;Histories cannot be produced without drawing on the techniques of narrative and character construction which are so developed in the fictional domain&quot; (p94)
  12. 12. context and framing <ul><li>context: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>'an objectivist appeal to an allegedly pre-existing set of historical data' (Frojmovic, 2008) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>framing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>'an acknowledged active intervention on the part of the scholar/critic’ (Bal, 2008) </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. context and framing: context <ul><li>autobiographies are unreliable forms of truth </li></ul><ul><li>Lejeune: ‘autobiographical ‘pact’ </li></ul><ul><li>how does this translate onto the internet? </li></ul><ul><li>all stories produced in a world of circumstance and intention </li></ul><ul><li>all stories are political and partisan: consciously or not </li></ul>Never trust biographies. Too many events in a man's life are invisible. Unknown to others as our dreams. And nothing releases the dreamer; not death in the dream, not waking. Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels, p. 141
  14. 14. context and framing: context Photos from those years have a different intensity; it's not because they record a lost world, and not because they are a kind of witnessing - that is the work of any photograph. No. It's because from 1940 it was illegal for any Pole, let alone a Polish Jew, to use a camera. So any photo taken by a Pole from that time and place is a forbidden photo - whether of a public execution or of a woman reading a novel quietly in her bed. The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels, p. 286
  15. 15. context and framing: context <ul><li>tacit (unstated) and explicit contexts? </li></ul><ul><li>many contexts hidden in the one narrative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bakhtin: heretoglossia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Barthes: énonciation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>bring out tacit contexts through juxtaposition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eisenstein: montage </li></ul></ul><ul><li>further tacit contexts provided by reader/viewer/listener </li></ul>
  16. 16. context and framing: context <ul><li>digital technology: potential for new forms of visual juxtaposition </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>augmented reality eg Street Museum app for iPhone </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. context and framing: context
  18. 18. context and framing: framing <ul><li>Framing (media studies): </li></ul><ul><li>'an acknowledged active intervention on the part of the scholar/critic’ </li></ul><ul><li>Framing (social theory): </li></ul><ul><li>filters by which people make sense of the world (schemas of interpretation) </li></ul><ul><li>Framing (general): </li></ul><ul><li>present information in a particular way for particular ends </li></ul><ul><li>also an intervention, but not necessarily acknowledged </li></ul><ul><li>can even imply falsification or deception </li></ul>
  19. 19. context and framing: framing <ul><li>Framing (social theory): </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Frames are principles of selection, emphasis and presentation composed of little tacit theories about what exists, what happens, and what matters .’ (Gitlin, 1980) </li></ul><ul><li>we constantly project into our world interpretive frames that help us make sense of it </li></ul><ul><li>frames are a mental shortcut – by default, we prefer to do as little thinking as possible (Fiske & Taylor, 1991) </li></ul><ul><li>we only shift frames or become fully aware of them when something forces us to replace one frame with another: an incongruity (Goffman, 1974) </li></ul><ul><li>tacit, passive, unconscious – the same as aforementioned tacit contexts ? </li></ul>
  20. 20. context and framing: framing <ul><li>Framing (media studies): </li></ul><ul><li>‘ to frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation .’ (Entman, 1993) </li></ul><ul><li>Framing (general sense): </li></ul><ul><li>present information in a particular way for particular ends </li></ul><ul><li>also an intervention, but not necessarily acknowledged </li></ul><ul><li>can even imply falsification or deception </li></ul><ul><li>Both are active processes </li></ul>
  21. 21. context and framing: framing <ul><li>‘ framing’ has a particular resonance when applied to images </li></ul>
  22. 22. context and framing: framing
  23. 23. context and framing: framing ‘ ...after my first researches I started to see these photographs with a different eye. My grandparents' romantic wedding photos, which I used to admire so much, had lost their innocence. Only now did I notice the Party badge on Ernst's lapel. Heinrich, his best man, posed outside the registry office with the happy couple. He was wearing his SS uniform...’ (Himmler, p 19)
  24. 24. context and framing: conclusion-in-progress <ul><li>The following all occur within a framework of intention, unconscious motivation, circumstance (personal, social, historical, political): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the act of creating autobiographical material </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the act of presenting autobiographical material </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the act of consuming autobiographical material </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contexts can be tacit and explicit, and so can frames: it’s murky out there </li></ul><ul><li>Contexts are the building materials for frames </li></ul><ul><li>Contexts (and their juxtapositions) can also challenge - and shift - frames </li></ul><ul><li>Frames, in turn, may determine which contexts are included and which are left out </li></ul>
  25. 25. the end. [email_address] www.smallhistories.com

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