Tuesday, 1 November 2011

‘Snap’: Multimodal texts

An acquaintance asked me last year how my daughter was getting on. I replied “Oh fine - she’s 21 now and living in Paris.” Then, with a curious mingling of fatherly pride and envy, added “I wouldn’t mind being either of those.”  The envy was perhaps mainly for the sense that she would be living through a touchstone experience.  How can  such powerful, complex experiences be conveyed in word or image?
‘Snap’ is a photostory-movie - a murder mystery in the manner of film noir,  created by, and starring, Milan Terlunen,  KC Forcier and Kate Brook - with a little help from their friends.  Its imitation both flatters and parodies the genre.  When I first saw the movie last summer, it was clear that in its making a good time had been had by all. We watched it as parents, sharing the enjoyment it had brought our daughter.
Today Kate showed me something else rather wonderful.  KC Forcier and Liz Schwartz have just published a special edition of the online journal “The Quarterlife Quarterly” devoted to the making of ‘Snap’ . The journal collects together: interviews with the artists, email conversations, making-of videos, photographs and the film itself, as well as a perceptive overview by KC .  By presenting material surrounding the film, we are invited  into a smoke and mirrors world, somewhere between the real and imagined. This gives a strong sense that the film portrays, consciously and unconsciously, a unique time, place and friendship.
Literary collage has been used by luminaries as diverse as Melville and Woolf. Relative to these purely literary texts, the QQ assemblage has a naturalness and ease; yet it achieves many similar ends. Can it be long before multimedia, multimodal text becomes recognised as an art form in its own right?