Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Manipulation of "Truth"

A tension I see within photoconceptualism is between what's "real" and what's "fake". Like many of the photos we studied in class, they appear, at first glace, to look right, but with further observation, there is something off and uneasy.

This tension reminds me of documentary films, which are "documentations" of real life scenarios, but can be easily manipulated, through editing, staged dramatic occurrences, etc.

The documentary film Thin Blue Line explores not how film can manipulate the "truth" - but how humans can manipulate it too. Flimmaker Errol Morris uses the story of a man, who was wrongly convicted of murder a police officer, as the backbone to an exploration of authenticity and truth (or perhaps "truths"). The story was not told in a linear convention; instead, Morris chose to highlight the story's questionable facts as a jigsaw puzzle. He would give the audience a corner, and then jump to a piece in the middle. Morris' manipulation of the truth through film elements echoed the way characters in the story would manipulate the truth of what happened the night police officer Robert Wood was murdered.

The film uses many re-enactments sequences, playing out different scenarios, different truths to the one murder. Perhaps like how Jeff Wall created Mimic, these re-enactments were meant to clearly show an interpretation of an event, but they were not meant to tell the truth. There were a few people who gave their testimonies about what happened that night and the re-enactment of each showed the transformation of a simple story into a much more complex one.

Although the film is a documentary
, clearly manipulation of the "truth" can actually further discussions. With a photo like Jeff Wall's Mimic, we can delve deeper in social and cultural issues surrounding the subjects of the photos, rather than a surface interpretation of who are the people and what are they doing.

No comments:

Post a Comment