My main theoretical framework for the critique in my documentary is the spectacle, so this is a good place to start and I’ll narrow in scope going forward. “The Society of the Spectacle” is a 1967 work by critical theorist Guy Debord where he presents his idea of the spectacle and how it applies to message consumption. As per the spectacle the receiver absorbs the message through the channel, in our case screens. The message is presented as more pleasurable than the real and is successful when the mediated image is a more pleasurable reality than actual reality. Messages are then commodified to be bought and sold perpetuating the image and reality reflected in the spectacle. In my case the screen is the channel, scientific misinformation is the mediated reality fed through the channel, and the idea that environmentally the planet is in good shape because it requires no action is when the mediated image becomes more attractive than reality.
While the documentary is going to highlight environmental concerns, the main overarching theme of the project is a critique on the literacy the public has on the topic. At its inception, I originally intended to take on multiple areas were public literacy dwelled at the shallow end of the pool. When planning out my strategy I realized that to do the main topic justice I couldn’t touch on all those areas, it would have been all over the place. Environmental science was the most applicable to both the Anthropocene and the spectacle.
The screen perpetuates this belief that we use social media to make ourselves the center of own universe, this human behavior can lend itself environmental issues such as deforestation. The gentle deer don’t need their forest home as much as we need the space to house our social media databases. Knock it down. I can continue to be lazy with my plastic consumption, it doesn’t matter if it ends up in the ocean. That turtle doesn’t need to breathe and there’s no way the river of trash at the bottom contributes to rising ocean temperatures. It sounds absurd but there is a significant demographic that refuse to believe scientific data put right in front of them. They cry fake news and show you a website that probably couldn’t explain what a peer review is let alone have one.
This message that environmentally we’re okay is irresponsible and dangerous, but because misinformation has its place traveling through the channel human behavior doesn’t change and we continue to destroy the planet. It is the lack of public literacy that I am addressing, and the spectacle lends itself well to public misconception as a direct result of the mediated reality.
At this point I would say that I am satisfied with the amount of found footage I have collated for my project. I probably will go mining further at the end of this hurricane season, but I have decided to curb that for a bit and reach out to start setting up interviews with members of the science communities and media theorists. I figure a good way to go would be to schedule three to four at a time that way I can be as available as possible for these people because their time is valuable. Once each interview is set up I will come up with my list of questions for each subject. I’ll have a master list but have specific questions ready as pertaining to that subject’s expertise. Given the scope of my project I feel that I would need somewhere between 9-12 interviewees to bring everything together. I’m also thinking about b roll, visual aesthetics, and what of that I can film myself.
That pretty much leads me up to today. I know the form and function of it will start to come together once I start getting interviews together and can pull film and use the found footage to piece it all together in a cohesive narrative. In the end I hope that it encourages people to think about their environmental impact, how they view the information they are given, and hopefully alter behavior after viewing.