Vertov’s Kino-Eye piece serves as a call-to-action, rallying support for his new form of film which would document ordinary life. As he points out, the majority of the movies in movie theaters in the past as well as today are scripted, made-up stories, no matter how much they may appear to depict real life. In Vertov’s eyes, the camera was invented to “penetrate deeper into the visible world, to explore and record visual phenomena,” (67) and yet it became a tool of the bourgeois, a method of entertaining the public, or of “[diverting] the workers’ attention from their basic aim: the struggle against their masters” (67). In terms of the applicability of this reading, what Vertov argues in this piece still holds truth today, especially considering our present-day “reality” T.V. Popular shows today that many follow as a guilty pleasure that pretend to present “reality” follow people whose lives are anything but ordinary. Behind the scenes, shots that viewers are meant to believe “actually happened” are scripted, staged, and edited. A friend of mine told me that after attending one of the audition screenings of the X Factor, she had seen first hand the producer or another executive would give specific hand signals to the judges letting them know whether to vote yes or no after each audition. When the show is broadcasted, this is cut out and we are made to believe that the judges themselves have their own opinions about each person auditioning and that their decisions are their own. We discussed and saw first hand in class an example of the news failing to present a good representation of reality, as well. In the case of reality T.V. shows, this results in what Vertov was discussing: mindless entertainment for the general population. This is not exactly a good thing, but, in the case of the news, however, this issue becomes much more problematic as people’s beliefs and actions are shaped by what they see and take to be true on T.V., regardless of whether it has been misconstrued or is simply false. We also see that the exclusion of whole categories of people result in very skewed, unrealistic visions rather than more holistic ones. One solution to one angle of this problem was the creation of Black Journal, and yet sadly I cannot think of a modern-day replacement. I think T.V. and cinema today need to change, and there is an awfully long way to go.

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One response »

  1. alexanderlandau says:

    I think Vertov’s ideas about the camera and the concept of the social network are similar. As Jessica said above, Vertov believes that the camera is a device which allows viewers to see deeper into the world around them. In much the same way, the social network acts as a visual tool that allows friends or followers to closely examine a users personality and daily life. The idea behind the social network is that a user is able to take their exact essence and upload to the digital world so that they can connect with others like them. But, just like how Vertov sees the camera becoming a tool for entrainment that doesn’t depict the visible world as it is, the social network is becoming a space where people create identities that don’t accurately portray their true selves. Often these identities are of types of people they desire to be or who they think they should be. In such a social media driven age, how do we know someone’s true personality if there’s a difference in their digital self and true self?

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