Digital Ethnography Trailer

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I have concluded that video editing/creation is an incredibly complex art form. There are so many elements to take into account that it is very difficult to pay attention to all the details and tell a story through the video. Compounding this is that it is a very visual form (obviously) and thus requires visualizing the end result in order to produce something. I don't know if this is because of the way my mind works, but I find this incredibly challenging. I liken the process to stretching muscles you've never stretched before, it feels like I'm stretching "brain muscles". New media consistently present us with this challenge, and I am reminded once more of just how difficult coping with a new media (and thus new way of thinking) can be.

This is the first video I've ever created. It is a trailer for the project I will be working on this semester in Digital Ethnography on Anonymity. I have been thinking about this project for months now, and I still don't feel like I have a good direction to take the project in. Anonymity is directly connected to identity, in fact they may even be opposites. What is identity? What is anonymity? How do digital media mediate these two concepts?

I have several small thoughts about these questions, but none are inclusive enough to grasp the big picture. I am fascinated by developmental psychology and would like to analyze applying certain models (Erikson, Kegan etc.) to the internet. In this vein, digital competency would need to be looked at, perhaps creating a developmental line for it. But, this is a big undertaking and I'm not sure it is the best way to approach anonymity. I would also like to do a quadrant analysis of anonymity, dissecting the range of perspectives with which we can look at the phenomenon.

Despite those and other ideas, this is my video. In it, I was trying to get at the idea that there are a plethora of "small selves" that we engage in and use to make up our identity. But, it is my opinion that these small selves are all relative parts to the whole that is our authentic self. The authentic self is absolute, and thus presents a dialectic between the relative selves. The internet, for those who engage in it, is objectively exposing all of our small selves to the world, which is simultaneously creating a small self crisis and an aggrandizement and celebration of the small self. Juxtaposing an anonymous video on negationism with a clearly not anonymous video on the authentic self, I hoped to show two different approaches to my question "who am I?"

In writing, it sounds like I had this grandiose idea that I then set to video, however the reality is much the opposite. After struggling with the "nuts and bolts" of video editing for the first time, these thoughts and this video just kind of emerged of its own volition.

On an unrelated note, check out my new comments system below! I figured out how to install Disqus in my template, so now you can leave a comment using a Disqus account, your Facebook account, or (appropriately) anonymously, and you can leave video comments with Seesmic too!

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