Chapter 16img

For this exercise you will need:

  • A stack of index cards for each participant. (Get a lot! It's very possible a participant might use as many as 20 cards.)
  • A set of colored felt-tip pens, such as Sharpies, for each participant

The beginning of motion picture technology brought with it new insights into our ability to make meaning. In 1918, the Russian director Lev Kuleshov conducted a famous experiment that had huge implications for the developing language of cinema, and how audiences interact with the images they see projected on a screen.

In his experiment, Kuleshov filmed an actor staring into the camera with no expression. Later he filmed individual subjects, such as a bowl of soup, a child in a coffin, and a pretty woman reclining on a lounger. Then he edited those shots so that each was followed by a so-called reaction from the man. However, the reaction in all three cases was the same identical footage he had captured earlier. For early film audiences—many of whom had never seen a motion picture—the effect was powerful. They described the man's hunger, sadness, and lust (respectively) and even marveled at his acting.

Of course, today we experience ...

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