Thursday, 5 June 2008

Viewing of Pork and Milk with Caroline

This film by Valerie Mrejen creates a space for young people from ultra Orthodox Jewish groups to talk about their struggle with living within the strictures of the religion, their decisions to leave and the subsequent strain that puts on family relationships.
Caroline and I watched it together at the French Institute. This time people are talking about their own experiences rather than the narratives being delivered by actors.
However the static camera, attention to detail in the selecting and framing of the shots and the lighting create a conducive listening and looking space for the viewer and (I deduce)a conducive narrative space for the participants.
I am reminded of the static camera of film makers Jane Campion (Piano 1993) and Chantal Ackerman in the 70's.
Caroline also notes that there has been a lot of crafting of the fragments of what people are saying to build a 'pork and milk narrative'. This is essentially the editing process she is talking about and she compares it to the analysis and presentation stages of the research process.
She references Arthur Frank and says:
"I had read a paper of his prior to him running a seminar in Edinburgh in July. He spoke about a picture: Rene Magritte's La Condition Humaine . He discusses that the longer you look at the picture, you see that it is layers and layers of painting which go as he puts it 'all the way back'. He equates this to qualitative interviewing whereby there can be an assumption that you turn on a recorder and the person being interviewed will tell their story.
But,it's not like that. I found this notion intriguing and thought
provoking in relation to my own work ...."
She talks about the cultural gaps in knowledge and understanding the health visitors have vis a vis the mums. We come up with a spatial idea of nested knowledge.
We resumed our discussion exploring the opportunities to make visual/sound work from Caroline's research findings.
We briefly considered other forms of presentation - for example an installation or large scale projection...
We have a brief discussion about the film/video making process, budgets etc.
We touch on the consideration that the form of the visual/audio work could reference Caroline's own research practice.
It's all a bit tentative but feels quite exciting at the same time!

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