The last 24 hours (Project 1: Exercise 2)

The last 24 hours

Written:

  • Two blogs for this course

Listened:

  • Jay-Z 4:44 (opening tracks)
  • Radio 4’s The Today Programme

Read:

  • The Week

Watched:

  • Tim Minchin performing Storm (On YouTube)
  • Completed viewing Horizon’s Dawn of the Driverless Car. I had recorded this documentary about the development of driverless cars in general and the technology they use in particular
  • The film Nocturnal Animals

1. How many stories are contained in the list?

My first response is to ask for a definition of “a story”!

Each of the Jay-Z tracks are stories. They are largely reflective in nature as he appears to be assessing and re-assessing his life, his values, his relationship with Beyonce, the expectations of the people around him and so on. Being a rap artist, they are poetic and rhythmic in nature. They are also raw, emotional and emotive. They don’t have a traditional story structure but they do tell the story of a person grappling with many aspects of his life and lifestyle. It is interesting to contrast these with Storm.

Tim Minchin’s Storm is described by Minchin himself as a beat poem. It begs the question what is the difference between rap and beat poetry? This beat poem is structured around meeting a woman called Storm at a dinner party. Almost by definition it is, therefore, a story. Like Jay-Z’s raps above, the poem reveals a lot about Minchin and his views of the world; especially the importance of understanding what science really is and its role in our lives. I watched this video of him performing it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtYkyB35zkk

Nocturnal Animals is a really interesting film. I have watched it only once and so these comments are very much first impressions.The film centres around a woman receiving a copy of her ex-husband’s first book before it is published. The film then goes on to show the story of the film as it is read and so has the woman’s thoughts and interpretations placed on it. For example, she “sees” her husband playing the central role in the story. The film also explores the state of her life and her reaction to the book. In so doing we learn about her past and some of her decisions and actions. The book forces her to face up to these. It is at least two stories in one.

“Factual”

I would like to group the Today Programme, The Week and the Horizon documentary together. Each presents some form of news or “factual” information. In general, I find news curious. What should be the presentation of information is often structured as a series of short stories. These can, and often are, supplemented with vox pop interviews. In fairness to The Week, when they present a news story they will bring in various papers’ and journalists’ opinions in order to give a more rounded view of the news story. The selection of what is news and perhaps more importantly what isn’t is, in my opinion, an essential part of understanding news as stories. Those stories are selected to fit a much wider goal of what messages the particular “news” source is trying to impart.

It is interesting to note how the Horizon documentary was described on my Sky system:

Horizon explores the artificial intelligence required to replace human drivers in cars, peers into the future driverless world and discovers that it might not be all good news.

I found this summary of the documentary very interesting. The wording suggests that we are expected to agree that it is not all good news!

My blogs

My two blogs differed slightly. The printing press is very much meant to be a condensed story of the printing press. The second, however, was a list of my thoughts about why people read and write. It may well be interpreted as a story by anyone else reading it. It could possibly be seen as the story of a thought process at work (or not, as the case may be!) From my perspective it was not intended to be a story, rather just a structured brain-dump!

2. How much of the above is art?

Following the first part of this course, I am not so fussed about definitions of art. I am happy with mine, that it is a deliberate act of creativity which brings some aspect of originality to that act. I am much more concerned with what defines good art and how it gets selected, recognised and ultimately valued as good art.

The good art in my list is predictable; Jay-Z’s raps (although not all of it to my particular taste), Storm and Nocturnal Animals.

   

 

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