Saturday, January 01, 2011

Keeping essential humanity in mind

Consider the following quote:

If you don’t keep in mind the essential humanity of it all, technique will dominate.

~Irving Kirshner 1923-2010

While Kirshner was specifically talking about film and the act of directing, there is a universal truth to this idea.  All experiences risk becoming a thesis on technique when the act of creation and the process bleed through to the front of the glass.

Essential humanity.

While it would seem that to subvert the necessary and the humane for the sake of recognition of technique seems at conflict with the very act of creating an experience, there may be cues provided to the audience that can only surface through explicit technique.

Sharing the story of the technique and craft becomes part of the experience.  At one extreme all magic and mystery is maintained to increase the ability to participate in the idea; while at the other end of the spectrum the very act of creation and design is part of the experience.  Both approaches to keep the essential humanity in mind and both approaches benefit from the same degrees of imagination, execution ability and craft.

Technique will dominate.

All parties benefit when we decide to share how we arrived at an idea, how we solved a problem or how we created an experience.  Depending on the specific outcome desired, the appropriate time to share technique may differ.  Eventually the question of how will come forward.  Even when we know that a magician will never disclose the truth behind an illusion we still seek to understand without their participation.

While film sets a unique challenge in this regard, exceptional data visualization actually unfolds the solution to this predicament perfectly.  The ability to rationalize, consume, comprehend and take action on information is assumed.  The relationships inferred between discrete bits of information are used to inform the process of understanding.  The source is obfuscated until such time as it needs to be revealed.

In this regard we could say that when we keep the essential humanity in mind, technique may dominate as required.

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