Hyper-film version

This version of Opera of Meaning uses film as the main story, and a database of related visuals as a setting, controlled by the director and by the public.

Italian Modernist Film Director Michelangelo Antonioni stated "You know what I would like to do? Make a film with actors standing in empty space so that the spectator would have to imagine the background." As all art finally happens in the heads of the audience, its final form is what the audience performs, imagines, and decides.

It’s that final part of the artistic process that gets integrated into the experimental new show Kamza and Bar-Kamza, trying to get at what the show’s creator calls “the silent conversation” that follows any work of art. In this multi-media presentation of the Talmudic story, directed and produced by UCSD Professor Shlomo Dubnov, the audience is invited to look at the way a physical structure relates to the space it occupies and how that construction integrates with the film component of the experience, as well as the way the audience inhabits that environment, and also interacts with the film event and each other.

To emphasize the role on what/how a film is viewed and again, the role of structure in cinema, regarding the extreme opposite might illustrate the significance of architecture, authorship and audience in terms of their role in a socially shared space in cinematic context. In Kamza and Bar-Kamza the audience participate in structuring the setting in which the story is being told. The film materials, projected on multiple screens surrounding the main characters comprise of a mashup of parallel films, cinematic quotes, projected graphic designs of text and imagery, bearing witness to the fluidity of construction of meaning and signification that takes part during joint watching of a film.

Film excerpts projected on the screens include Bunuel's Chien Andalou, documentary news reals, excerpts from "Rebel without a cause", the film "PI" and more. This happens in parallel with telling of the story by main characters, appearing on and off screen. As Wifi will plug the audience and their laptops into an interface , web technology will allow the public to provide their voice comments, chatline comments, or images taken from a range of online sources and upload them to the show’s central server. At certain times, these contributions are used to alter and shape the story surroundings, while in other times the viewers will yield their screens and speakers in favor of rendering elements of the film, delving into views of the story in a distributed fashion that will be playing across the physical space.

Public invited to intervene in the film process, shapes a relation between authorship and audience that is reflective of the current collective connectedness condition. The shift from story to characterization is done by the audiences themselves, breaking away from authorship traditions such as Truffaut's film criticsm or Brechtian political activism on two extremes. Kamza and Bar-Kamza suggests a studious and sensible condition, where the defining intervention into the meaning of story is done by the viewers during the process of watching the film. In stark contrast, Lars Von Trier's film Dogville, calls attention to how much relatable settings are an integral part to telling a cinematic story. In Dogville, it is the loud absence of architecture ("buildings" are demarcated by white lines only) that strengthens character development and heightens one's emotional response as well as forcing the viewer to imagine their own constructions.

As the core story of Kamza Bar Kamza does not move, what does shift is what the audience makes of it. Offering more visual possibilities then a single screen can hold, and by sharing audience laptop screens, the project creates an architectural imersive info-space that engulfs the film. The social activity in that space is empowered by interactive networking technology, ultimately trying to suggest new ways of joint cinematic viewing and new ways of participatory story telling.

Written together with Rebecca Web.

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