Hypermediacy as filmic technique

By Justin Hodgson

A few years ago I was fortunate to have a colleague share this 2013 video short by Patrick Cederberg & Walter Woodman. Noah was created for a film class that Cederberg and Woodman were in while students at Ryerson University in Toronto, and it demonstrates not only the amazing work students do, but, just as importantly, how new modes and means of mediation allow for the telling of new kinds of narratives.

WARNING: Mature content

I regularly use this film in my multimedia composition courses because the entire thing is shot on a desktop (minus a few smart phone scenes). Or rather, it is represented from the perspective of the desktop so as to give the sense that everything we see is being facilitated through a computer screen. Cederberg and Woodman not only capture a cultural moment for a particular age group, but they demonstrate how hypermediacy can be experienced as an authentic mediated experience. By saturating us with multiple media streams as a form of montage, they are able not only to foreground the mediation involved, but to provide narrative detail and movement in dynamic ways. As such, when I show this in class we spend most of our time focusing on the media representation central to the film, how it was potentially created, and how it reflects certain cultural practices. We do, of course,spend a few minutes talking about the narrative arc of Noah, but what fascinates me is the mix of media central to the narrative and the ways in which Cederberg and Woodman created tension for viewers through controlled and yet frantic movements between media streams on the screen.

 

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