Public Information Film Project: Persuasive Narratives (part 1)

Public Information Film Experiments

Back to work on the blog and hopefully I can kick-start some momentum again now that all the mayhem has quietened down over here.  Yesterday was spent looking back at clips of footage I had taken over the past six months. I came across this rat trap clip which was meant for an    Objects of Disobedience   post but decided I could make better use of it which would be relative to my project. Off we go.

The process:

1/ Video clip (unedited) filmed with a Pentax Q7 . I’ve not done much in the way of filming with this camera and was impressed with the high grain resolution.

2/ The video clip after experimenting with film speeds, notably the trap ‘snap’. Windows Live Movie Maker is better than I thought

3/ I thought about doing something fancy with the footage. Even though I quite like the  harsh minimal edge detector effect, it radically affects the persuasive message I’m trying to convey.

4/ The audio: This smashed glass soundbite was taken from then amplified in Audacity. I was pleased with the result.

5/ The narration is provided by me, “Are you aware of your child’s online activity?” (I couldn’t think of anything else at the time!) Anyway, again edited in Audacity (merged, reversed and echoed). No, doesn’t work. If fact, a narration isn’t needed, in my view.

6/ The final edit. Yes/No? It looks a bit 70s retro

Overall, I’m looking for an end product which is succinct and minimal, a bit like the persuasive narratives in  Broken Glass (1973)  I’m far from that yet but this experiment has been worthwhile.

The Tokyo Gas Attack & Objects of Disobedience (for the wrong reasons)

Back in January I went to an exhibition in London called Objects of Disobedience. The objects exhibited were ones which were/ are used in movements to fight for or against something. You could say, for a good cause, of course, depending which side of the fence you sit on. Now to my point, a few days ago, I was filming in the Tokyo Underground in Kasumigaseki on the Marunouchi line. Kasumigaseki was the scene of one of the worst acts of domestic terrorism in Tokyo just over 20 years ago. It was here that deadly sarin gas was released inside the train. The perpetrators used their own objects of disobedience to puncture and release the sarin gas. In this case, the objects of disobedience were ordinary vinyl umbrellas but were used for the wrong reasons. The gas bags were punctured using the sharp spike at the tip of the umbrella. Like many people that live in a climate with a rainy season, vinyl umbrellas are as ubiquitous as a bar code on a shop product. However, after reading Haruki Murakami’s book-Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche, about 10 years ago, for me, these cheap vinyl umbrellas symbolise one of trepidation and I’m probably not the only one.

Vinyl Umbrella


In March 1995, Tokyo suffered one of the worst acts of domestic terrorism – The Tokyo subway sarin attack, though the media referred to the incident as the Subway Sarin Incident. The attack was perpetrated by the religious movement Aum Shinrikyo. The enforcers released sarin, an extremely potent colourless, odourless liquid used as a chemical weapon in several train lines in the Tokyo subway, killing 12 people, injuring 50 and affecting over 1,000 people who were on the trains of the morning rush hour, March 20, 1995. The targeted trains were ones passing through Japanese Government areas-Kasumigaseki and Nagatcho. The sarin was released on three metro lines by five perpetrators.

Details from Wikipedia




Objects of Disobedience

Yesterday my daughter and I went to see the Objects of disobedience exhibition at the V&A museum in London. Exhibited, was a wealth of unusual objects that have been and are used in movements to protest against laws and to topple governments. Interestingly, the objects range from things that are considered harmless such as teacups and things which symbolize provocation such as a spray can or a balaclava. As one of the exhibition notices read, there is no protest aesthetic. Activists work by media necessary, from mobilising folk traditions to using the latest technology; from interventions on the ground to actions on the internet. While viewing the objects, I did question the ‘no protest aesthetic’ remark. Probably it is not intentional to make objects such as paintings, stencils, badges, sculptures, vehicles etc, pleasing to the eye but the South American tapestries (Oppressive rule in Chile 1973-1989) with their bold colours and intricate stich work were a fantastic spectacle as was the Tiki Love Cherokee jeep (2007) decked out in decorative Polynesian design mosaic tiles.

Below are just a few examples with photos and a video of the objects and their purposes from my notes at the exhibition:

BADGES– Badges against apartheid. Badges to support the struggle against apartheid. (South Africa 1980-1994)

Free Nelson Mandela Badge (1984)

BOOK SHIELDS– book blocs shield us to represent ideas and understanding in the face of violence. Often used in demonstrations by activists with non-violent intentions.  (Manchester/London 2011)

Book Shields

VIDEO– Barbie Liberation Organisation- Anti sexual stereotyping (U.S.A. 1993)

SCULPTURE– Guerrilla girls feminist group- synthetic fur and rubber. Exposing sexism in the art world. (U.S.A. 1989)

Guerrilla Girls

VISUAL ARTS– Stencils used for artwork to protest in Syria.  Graffiti can be executed quickly and clandestinely as possible. Fighting for freedom. (Syria 2012)

Syrian Stencils

BIKE BLOCS– Mass civil disobedience against the COP15 climate summit. Machines of creative resistance. Organized in swarms bike blocs formed blockades and decoys supporting thousands on foot. (Copenhagen 2009)

Other objects of disobedience included t-shirts, banners, newspapers, defaced currency, catapults, PET bottles and guerrilla do-it-yourself manuals which incidentally, looked remarkably similar to the illustrations in The Anarchist Cookbook (1971).

British Tabloids