Database Narrative

From an early age, we are told stories and taught in a logical or linear fashion. However database narrative is more subjective and does not have a specific intended message. This made it really difficult to wrap my head around the concept and I really had to delve deep to figure it out and make sense of it for myself.

There was one person who mentioned films like “Momento” and “Run Lola Run” were database. When you look at the definition however, “the story develops by selecting scenes from a given collection”, it doesn’t really fit that. These 2 movies were all predetermined before showing an audience so how can they be called a database narrative?

One of the best and truest examples that we were able to find was Vertov’s “Man with a Movie Camera”. This was quite literally a collection of seemingly random clips pieced together to create a sort of narrative. This narrative may not be totally clear but rather left up to interpretation of the viewer letting them take their own message from what they were shown. He was a pioneer of his time but it was not recognized until much later the significance of this piece.

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We did a project last semester where each person took a few short videos and then each of us took a look at them all and created a narrative out of them. Although this was part of an assessment I can see where the outcome could have some powerful benefits, but it would take quite some time to build up a great database to choose from.

I also feel that a new way of experiencing a sort of database narrative, that is relevant to us as contemporary media practitioners, is through Snapchat.  These “snap stories” are a collection of public created content surrounding a topic or event. Businesses and media platforms use it to create their own content like VICE as you see below. However, there are also stories like the AFL Mens Opener where the public will tag an event and then these stories are generated creating the narrative of the event through the different viewer’s perspectives.

I think these are great uses of database narrative and although I didn’t understand it well at first, looking into it further and relating it back to modern technologies helped a lot. I am not planning to use snapchat for my project but I would consider the elements that go into this type of narrative and apply them to my work through possibly using montage or something of that nature.

As my project is developing I do not see where the aspects of database could be used to elevate the piece itself. I would however consider using clips and images from the stories I feature to use as teasers and advertisements to promote my project leading up to the release of the content online.

– Bec

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