Video technology has changed documentary, and hoaxes may be the only way to keep an ‘informed audience’ critical of an important “non-fiction” simulation. Spectacle and Fascination will always play a large part of all filmmaking, but how a media-literate audience learns to cope with the inherently coercive technical aspects of visual electronic media will determine whether “documentary” remains a critical forum, or whether it will be appropriated into a larger media matrix concerned only with persuasion and commerce.
Is suspension of disbelief inherent in the active participation that mediated experiences require?
When we engage with media we always engage at different levels of suspension of disbelief. Most forms of media (whether they can be categorized as “fiction” or “non-fiction”) rely on rannative form, and thus on the mimesis of representation (as will be discussed in Aristotle’s poetics). All forms of media rely on simulation which actively retrieve older archetypes (Jungian) through contemporary media production clichés (as will be discussed in McLuhan’s Cliché 2 Archetype).
However, (until the late 20th century) most forms of media quickly reach a set level of suspension of disbelief. Several contemporary forms of media are exceptions. Tabloid newspapers, internet websites and television “pop” documenatries all require a sophisticated audience to seamlessly, rapidly and frequently move between different levels of suspension of disbelief. (Similar movement is required when moving between “news” broadcasts and and commercial messages, and in rare cases between/within “docu-dramas” which include archival footage within mediated narratives. For the sake of scope only the “pop” television documentary will be addressed – because of its established history
The questions I am looking to address are: What is the relationship between documentary film production and famous hoaxes? What role do Archetypes play in Media Techniques? How do mimetic meta-narratives affect the design and style of documentary film (and all media for that matter)?