Thursday, June 15, 2006

2 Page vs. 1 Page

The dissertation has left the building.

Three copies were mailed to my committee. The package weighed 7.6 pounds. The biggest hitch I ran into was editing my abstract from 2 pages down to 1 page. After wracking my brain for just under three hours, I distilled the abstract down to 2 pages. The instructions from my advisor were very clear, and in fact used all caps when it states "please submit a ONE PAGE abstract via email."

Knowing that I am far too close to this material to make any more cuts, I simply ran the 2 page verision through MS Word's auto-sumarization, told it to reduce by 50%. 1.8 seconds later was my one page abstract. I gave it a quick once-over, and then printed it out.

So gague for yourself here are the two abstracts.


=============================
The 2 Page Version

Documentary Simulations: An Epistemology of Hoax and Paradox

A Dissertation Submitted to the Division of Media and Communications
Of the European Graduate School in Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
By William Hanff

Abstract:

Hoaxes under Attack:

In our world of electronic media simulations, the Hoax is under attack. With the rise of mass culture the classical concepts of hoax and paradox have been knocked from a place of honor into the realm of the either the trivial or the malicious. How could any concept be considered both immaterial and treacherous? Surely the hoax still holds great power if our current attitude towards it is so paradoxical. The hoax had existed in tandem with accepted historical knowledge, but with the rise of rational scientism, the hoax and other forms of dissimulation in art face their current denigration.

Living in, with, and through their electronic media, contemporary humankind has extended their senses and knowledge of the world into areas where previous ideas of fiction versus nonfiction are no longer applicable. But in the philosophy of rational empiricism it would appear to an academic, literate skeptic that an audience which perceives their outer world through an electronic medium would have few guides for discerning a simulation of reality or a representation of an actual occurrence, from an entertaining dissimulation or simulacra of a fantasy.

Suspension of Disbelief:

Previously, suspension of disbelief had been experienced in terms of contrivance and play, and was not rationally attempted. Once it became ‘willing suspension of disbelief’, it was subject to what Martin Heidegger called technological enframing. It seeks to ‘set upon’ fictional or fantastic narratives and to make them part of the spectacle in the service of technology itself which requires humanity to see all phenomenon as resources to be exploited – including humanity’s own imagination.

Suspension of disbelief is never static and is only rarely conscious. A ‘sliding suspension of disbelief’ becomes necessary to gather information through mediated simulations about the external world from electronic media. This is an example of Wolfgang Schirmacher’s idea of media as ‘life technique’ wherein contrivance and suspension of disbelief occurs at multiple levels of human thought. As a life technique, audiences remain briefly aware of their suspension of disbelief, but then self-conceal this differentiation, in order to continue perceiving their world through their media. These life techniques in general, or hoaxes in particular, are used to mentally engage with new sense perceptions which require sliding suspension of disbelief. The future generations of humanity will require not only improved technology, but also improved life techniques for both seriously and playfully engaging with the electronic media from which they gather facts.

An Archeology of Hoaxing:

In history paradoxes and hoaxes indicate cultural leaps particularly regarding media development. But hoaxes resist the meta-narratives of literate history, and therefore a history of hoaxing must avoid the linearity of western literate hegemony. Using the concept of media archeology past hoaxes can be explored, yet while time-bound, need not uncover a linear history. While placing artifacts in the context of the greater social and historical events, archeology ideally leaves open connections to other researchers’ insights and interpretations.

History of Documentary in the Electronic Age:

Documentary film is a media simulation which exists through the mass production of technical images which, despite its inherent simulated nature of itself, nonetheless still attempts to represent natural truth in the world from a camera and production apparatus point of view. The hoax and the documentary are reflections of each other in paradox. The documentary has been highjacked, and is only allowed to reveal, the hoax has been denigrated, and is only conceptualized in terms of what it conceals.

An ‘Immodest Proposal’:

However hoax and paradox have within them the possibility of overthrowing the order which has enframed them, to create a ‘eureka’-moment. Their ironic, self-concealing nature allows them to occasionally drag their audiences to see familiar phenomenon as foreign, and anew.

With this in mind a new genre of media production will be proposed: the Hoaxumentary - using production techniques of film and television documentary, together with concepts from effective hoaxes from history. The hoaxumentary will be indistinguishable from a documentary. It is not satire nor mockumentary, but rather a real documentary about false, yet interesting events. It will briefly reveal the dissimulation of the media, before concealing again within its paradoxical nature.

Rehabilitation of the Hoax:

The media hoax exists firmly in these times when irony works together with paradox to bring about better or fuller understanding of media, precisely because its negativity requires that it withdraw from immediate consciousness. Irony is a mode of epistemology which has the possibility of bringing about changes in how humanity interacts with its media, especially electronic media. It is Søren Kierkegaard’s ‘Leap of Faith’ from enframing rationalism to playful veridicality. It is a rescuing of the hoax by those media producers who do not fear their media

As electronic media evolves into hypermedia, we must create a genre of media hoaxes designed to push far past the fastidiousness of rational skepticism, to create hoaxes that are funny, outrageous, scary, dramatic, and intense enough to ‘cover their tracks’ but remain ever so close to its audience. We must fearlessly make our media hoaxes into art.


=============================
The 1 Page Version

Documentary Simulations: An Epistemology of Hoax and Paradox
A Dissertation Submitted to the Division of Media and Communications
Of the European Graduate School in Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
By William Hanff

Abstract:

In our world of electronic media simulations, the Hoax is under attack. The hoax had existed in tandem with accepted historical knowledge, but with the rise of rational scientism, the hoax and other forms of dissimulation in art face their current denigration.

A ‘sliding suspension of disbelief’ becomes necessary to gather information through mediated simulations about the external world from electronic media. This is an example of Wolfgang Schirmacher’s idea of media as ‘life technique’ wherein contrivance and suspension of disbelief occurs at multiple levels of human thought. As a life technique, audiences remain briefly aware of their suspension of disbelief, but then self-conceal this differentiation, in order to continue perceiving their world through their media. These life techniques in general, or hoaxes in particular, are used to mentally engage with new sense perceptions that require sliding suspension of disbelief.

In history paradoxes and hoaxes indicate cultural leaps particularly regarding media development. But hoaxes resist the meta-narratives of literate history, and therefore a history of hoaxing must avoid the linearity of western literate hegemony. Using the concept of media archeology past hoaxes can be explored, yet while time-bound, need not uncover a linear history.

Documentary film is a media simulation that exists through the mass production of technical images which, despite its inherent simulated nature of itself, nonetheless still attempts to represent natural truth in the world from a camera and production apparatus point of view. The hoax and the documentary are reflections of each other in paradox.
It will briefly reveal the dissimulation of the media, before concealing again within its paradoxical nature.

The media hoax exists firmly in these times when irony works together with paradox to bring about better or fuller understanding of media, precisely because its negativity requires that it withdraw from immediate consciousness. Irony is a mode of epistemology which has the possibility of bringing about changes in how humanity interacts with its media, especially electronic media. It is a rescuing of the hoax by those media producers who do not fear their media

As electronic media evolves into hypermedia, we must create a genre of media hoaxes designed to push far past the fastidiousness of rational skepticism, to create hoaxes that are funny, outrageous, scary, dramatic, and intense enough to ‘cover their tracks’ but remain ever so close to its audience. We must fearlessly make our media hoaxes into art.

1 comment:

Al Kover said...

Very interesting! It has elements of pataphysics, in what you are saying.

This is Matt Keenan (one of your students in the Zielinski forum of egs 2007).