[Air-L] Privacy Buzz + I love Alaska

William Bain willronb at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 21 08:35:40 PST 2010

First of all, thanks to Seda Guerses for the reference to _I Love Alaska_ and the thought-provoking discussion on surveillance and related matters. I would just like to say something about one brief comment of yours, Seda, when you say 

"the  filmmakers saw the queries of this anonymous user as her prose and  used it to narrate their film (without her knowledge)." I am not qualified to answer technically on the use of the person's prose without their knowledge. But I do know, as I imagine you do as well, that there are any number of techniques related to the internet being used today in poetic (in the broad sense of the term to include fiction, film, etc.) creation. One simple example is to searchengine some term and use the text(s) that are returned in a way similar to what you imply was done in _Alaska_. But my main point is that it is not only the "anonymous user's ... prose" that got used in the film. Maybe this is too picky for your main point, I don't know. But there are really two basic _verbal_ narratives in the film, the written stage directions and the spoken "character" speech based on the aol material. Without going into questions of fair usage, this double narrative is
 part of what turns the material into a poem (film, in this case). Finally, a third (or more) narrative is provided by the camera work. And one thing that strikes me about the visuals is 

the sensual or sexual imagery of the nature
shots. The camerawork starts with the traditionally female contours of the fields and the mountains. By episode 11, it moves to a phallic tree center screen, so that effectively the photography works its way to an erection, not necessarily male. By the final episode 13, you could say that the tree now leans in toward the center of the shot. Also striking in this final sequence are the power lines at the top of the image, like a techno connection between nature and manufactured commodities. 

The camera then apparently parodies a cliché from the
Western movie, in those last shots where the screen darkens as the clouds move across
the sky. So, on this interpretation, do camera, written and spoken texts, and perhaps viewers of the film sort of ride into a techno sunset. This may be very tangential to your discussion, which, as I say, I consider very interesting and valuable, but, well, lots of things are marginal.

Best wishes, Bill

William Bain
PhD Student
Area of literary theory
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona  


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