1. How can we document ephemeral experiences like Turning Pages?
We can document these experiences by word of mouth and by writing responses after said experiences, like these blog posts. Pictures wouldn’t really be as “helpful” for these, even if someone is taking them of you since you’re expecting the photo and might hold yourself back with that thought in your mind.
Can Words & Pictures capture an experience?
Words can definitely capture an experience. They can record the experience, and the way that the experience is written can take you back to the feelings, emotions, and atmosphere of that memory since reading and writing, I believe, is very 3 dimensional. Pictures, are physically and also analytically very 2 dimensional, I feel. With pictures, the memory is limited to what is write in front of you, and may also be deceiving, it’s also a vague representation of what could have gone on.
Does the style of the words or images matter? For example, a blurred photo is less precise but might capture more of the experience of motion of a dancer, musician, or other active event. A poem might be a less precise description of an event, but it might offer access to the feelings of the art.
The style matters immensely, in my opinion. A blurry picture at a concert could have more meaning than a still shot at a park. Four word poems can hold as much meaning and emotion as a lengthy prose. An example of something short and vague is Hemingway’s “six-word novel” which is “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” which essentially tells the heartbreaking story of a mother selling a babies new shoes because her child had died. Style matters since it’s a tool that helps the reader or viewer capture the essence of what the artist or writer is trying to portray.
Can you think of other ways to share an experience with people who weren’t there to share in it live?
Another way to share an experience would be a video, but that answer is like a bit of a cop out answer since it’s essentially a mix of both words and pictures. Another way to share an experience is by facial expressions; someone could inquire about something and a simple smile or grimace gives someone an idea of how the experience was.
Does the act of trying to document an experience take you out of the experience? For example if you’re trying to photograph something as it happens, does the camera insert an experiential distance between you and the event?
It can. I saw The Weeknd this past summer, someone who I have been absolutely dying to see for about 2 or 3 years, and during the event, I was so conflicted about recording it or just enjoying it, knowing that I would forget about it after. My phone helped me remember the feeling of being there, but I didn’t record everything. The camera can come in the way at parties, since they can get distracting and your interactions are limited. At the library, having your phone out and having your picture taken implies that you’re done with the activity and cuts the time you spent on it down.
2. Were your experiences of not taking pictures in the Library, and of taking pictures in the Bookstore, different? Describe.
As said in the questions, not taking pictures at the library kept the activity going in a continuous flow without the interruption of having to taking pictures. At the bookstore, the environment was also different, it was louder and people were kind of in a rush to keep moving so no one paid as much attention as they would’ve at the library. The bookstore also has a more open vibe, due to them wanting people to feel welcomed so that they’ll buy stuff, so that was also a factor.
3. What was your experience of this activity?
My experience was a pleasant one, I appreciated how this was different from what we usually do on Thursdays and it was nice to deviate from our norm. It was also interesting to have a part in the activity were we were told not to take pictures, and not to document.
4. Do you have any new insights about the nature of spaces? Or books? Or education?
No new insights necessarily, but the activity kind of reaffirmed the ideas that I had prior to the activity. Spaces have their norms and unspoken rules that should be followed in order to avoid any disturbances, like reading children’s books as adults in an area that isn’t for reading in the library. Books are slowly being pushed back and given a lesser priority when compared to books – like computers and study spaces at the library- or other merchandise- like at the book store. Book stores are supposed to be a place on campus where people by their necessities for school, but it has become a place where the school has tried to capitalize on their name in order to sell school merchandise and sell overpriced pencils; educational needs have been replaced by the need to make more money.