Bordwell’s Cognitivist Approach

by stronged

One of my recent posts discusses the convergence of different media in the process of technological advances. I mention that an important factor to consider with New Media is the ramifications of a compounded narrative form. As users, we are learning how to interpret this multi-platformed, transmedia concept of storytelling by practicing these techniques and being exposed to them on a day-to-day basis. Similar to filmmakers, as Bordwell points out, ‘Through tradition and trial and error, …[we are] able to guide ordinary behaviour in ways that…[creates] an aesthetic experience.’ (15)

When approaching nonlinear narrative construction, the fragmentary nature of it’s structure urges us to deconstruct it’s meaning in a different way. Not a new way. In fact, in one of the oldest ways we have been deconstructing narratives. Vignettes have existed in the form of poetry as well as still art from the dawn of mankind. Instead of being presented with the full arc of a narrative we receive a snapshot to which we must interpret.

‘[A]s with any two-dimensional array, the information it offers is necessarily degraded and incomplete. Grasping a painting therefore depends on assumptions, expectations, and guesswork to a degree that we often don’t deploy in everyday life. Looking at a picture is a bit like trying to make out a scene in a fog or at dusk (Gombrich and Erebon 1993).’ (12)

We must work harder as an audience to interpret these snapshots, break out of the stagnant contentment of being spoon-fed our narratives. Be confidant and resolute in our ability to subjectively interpret a narrative without succumbing to the heard mentality and conform to what the popular consensus is.