Last week saw the beginning of Creative Media Practice. This module fits into my final year of study at University and explores new technologies that create innovative storytelling. The two sessions looked at the use of three screens, or in other words, Triptych screening. Triptych can be dated back to the Middle Ages, where people used this form of narrative for worship, as religious iconography.
“Spatial montage represents an alternative to traditional cinematic temporal montage, replacing its traditional sequential mode with a spatial one. Ford’s assembly line relied on the separation of the production process into a set of repetitive, sequential, and simple activities. The same principle made computer programming possible: a computer program breaks a task into a series of elemental operations to be executed one at a time. Cinema followed this logic of industrial production as well. It replaced all other modes of narration with a sequential narrative, an assembly line of shots, which appear on the screen one at a time”
- Lev Manovich, http://www.manovich.net/DOCS/windows_montage.doc
Triptych first made an appearance in cinema in the early 1900’s with films such as Suspense (Lois Webber, 1913) and later came Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927).
My favourite example of Triptych from the past comes from a title sequence created by Saul Bass with the Grand Prix of 1966. You can watch the sequence here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RILdsjeL_4
Split-screen narrative gives the storyteller advantages to not only give the audience enhanced information in a stylistic way, but it may also be used to confuse the narrative. Much like the film Sisters (Brian de Palma, 1973), which tells the story of twin sisters with opposite personalities. The film concludes that the screens were actually telling the story of just one girl, but with a split personality.
Tryptich is now used today in numerous media platforms, from the likes of graphics, TV, cinema and the web. My favourite piece is HBO Voyeur (2007).
The session led to the start of one of four mini-briefs. This was to go out and film and edit a Tryptich screen. Myself and two others went on to present the video below the following day.
I like the 180 degree effect that the Triptych gives the audience, I can see this in a nightclub behind a DJ. As well, in an exhibition with the video projected onto walls, and the images on the left and on the right projected on walls that are at an angle to the middle screen, incasing the audience into the narrative.
However, the wobbling in the frames, I feel, makes the Triptych look out of sequence. Either a tripod will have to be used in the future, or it would be interesting to explore if the wobbling was to be increased, what effect it would have on the narrative. Furthermore, with more time it would have been nice to have increased the narrative, using each screen as an individual which then concluded and met up at the end.