Why Flickr Fascinates Me

Self Portrait on the Pier 1
Originally uploaded by jea9.

I have to admit that I am a much better interpreter than ideator. I may be able to, on occasion, come up with something clever, but I don’t always have ideas on-tap. What I CAN do, however, is interpret … or re-interpret.

When I was at university I loved directing plays. I was fascinated by the sinewy language that playwrights would use to convey meaning, emotion and space on a stage. I thrilled at the way some writers could make words leap off the page and race around my mind. But most importantly, I found a sort of addiction in interpreting texts for performance.

As I would read, my mind would begin to race. I would find real world connections, links to events or situations, or cross-references to other texts. And the more obscure the text, the more interesting I found it. Then, in searching for ways to explain these problem texts to an audience, I would seek out new contexts that would turn the text into words that an actor could roll around their tongue and bring to life.

I was Hamlet. I stood on the shore and talked to the surf. BLAH BLAH.
— Heiner Muller, The Hamletmachine.

And when I started researching a sensational perfomance piece by Heiner Muller, I found that images and texts could collide. That there was something spectacular in a text that could do this … and that an audience could be held in thrall as it happened.

When I was re-reading Russell Davies’ post on interestingness (repaying my blog debt), I stopped on the first point. Take at least one picture everyday. Post it to Flickr. I DO love photography … but I find that I am much more interested in finding other people’s photos and re-interpreting them. For example, writing this post, I was looking for a self-portrait … and the shot above reminded me of the name of this blog and what it is like to write under a pseudonym — servantofchaos. You feel a little bit invisible — but there in the shadows.

But the best part about Flickr is that there is soooo much material ready for interpretation. And in a Web 2.0 world, where context is king, content still speaks baby … as long as you have the ears to listen.

Now only NINE more points of interestingness to work through … should be finished about March next year!


2 thoughts on “Why Flickr Fascinates Me

  1. Flickr is amazing. I get lost in it.
    Am in a fit of BSP today. The point you make about interpretation/playwriting/acting is thrilling to me, especially since I blogged today about an NPR interview of Actor James Woods. I’m completely obsessed with this interview…it’s fascinating, especially this point he makes about memorizing lines. He was saying that he’s always floored by the ability of waiters to memorize bad writing (the specials of the day, truffle oil, parmesan, etc.) because the memorization of great playwriting is so simple. Partly, he says, because of the construction and the beauty of the language but also because the points are connected logically; in great playwriting the lines of dialog go together as they actually would in real conversation. Hence they’re easy to remember. Anyway, nice post.
    Here’s the interview link, if you want it: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6124422&ft=1&f=13

  2. I have to admit that I am CRAP at memorising lines (even if they are great ones). When I used to perform, everyone was scared as I would forget my lines and just ad-lib. But I COULD remember my cues … so I would ramble for a bit and then throw to the next person. As an actor, I was a good director (plus I had the face for behind the scenes;) ).

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