Saturday, January 24, 2009

Violating the aesthetic distance in the Australian blogosphere

This week has been one of drama in the local, vocal, and maybe even a little parochial, blogosphere. We've heard allegations of deceit and accusations of bad hairstyles. And we've witnessed a tearful plea from Zac Martin, defender of the digitally free and one Seth Godin.

This same week I happened to be re-reading David Mamet's book on the movie business Bambi vs Godzilla (I've written about it previously here). Specifically, I've been reading the chapter Aesthetic Distance.

In the context of film, aesthetic distance is "the name for that condition whose existence allows the audience to suspend its judgement (to in effect lower its guard) in return for receipt of a specialized experience."

It is in effect, the degree of our involvement in the story.

A "violation of the aesthetic distance" occurs when we are "yanked out of the drama"; when something ruptures our engagement with the story and in effect reminds us that this is a film, and they are actors. It's the point when we can no longer suspend our disbelief.

I think this week has seen both the creation and violation of aesthetic distance but I'm still looking forward to the next chapter in the Australian blogosphere.


Craig Wilson said...

That's pretty funny Kate. I certainly had to suspend disbelief a few times in the last few weeks whilst reading the Aussie blogoshpere. But its been immensely entertaining.

Katie Harris said...

What a truly wonderful and apposite description Kate!

Craig - agree; hugely entertaining indeed. : P

dirkthecow said...

aesthetic distance....*makes a note of it and tags it on delicious so he can use it next time he wants to sound clever*