“Story of Stuff” and Phenemonolgy

This is my first attempt of trying to do critical analysis of storytelling over the internet using a phenomenological approach. One of the specific examples that I have been inspired by has been “The Story of Stuff“. Prof Eli Blevis introduced us to this short 20-minute video in one of his classes last semester and it looks at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. It was an introduction to me about the issues of mass-consumerism and sudden surge of interest in the topics of sustainable design and living.

I have watched this video a few times now, though I have not done a closed reading of it yet. However there are a few things that have struck me – the sketches illustrating the artifacts used in the video are animated and constantly flickers (probably to emphasize the state of urgency and importance to concentrate on sustainability), the presenter makes use of a large number of facts while trying to make her argument, the camera focus changes a lot from the presenter onto the sketches or drawings.

To develop a phenomenological account of this video, I have thought of the following approach: to do a closed reading of the video and look for connections or patterns in the video. Analyze how these patterns affect the way viewers perceive the video. What were the directors intention behind them?

Also, in order to develop a deeper understanding of how viewers create meaning out of this video, I am thinking of looking into blogs, discussion forums and other available resources where viewers might have expressed their thoughts about this video.

These are just my very initial thoughts of how I think about approaching this problem. What do you think? I am looking forward to hear others feedback on this.


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