Backstage: Transmuting the mobile phone video into art, based on the concept of Japanese short poetry

 

Author: Kaihei Hase
Format: Experimental
Duration: 46 seconds
Published: December 2016


Research Statement

Criteria
The research examines the expressive possibilities found in new technology in mobile phone video recording, namely, the new ‘language of the art’ through film production. Here, I will outline my method of approaching such production.

The world’s first mobile phone with an integrated camera went on sale in 2000. Produced by Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp, this achievement earned the SH-04 registration at the National Museum of Nature and Science as ‘Essential Historical Material for Science and Technology’ in 2014. The SH-04 camera could shoot only still photos, but as camera functions accompanying mobile phones became the norm, those functions expanded to include video recording as well. As a result, creators emerged who produced video works specifically with their mobile phones. These videos began a trend that ultimately led to the world’s first film festival for films produced on mobile phones, which opened in France in 2005 (see Festival Pocket films website), with Japan’s first such festival following in 2007 (Pocket Films Festival in Japan home page). According to these festivals’ Web pages, the festivals were held to ‘[support] audio-visual creation with mobile technologies and innovative means of artistic expression’ (Festival Pocket homepage) and to ‘cultivate a new and creative field of expression’ (Pocket Films Japan homepage). Thus, novelty of expression is not brought about exclusively by the creative activities of individual artists but by changes in technology as well.

James Monaco pointed out that ‘[t]he technical determinant governs the language of the art’ (Monaco 1981, 32), citing as an example how the possibilities of different forms of painting have different limitations based on the type of paints used. An instance in film and video history where technology has transformed the ‘language of the art’ would be the advent of the ‘talkies’, or sound films. The arrival of talkies on the scene drastically changed artistic expression in films. Rather than merely banishing silent films from the mainstream of cinematic expression, talkies radically altered cinematic expression itself – for example, with the appearance of ‘directors who worked with Rex Ingram, Marshall Neilan, and the others in the final days of silent film, but whose styles differed’ (Deguchi 2004, 72).

Research Questions
The year after the SH-04 came on the market, J-Phone (now SoftBank) launched a service for sending photos by mobile phone under the name ‘Sha-mail’, and mobile phone camera functions spread rapidly (Matsuda 2012,34).

In 2006, six years after the advent of the world’s first mobile phone with a built-in camera, approximately 90% of all mobile phones in Japan were camera phones (Ministry of Internal Affairs 2007), making the mobile phone penetration rate effectively the same as the penetration rates for video and still image cameras. In that same year, 85.3% of Japanese households owned at least one mobile phone (Cabinet Office 2015), so it is fair to conclude that camera functions had been integrated into the living environment – in other words, that they had become part of the landscape.

The newness of creative expression via the recording functions that are newly assimilated into our lives manifests in the very fact that we question what sorts of expressions to use them for. We interrogate them as an ‘innovative means of artistic expression’ (Festival Pocket Films webpage) and as having ‘the potential for expression with the mobile telephone as brand new art medium’ (Pocket Films Festival webpage).

Having these recording functions as a part of everyday life has greatly changed the relationship between cameras and people. Until the appearance of camera phones, it was normal for people to prepare their cameras deliberately before shooting situations or subjects, such as those in commemorative vacation photos. However, since the arrival of the SH-04, many people find themselves carrying a camera around as a matter of course, which is always ready to begin shooting. In other words, camera functions have been integrated into our living environment.

Convinced that using footage shot with these recording functions to create a film would best reveal the possibilities of the newness of mobile phone expression, I began making a film for this project.

The haikai is one form of Japanese short poetry. The term itself is composed of Japanese characters that connote mischief, jesting, and humour.

Haikai poetry originated as a departure from the renga form (see Note 1). At the time haikai was born, renga was enjoyed as ‘an art form made up of thoroughly classical sensibilities’ (Konishi 1995, 38). Haikai incorporated Chinese loan words and slang as a way to deviate formally from renga. Haikai was a way to play around by adding precisely the words which were not part of the classical Japanese aesthetic: foreign words and relatively recent additions to the lexicon, like slang. All this is to say that haikai arose from a playful context.

By way of analogy, the camera functions on mobile phones are often referred to as ‘gadgets’. One meaning of gadget is a device which appears useful without being of any real use, and just as the name suggests, when camera functions first came to mobile phones, they were not seen within the world of cinematic expression as tools for producing works of art. The reason for that lay in functionality problems. For example, the SH-04 had roughly 110,000 pixels, which was only about 1/30th the number of pixels of the main single-lens digital still cameras on the market in 2000. Thus, the analogy is clear between this use of non-mainstream elements to make films and the way haikai came into being.

I also paid attention to the playfulness in haikai’s origins. As Huizinga (1955, 1) said, ‘Play is older than culture’. Playfulness is the mother of culture, and haikai was born of that mother. Because filmmaking with mobile phone cameras also means tackling new types of expression by using the new part of our living environment that constitutes assimilated recording functionality, play is very useful in this new venture. Huizinga also held that play has a ‘profoundly aesthetic quality’ (2); thus, I judged the element of playfulness as appropriate to include in the concept of this film in searching for a new ‘language of the art’. It has been commented that the true joy of the art of linked verse, of which haikai is one form, lies in its ‘disorder within order’ (Horikiri 2002, 8) and the way it ‘proceeds through unpredictable developments’ (Horikiri 2002, 12). what shapes the order that contains the disorder is the vessel of the haikai form.

In the case of haikai, rather than new ideas about expression giving birth to a format, haikai thinking was built on the platform of the renga format. Accordingly, this project also needed a set form of expression on which to build its new expression. The ‘ren’ character in ‘renga’ means ‘link’, and the renga form that became the basis of haikai is the whole of a set of linked verses. A renga is a poem created by multiple people, with stanzas in 5-7-5 and 7-7 syllable patterns as its structure. Taken on its own, the 5-7-5 unit at the beginning of a renga is called the hokku. The hokku would later develop into the haiku, and it was sometimes enjoyed on its own, as the haiku is.

This project does not use base materials, like the linked verses in a haikai, to establish its form. As mentioned before, simply copying the poetic structure of the haikai is not an effective way to find a new ‘language of the art’. Thus, for this project I set aside the perspective of form to return to the root artistic effort.

  1. G. Collingwood (1958, 299) once wrote about art and form: ‘Subject without style is barbarism; style without subject is dilettantism. Art is the two together’. In other words, form is both useful and useless to art; depending on the circumstances, it can be gauche or dilettantish; it can contain all of those traits regardless of circumstances. From this perspective, I decided that rather than establishing an expressive form strictly parallel to haikai, I would take the concepts from haikai and haikai that involve thinking about expression into account. Reasoning from the playful context that spawned haikai, I would deviate from haikai’s form in an attempt to establish one that would be gauche and dilettantish.

Background
This study approached film production by incorporating the concept of haikai renga (hereafter ‘haikai’), a poetic form which developed from the traditional Japanese waka. In his discussion of the nature of the states of film and haikai, Terada Torahiko points out the commonalities between them from the montage standpoint (Terada 1950). Indeed, there is a strong affinity between film and haikai. This is why I decided to apply the concept of haikai to a work that uses the video recording function, which is a secondary feature of the mobile phone.

I first tried using tanka, a poetic form similar to haikai, to tackle my film project. I chose tanka because haikai is a complex literary format wherein multiple stanzas are linked together, and I wanted to simplify my model. A tanka is a five-line poem composed in a 5-7-5-7-7 syllable pattern, generally on the topic of emotions that arise when a person is out in nature or during everyday life. Like haikai, tanka often deals with everyday themes, and I felt that is way of sublimating everyday perspectives into art would be instructive to my filmmaking efforts.

Given that 5- and 7-syllable lines are distinctive of tanka, in the beginning I tried to make something that conformed to those syllable sets. However, no matter how much I tried using language-based syllable combinations as video, it always turned into a ‘movie about tanka’ or a ‘music video set to a tanka’. I could not complete the film – nor could I see in those attempts any expressive features that could be considered unique to mobile phones.

Thus, I determined that importing the structure of the antecedent expressions of tanka or haikai into my film could not achieve a new ‘language of the art’. I therefore applied not haikai form, per se, but rather certain concepts of haikai and haikai to think about expression in my filmmaking in order to seek the possibility of a new ‘language of the art’.

My directing works that adopt the same concept of the practice are as follows.

Double time’ , iPhone5, 1min, 2014

Hydroscope’, iPhone5, 30sec, 2013

Nekohai’, iPhone5, 1min, 2013

System Age‘, iPhone3GS, 1min, 2012

Roku jo no kotoba’, Nokia N73, 30sec, 2010, (under the name of Tumbomi koukou)

Methods
I began the filmmaking project with the idea that BACKSTAGE would be my equivalent of a hokku, because every haikai begins with a hokku. For haikai-like expression converted into visual expression, I used Caillois’s six-point definition of ‘play’ (Caillois 2001, pp.9–10):

  • 1) Free
  • 2) Separate
  • 3) Uncertain
  • 4) Unproductive
  • 5) Governed by rules
  • 6) Make-believe

Caillois (2001, 5) observed that ‘[a] characteristic of play, in fact, is that it creates no wealth or goods’. This project has the goal of producing a work of art that contradicts the unproductive aspect of ‘play’ as defined in (4) above. Therefore, all I did was incorporate an element of playfulness; the film itself is not play.

Based on the fifth item on Caillois’s list (play is governed by rules), I began by laying down rules as regards setting the form for my film. This step also enabled me to incorporate the elements already discussed. By making all of the items in the above mentioned list (except for the ‘unproductive’ one) into rules to incorporate this definition of play into the film, I increased the film’s playfulness.

As the goal of the project was to explore the cinematic expression of mobile phone recording functions, I firstly set the rule that all footage used must be shot on a mobile phone. Next, I set down rules for what the footage should be like. The core concept of this project is to use footage shot with ‘recording functions assimilated into our lives’. Accordingly, I decided to use only material depicting subjects of everyday interest, shot with no interference from me and without a picture of the final cut of the film already in my mind. In short, I decided not to draft a screenplay or storyboard for the final product before I started filming.

Given these conditions, I then set the rules necessary for producing work that conveys haikai-like expression. As stated earlier, haikai is ‘disorder within order’ (Horikiri 2002, 8) that ‘proceeds through unpredictable developments’ (12). Furthermore, ‘nonnarrative expression’ (Konishi 1995, 27) is considered the core principle of haikai and haiku.

The inclusion of elements of disorder resulted in unpredictable developments, and consequently, I decided to use only pieces of footage that did not have internal narrativity. Thus, I cleared away the narrative order and descriptive possibilities that spring from the editing of individual storylines for each element. Nevertheless, if one rejects narrative altogether, the work will ultimately not express anything at all and will have no meaning as a creative act. Haikai is non-narrative because it ‘express[es] worlds that cannot be expressed through narrative, worlds beyond narrative’ (Konishi 1995, 289). Meanwhile, a work edited from pieces of footage divested of narrativity may end up being characterised by pure disorder. As a foothold to expressing a world beyond narrative, I included a rule to add a non-narrative soundtrack to the video during the post-editing stage, and I planned formal reinforcements so that the film would be expression beyond narrative.

Rules for the work’s final form
I set rules for the work’s final form as well, to ensure that the analogical relationship to haikai would be recognisable. The main idea of this film was to create it with not only haikai but also the hokku portion. In terms of form, the hokku of a haikai ends after 17 syllables in a 5-7-5 pattern. Throughout the ages, it has developed into the haiku. More than a few poets and scholars describe the haiku as the world’s shortest poetic form. Shortness is what distinguishes the haiku form, as well as the hokku after which it was modelled.

I could not ignore this brevity if I wanted to make BACKSTAGE successful as a hokku analogue. In general, shorter film works are referred to as ‘short films’ and longer ones as ‘feature films’, and these two types are further classified in film festivals. The classification of the two differs depending on the festival. The Berlin International Film Festival’s webpage, for instance, designates films with runtimes of 30 minutes or less as short films, and those 70 minutes or longer as feature films. At a minimum, all film festivals measure runtime in minutes (see Note 3). Therefore, to make brevity a distinction of this film, I formally restricted the runtime to less than one minute.

‘Rules of playfulness’
I increased playfulness by incorporating the principles of (1) freedom and (2) separateness into the project as explicit rules, in addition to the production-related rules above. Specifically, freedom was expressed as the principle of not filmmaking under circumstances wherein doing so was obligatory, whereas separateness was expressed in the rule of placing limits on the time and space involved.

Uncertainty, a crucial element of playfulness, is the essence of this project, because its principle is a haikai-like procession ‘through unpredictable developments’ (Horikiri 2002, 12). Meanwhile, the ‘second reality against real life’ (Caillois 2001, 10) denoted by ‘makebelieve’ is inherent in all creative acts. With consideration for these points, I did not formulate specific rules for uncertainty or make believe.

Putting together all of the aforementioned rules gives us this list:

  • Include only footage shot with a mobile phone.
  • Do not shoot with the final cut of the film already in mind.
  • Do not create a screenplay or storyboard.
  • Use footage without narrativity.
  • Give the film sound, but do not allow the sound to narrate the edited video.
  • Limit the runtime to less than one minute.
  • Make filmmaking a freely chosen act.
  • Place limits on time and space, and produce the film within these limits.

Audio
As I had given myself the rule that I would add narration of a text, I had to produce an audio track for the film. If the narration would be added in the final cut of the video, however, the film would stray from its concept and fail. To avoid this risk, I used the aesthetic of waka, the precursor to haikai, as a way of creating the right form of text.

Shirasu Masako, opening with words borrowed from Yamamoto Kenkichi, stated, ‘Substanceless doesn’t simply mean without substance. We’re accustomed to today’s modern literature, so when we hear the word substance, what naturally comes to our minds are things like meaning, or ideas, or consciousness, or philosophy; substanceless here is meant in a context where substance is chiefly thought of as those sorts of things’, and when those sorts of things are all taken away, the good wine that spontaneously fills the emptied vessel is what Chōkū regarded as the sublime culmination of tanka. It flows pleasantly, like music, and after it fades away, the richness of an inexhaustible spring remains. Chōkū dubbed that the ‘extemporaneity’ of tanka. (Shirasu 1997)

To make the text ‘spontaneously fill the emptied vessel’, I watched the edited video repeatedly until I reached a state devoid of any impressions of or thoughts about it. I then transcribed my resulting stream of consciousness as text, clearing away narrativity in relation to the video while maintaining a certain aesthetic sense.

Finally, I kept inflection changes in my voiceover to a minimum to ensure contrast between the audio and the video and thus draw viewers’ attention to the visual rhythm I established during editing.

Editing
I approached editing from graphic and rhythmic perspectives as a deliberate strategy to avoid narrative editing.

According to Bordwell and Kristin (2009, 225), editing offers the filmmaker four basic areas of choice and control:

  1. Graphic relations between shot A and shot B
  2. Rhythmic relations between shot A and shot B
  3. Spatial relations between shot A and shot B
  4. Temporal relations between shot A and shot B

An example of a narrative editing style is continuity editing, which involves a style that ‘seeks to present a story’ (Bordwell and Thompson 2009, 236), achieved ‘chiefly through the handling of space and time [such] that editing furthers narrative continuity’ (236). In other words, the continuity style uses two of the four editing dimensions, namely, spatial relations and temporal relations; hence, these types of edits are inappropriate to this project and must be eliminated.

Graphic relations in film editing imply viewing ‘patterns of light and dark, line and shape, volumes and depths, movement and stasis’ (Bordwell and Thompson 2009, 225) from an editing standpoint ‘independent of the shots’ relation to the time and space of the story’ (225). Using this approach, ‘editing together any two shots permits the interaction, through similarity and difference, of the purely pictorial qualities of those two shots’ (226). Editing rhythmic relationships relates to the ‘patterning of shot lengths’ (230). Rhythmic effects are achieved when ‘the filmmaker adjusts the length of the shots in relation to one another’ (230). Thus, I set about editing BACKSTAGE with special attention to the graphic and rhythmic relationships between shots.

Outcomes
As a project that sheds light on a new ‘language of the art’, it has achieved a certain degree of success, based on objective evaluations and other means.

Dissemination
Funding – ‘BACKSTAGE’ was funded by myself.

Where has ‘BACKSTAGE’ been shown? – Girona Film Festival (2016, Spain), Berlin Experimental Film Festival (2016, German), Largo Film Awards (2016, World), Toronto Smartphone Film Festival (2016, Canada), LA Underground Film Forum (2016, United States), Blacklight Film + Video Series (2016, United States), ICARO Festival Internacional de Cine (2016, Guatemala), Flying Frame Film Festival (2016, United States), New Short Film Festival at UNCG (2016, United States), Experimental Superstars (2015, Serbia).

Note

1) A renga is a form of linked-verse poem created by multiple people, who alternate stanzas in 5-7-5 and 7-7 syllable patterns.

References

Bordwell, David, and Kristin Thompson. 2009. Film Art: An Introduction. 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Cabinet Office, Government of Japan. 2015. “Syuyō taikyū shō hizai no fukyū ritsu [Penetration Rate of Consumer Durables].” Accessed June 23 2015. http://www.esri.cao.go.jp/jp/stat/shouhi/2015/201503fukyuritsu.xls

Caillois, Roger. (1961) 2001. Man, Play and Games. Translated by Meyer Barash. Reprint, Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Collingwood, Robin George. 1958. The Principles of Art. New York: Oxford University Press.

Deguchi, Takehito. 2004. Eiga eizōshi. Tokyo: Shogakukan.

Horikiri, Minoru. 2002. Hyōgen to shite no haikai. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.

Huizinga, Johan. (1950) 1955. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture. Reprint, Boston: Beacon Press.

Konishi, Jin’ichi. 1995. Haiku no sekai [The World of Haiku]. Tokyo: Kodansha.

Matsuda, Misa. 2012. “Kētai no tanjō [The Birth of Keitai].” In Kētai shakairon [Understanding Keitai Society: Mobile Communication and Society], edited by Okada Tomoyuki and Matsuda Misa. Tokyo: Yuhikaku.

Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. 2007. “Mobile business kenkyū kai hō kokusho (an) sankō shiryō.”Accessed June 23 2015. http://www.soumu.go.jp/main_sosiki/joho_tsusin/policyreports/chousa/mobile/pdf/070829_si9_8.pdf

Monaco, James. 1981. How to Read a Film. Rev. ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Schleser, Max. “The Mobile Wave.” Accessed June 23 2015. http://culturevisuelle.org/corazonada/2010/09/11/themobile-wave/

Shirasu, Masako. 1997. Hana ni monoomou haru, 63. Tokyo: Heibonsha.

Terada, Torahiko. 1950. “Eiga geijutsu [Film Art].” In Vol. 3 of Terada torahiko zenshū : bungakuhen, 491-539. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.


Peer Reviews

All reviews refer to original research statements which have been edited in response to what follows:

Review 1: Accept work subject to minor revisions of statement

Backstage began with the interesting premise of bringing together film shot on a mobile phone and the poetics of the haiku form. The choice of images was intriguing and the combination of sound and image, intended as playful, was fairly bewildering.

The extreme brevity of the film meant this viewer was struggling to understand, then was frustrated by, the film which ended before meaning could be deciphered. I used a number of strategies to attempt to understand. The first was to see it as an art piece, in the context of the internet and as part of a hunter/gatherer collection of disparate images. The second was to see it in the context of the filmmaker’s statement and rationale. The third was to see it in the context of other work by the maker.

Finally, I also tried some analysis of the sound, subtitle text and images.

As an art piece it reminded me somewhat of the work of Jon Rafman, whose collection of images harvested from the far corners of the internet has resulted in some equally strange juxtapositioning of images. The absence of narrative, and the challenge of deciphering meaning is a similar challenge in Rafman’s work. While montage can be enormously satisfying, for example Manhatten by Paul Strand, the formalist rigour there could have been usefully translated here. However, this is trying to be playful so the combination of images can be seen as approaching humour. Six shots in 45 seconds should allow for a certain rhythm and perhaps a revealing of what the advantages are of filming with the camera in your mobile phone. The sequence of images did not appear to have much reason to be in the chosen order, and although the deer on the city streets was haunting, the meaning was obscure. Or perhaps I am on the wrong track looking for meaning?

The filmmaker’s statement helped me to understand the context more. The playfulness of the poem was explained well. My ignorance about Haikkai, and indeed, all forms of Japanese poetry, meant that I found it hard to appreciate the relationship between the text and the images. My lack of understanding of Japanese resulted in my ears being hit with an onslaught of unintelligibility, at super fast speed. I found this off putting rather than exciting, irritating rather than mysterious, too clever for its own sake.

However I was entranced by the sequence of images and the possibility that the entire piece is representative of image making today. The brevity, the post modern approach to meaning, the clash of sound and culture, all held some fascination.

I looked at another piece of work by Kaihe Hase – System Age. This was consistent with the style of Backstage and followed similar trends. There was a montage of images, also there was a hectic Japanese voiceover and also subtitles that were poorly translated and disappeared too fast so reading became a type of anti-cognitive exercise.

However, it was evidence of a consistent body of work and a commitment to a certain type of short film. What was also persuasive was the list of festivals where the work has ben shown. This attests to a real audience for this type of film.

Therefore I am over-riding my initial reaction to the film as confusing and I am going to trust that this was intentional.

I have given this a ‘solid but not outstanding’ rating.

I assume the edit of the piece is pleasing to you. The six scenes in the forty six second sequence are:

Shot 1 – high angle city lights at night LS

Shot 2 – a jelly fish against a blue environment

Shot 3 – high angle shot of a young deer walking on pavement

Shot 4 – buildings at lakeside, high angle, pan

Shot 5 – A window from the inside looking out onto an industrial chimney and blue sky

Shot 6 – Pavement with ants CU

If you read this sequence as a list, does it imply what you hoped for?

I can’t comment on the voiceover except as a sound effect. As such it was interesting. Was the speed of the voice intentional?

Subtitles

“The time is over when everyone could gain some success

By getting to a metropolis with holding dream

It does not exist in the first place rather than saying it is over.

Basically, those who can do make it, and those who cannot do not.

Man only floats.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Jellyfish– — — — –

Just wandering.

It is not evil to float or wander in life.

It is time of nothing useful omitted in fiction.

Deer shot– — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

That occupies most of our daily life.

Every day is something like a consecutive voyage –

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Water bay — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

For those who spend days full of reality—

We cannot know when we reach somewhere

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Window shot — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

When we think we have arrived , we have to wait.

Namely,

Waiting time and time for nothing are the very extremity of reality.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Ants on pavement — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Too much working gets rid of reality from daily life,

And it is the moment that life turns into a fiction.”

The revisions I would suggest are as follows:

I can’t tell if this text of the subtitles is deliberately quirky, or if it is lack of knowledge of the English language. This is unsettling, but I can’t decide if the unsettling effect is deliberate. If it is, then more should be written about unheimlichkeit. Is your intention to write text that doesn’t make sense?

I would like to read more about the thinking behind your decision making. Although this has been very well documented in general, I would like to understand how the decision making process guided the making of the piece, and how intentional the confusing aspects were.

Finally, in spite of the frustrations, I enjoyed this work.

Review 2: Invite resubmission with re-edit of work and/or statement

The notion of video haiku has a considerable history and cultural currency, as does the concept of film-making using a mobile phone, so not sure how this paper is presenting or reporting on “new knowledge” in its current form. The more specific attempt to adopt strategies from Hikai and Renga are perhaps moving into more original territory, but I feel this aspect would benefit from further development and discussion, with examples of how this approach is adopted within the author’s film/video work. I’m similarly not convinced about the rigour with which the concepts have been applied to film making activity. For example the collaborative aspect of Renga is not mentioned, and I would expect this to be a significant idea that could be very relevant to the activity of film making. I do think the connection between the use of the mobile phone camera and this kind of literary activity is interesting and worth further exploration and in this respect the project has some relevance and value.

It is hard to judge the impact of the ideas identified given the brevity of the film work under discussion, but based on the information within the text and this is of very limited interest and would need revision and resubmission, with more in-depth exploration of the visual (and sonic) contents of the work(s) under discussion, and their value and significance. There is also a sense that the rules derived from Japanese poetry as applied to the film-making under consideration are somewhat arbitrary and of limited formal significance. It could well be that the work is very innovative and interesting to experience, but this is not apparent from reading this paper.

I also worry about the claim that this process is about making “art” in any sense, as it does not attempt in any way to contextualise the film work under discussion in relation to any other moving image work made using ideas from Japanese poetry or any other films that explore the idea of using mobile phone camera techniques or applications, even though identifying that there IS a context insofar as the author mentions that there are numerous international festivals specifically for this kind of work. I feel that the paper would need to set out this aspect at the outset in order to identify the value or significance of the work under discussion. The paper gives the impression that the author is unaware of the context of the work they have produced, and/or somehow feels this is unimportant or irrelevant, which I’m sure is not the case.

In terms of its appropriateness for Screenworks, this is hard for me to judge, but feel it is likely to score no better than average to weak, given the tenor and scope of my comments above. The writing style is generally good although there are a few small errors and grammatical mistakes, of course all are easily corrected.

In general, I would not advise publication of this paper in its current form, but I would like to encourage the author to revisit the idea, and try to consider the points raised.

All reviews refer to original research statements which have been edited in response.

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