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05 September 2009 @ 11:31 am
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We are in a theater and before us hangs an enormous, prestine white screen. When the house lights dim, we are shown several shots: a shark fin moving from screen left to screen right, a girl treading water quickly turns her head, then a cut to red, murky water.
We conclude that a shark attack has taken place, but why? The fin could have been anywhere, the girl wasn't necessarily swimming with the shark, and the red water may as well have been cherry Kool-Aid.
However, the human brain tries to make sense of the images shown together; we try to come to some conclusion about what the information, layered "on top" of one another, means. Separately, the images mean nothing.
A shark swimming...so what?
A girl treading water. Who cares?
Red liquid of some kind. Maybe an interesting visual but beyond that it may as well be blue liquid.
Together, however, and almost in any order, the images mean something. This is the basic principle behind Eisenstein's theory of montage.