Blank on Blank

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This is a really interesting use of interpretive media. Recordings of famous people are transformed into animated mini-stories. I watched the Leonard Cohen piece “Leonard Cohen on Moonlight”. I found the visual interpretation really intriguing. The cartoon characters portray the events in the story. Most of this story involved Cohen reading his 1964 poem “Two Went to Sleep”. I’ve always loved Cohen’s singing voice, but his speaking voice is just lovely. He has a very calm, even tone that’s very soothing to listen to. This was actually an interview, but became something of a matryoshka doll, as there was a story inside the story. After he reads “Two Went to Sleep” he recounts the story of “The Sisters of Mercy”, the two women who took him in on a snowy night in Edmonton.

 

This relates to the point I made last week about how we use our imagination to create a visual context and construct meaning when we listen to an aural presentation. I kind of wish I’d listened to the recording first to note the differences in what I constructed versus what the animators constructed. It’s an interesting concept to fill in the blanks with visual content. I’m not a huge fan of animation, but this was done really well and in an interesting style.

 

This connects to the theme of copyright in that they are re-purposing existing content. I think this easily falls under the ‘fair use” umbrella as its purpose is primarily education (it’s PBS). But what’s interesting about this particular piece is that- back to the Russian nesting dolls- there’s copyrighted material embedded in copyrighted material. The recording is a PBS interview made in 1974, and Cohen is reading one of his poems.

 

I think these Blank-On-Blank pieces are great educational tools and a great way to connect kids with past historical figures. The visuals create a modern, relatable context. And not just for kids, I think most adults would appreciate these stories and gain a richer understanding of the figure and their significance in history.

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