Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Effects of Machine Technology on Man

Jeff Rutgard
Man with a Movie Camera: The Effects of Machine Technology on Man

Man with a Movie Camera seems to take place during this peak time of industrialization where new technologies have been created for the first time for work and convenience of mankind. While this text supplies great confusion it also supplies lots of contrasts and range of emotions along with the range of music that is being played during the picture. Man with a Movie Camera shows ultimately the invasion of machines into our modern life and ultimately turning us into machines by our routine movements.

In this industrial age many new machines have been created and the picture shows them at first in flashes such as sewing machine, cash register, telephone, automobile, electric lights and factories just to name a few. These machines are shown separately and with human use to show that they are inanimate without human use. But with human use it appears that are able to do more work that is they're able to do it faster than before with the machine. Now you're seeing humans doing the same work that they've done in the past without machines but instead of doing whatever job they are doing by themselves are able to do a more simplistic part and repeat that part over and over again to achieve their task instead of doing many different tasks to achieve the same goal. This constant repeating like a machine action is turning people into a sense of being one with the machine, a Cine-Eye if you will. The texts shows this a number of ways for instance one way is it shows a dummy one that you would see in the department stores modeling clothes this dummy was using a sewing machine by some sort of stringed contraption showing the dummy sew on the machine as the machine was moving. Then it turned to a clip of a woman using a sewing machine doing the same routine movements back and forth but ultimately doing it faster than by hand. As dummies are models that are supposed to represent human this shows that we're turning into these machines by doing the same monotonous work and having on alive objects to do the same things that we are able to do. The assembly line is another example where were no longer completing a job from start to finish but we're merely a part of the machine completing only one minute detail. Like the picture in the film that had the lens of the camera and the human eye inside looking out showing how we are fusing ourselves with the machine eventually becoming one of them.

Now there were other ways of showing this throughout the film in the way of the music and contradictions to convey emotion. The film's tempo orientated itself around the tempo of the music so when the people were working in factories and the music was fast the people were working fast and when the music was slow the people worked slower. The music we change also on the emotion that is taking place for instance when someone was signing their marriage certificates happy music played and when someone signed divorce papers sad music plays, along with death and rebirth the music changes to the mood. There was also a great angle in contrast when it came to filming the camera usually shot below the people or machines and above the people or machines not usually right at eye level. These often down shots typically depicted the camera towering over the people kind of symbolizing how the machine is ruling the people who are little ants from the perspective of a camera. Another contrast was the idea of working all the time with machines to the idea of rest and exercise. It showed how people tended to gain weight it appeared by working with this machine and been more stagnant since the people were typically sitting down all day and working with their hands like the telephone operators. This led to the difference between people exercising by playing sports or the new thing which was people using machines to lose weight where the machine works and you do not.

This shows how technology has introduced itself into our livelihood and taken over the way we do things by making us more like them instead of the other way around.



Blogger RachelK said...

I tend to agree with the majority of what you argued. I don't necessarily know if the point of the film was to demonstrate how machines invade our lives. What I took away from both the movie and Cine-Eye (both by Vertov) was that Vertov is supremely impressed by the abilities and capacities of film. I agree with your point about the music (although it did not ALWAYS work) but I think Vertov was mainly having fun with the technology that allowed him to do mirror images or unusual shots.

1/28/2007 7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the movie is trying to warn the audience of the danger of technology rather than the way it has invaded our lives. The movie demonstrates how it can invade our life and turn a being into an inanimate object (such as the doll sitting in front of a working sewing machine), but the movie also demonstrates the way technology can enrich our lives (transportation, medicine, etc).

I think the tone of the movie resembles a lot how Vertov approached filming of the movie. It was an experimentation of how one can use a camera to manipulate and direct the cine-eye, but at the same time, it dealt with how one can become immersed within the cine-eye.

1/29/2007 12:18 AM  

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