Sensitivity to performance
As we became sensitised to nuances it should also be realised that the guides themselves generated an understanding of us. At different times they referred to us as BBC ("Bruce, Bella and Camera") and frequently incorporated references to us while performing tours. It became quickly noticable to us that some of the guides saw us as a context for performance. One interesting example of this concerns some footage which was incorporated into an introductory montage for the EHE.
In the left window, below, is a video excerpt from our observation of a guide as he "blacked-up" in preparation for the day ahead. Responding to questions, the guide then sang for us. In and of itself, the fact that he sung, his choice of song and the context in which he sang provided important insights to us. It is possible that this might still have occurred without the camera being present but the camera is an important factor in how, why and when he performed.
Later, when we had decided on the importance of having a mandatory introductory sequence to the EHE, we realised that this recording could play a key role. The introductory sequence, itself, consists of a mixture of archival film and our own material that is presented alongside the soundtrack of the guide singing. At the very end, a piece of speech is cut in where a young visitor is filmed putting on a helmet in preparation for the underground experience while the guide says "you're going to see a big, dirty old miner now." Throughout the filming, the guides constantly stressed how "dirty" the workplace was compared to the mines in which they used to work.
The montage was, then, designed to accomplish two ends. It is a teaser which foreshadows later themes and it acts as a 'hook' to generate interest in the viewer. Its role as the latter means that we needed to make the video interesting hence the intercutting of visuals and choice of what is an extremely well performed song. The song itself allied to visuals of mining, the research site, a guide walking to work and another guide blacking up, hints at the transformations theme which we would return to later.
|Source Material||Introductory Montage|
|Click the image to play the video. Note that the montage video is fairly poore quality due to several factors. Most notably, the archive film was captured with an analogue card and then, when it was created in 1999, used poorer compression techniques than are available today.|