Monday, September 10, 2007

A YouTube movie is worth a thousand words...

A friend posted some cool short clips from Beijing. Sometimes, the only knowledge we have of something or someone comes from movies. It used to come from books, but with technology, perception and imagination changed. Now, the only problem with movies is that they are inescapably shaped by the collective imaginaries of the crew.

With Web 2.0 and applications such as YouTube, everyone can make a movie and share it. In theory, there will be a diversity of perspectives, turning old stereotypes obsolete. I thought about this while watching my friend's clips. The Beijing I know is a fuzzy mixture of images and words in my mind. Without knowing what I expected, I was still surprised by what I saw.

The surprise puzzled me. Why is it there? What did I expect to see? And why? Can we see something without any expectation? Are we white pages inscribed with meanings as we grow up, or are our minds born out of the meanings we come to learn?

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