Education/or just evidence?

While it’s reasonably easy to define the nub in words, it’s harder to agree on examples – words just have that slippery way of meaning different things to different people. What we agree on is that a nub has to be educational – but this seems to leave us with two areas of contention. Firstly – does the objective of the video detract from its educational value i.e. if its trying to make you buy something or to make you act in a certain way can it still be a nub? Second – how abstract can the message be in a video for it to still qualify as a educational (more here). The video I’ve posted here by Aaron Valdez is a comment on the portrayal of men and women in US advertising – it’s the sort of thing that I think is probably too abstract to qualify as a nub, but i can kind of see a case. i.e. it simultaneously seems a profound way of showing how advertising charicatures gender roles, but yet it kind of leaves you hanging – it’s all evidence and no argument. I found it as an entry in a competition where film-makers had to respond in a short video to the question ‘what is remix culture’ – there are plenty more border line nubs to peruse in the submissions.

The hunt for nubs is the search for a new genre of video making that has emerged from the new communications environment which comprises of more people who can make videos, more organisations and individuals who want them made + audiences who can choose what they do and don’t look at. This fixation that there is something new out there to define leads me to disqualify;

a) anything that feels like the media-art they put on at the ICA
b) anything that feels like it could have been in an ad break on ITV
c) music videos

Maybe it’d be better not to write these off per-se but to acknowledge the roots of the nub in all these genres.  So I guess that means we might have to do a sort of nub history to go alongside the nubonomy.


3 thoughts on “Education/or just evidence?

  1. A tricksy area. It would be interesting to think of examples where something is educational but isn’t trying to get you to think or behave in a different way. There’s probably some distinctions between information, knowledge and value that I don’t currently have the brain power to figure out. Anything that tries to boil something down to its essence is making a judgement about how to frame and narrate the information – nubs subtract, but also abstract. A story is a construction that makes sense of information. How would you nub the Israel-Palestine conflict, for example? They could be educational, but would always be contested and would never just educate. There’s no nub of that debate, and there’s probably no one nb of any debates or story, basically.

    A nub would probably always make you vote differently, more likely to buy particular products, or behave differently, although it might not directly tell you to do so. Maybe they’re all, then, abstract in some respects.

  2. i feel your vibe. as soon as you condense something your value judgments are more likely to be exposed. But just because an issue is framed in a certain way doesn’t mean that the intention is to make the reader *act* in a particular way. I think advertising starts with an idea of a behaviour it wants to see happen, i think something which is more educational just wants to sow a thought – which is the role of the nub. After thinking about your comment I did a post about this which expands on these ideas a bit more.

  3. The reason why I think this video isn’t a nub is because it’s a bit rubbish to be frank! It’s a string of images cut together by an editor who is trying to make them mean something (i.e. some kind of commentary on how gender stereotypes are used in advertising) but they’re just too random. There is no semantic narrative making sense of the collection of imagery used, the order that they have been put in, and the relation that each cut has with the other cuts. Sure there is the slightly off-beat James Brown cover in the background, and the way the images have been synced with the tune in some bits. I think that is the only good thing about this vid though. The images and the music just don’t go in terms of the actual feel, and I don’t think that the idea behind this video has been successfully realised. The whole thing is just too literal and you have to impose some meaning/analysis on it that isn’t already there to make it even remotely interesting.

    Here’s a video (or, dare I say, a nub) about semantics that might help ‘illuminate’ what I am saying here (beware, he’s a bit pompous, but who says we have to like the idea/person behind a nub?):

    But screw that, lets MAKE nubs! I think I might finally turn that powerpoint I made light years ago into a film, which would be a start (?).

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