Shame of a Nation
page 1 |
2 | 3 |
you go into a project like this and think of it only in terms of
pages in a book or scenes from a film, you are missing all of the
power of this new medium. At the same time, there are no written
standards for how to use it in the best way, so it was a real challenge
to create something that was visually strong, content-driven and
accessible - without making it so slick that the look overshadowed
fact, there are few bells and whistles; the most innovative feature
is probably a note-taking utility that allows users to write down
their thoughts and reflections and incorporate them into the content
of the CD-ROM. "The note-taking utility was difficult to create,
but we felt it was very important to include," explains Ricci. "It
gives the ability to open a dialogue, to create a living archive."
issue was how to deal with the documentary film footage. The Hearst
newsreels are pointedly propagandistic and in favor of the incarceration.
In terms of continuity, they are polished, produced with dramatic
music and bombastic narration. In stark contrast, the amateur films
are rough, uneven, without narration, offering mute, often poignant,
images of life as it occurred.
have two sets of film - where is the truth?" Ricci asks. "The amateur
footage provides actual witness to the tragedy, but the newsreels
are polished and slick. They have a completely opposite point of
view and played a huge role in the formation of public opinion at
that time. So how do we show them in relation to one another? How
do we validate them, or do we let them speak for themselves as historical
documents? Do we add a warning label that says this footage represents
a specific point of view and is propaganda?"
latter approach was anathema to Ricci. "I abhor the propaganda of
the newsreels, but I would be loath to go in there and start futzing
around with the content."
deal with the issue, Ricci decided to project the video footage
against a backdrop of still images, faces of Japanese Americans
inside the camps. "These photographs are a reminder of the reality,"
Ricci says. "We put the film within the context of the people who
lived the experience."