The person who wrote the script for this documentary used a sort of ‘show-and-tell’ technique. One example is the narrator’s repetition of the phrase “this is John Baledessari’s…” something… and he showed whatever was said to you. This technique was used in the very beginning: “This is John Baledessari’s pencil. This is John Baledessari’s chair. This is what John Baledessari sees when he sits down at his desk. This is a film about John Baledessari, the artist.”
I call it a show-and-tell technique because it reminds me of something young children do, especially during show-and-tell in elementary school. Instead of using words to explain how a Nerf gun works, children will explain that one pushes a button and “it does this” (they show you what the toy does – a rubber/foam dart shoots out of it – instead of explaining that a dart shoots out of the front of the toy gun).
Even when the narrator wasn’t saying “this is John Baledessari’s…” whatever, everything was still shown as it was briefly explained.
And instead of explaining John Baledessari’s thoughts and opinions on things, clips of Baledessari interjecting comments (as his life and things about it were explained and presented to the world) were shown. My favorite example:
Narrator: John Baledessari’s name is internationally recognized.
John Baledessari: Cool.
Narrator: Ladies think his name sounds sexy.
John Baledessari: I-I can live with that.
That really didn’t have much to do with Baledessari’s art career or his impact on the art world, but it was included anyway… because it’s funny. It’s the writer’s way of introducing Baledessari’s humor and personality into the documentary without showing a long clip of him talking about himself (which isn’t usually a good way to introduce somebody – most people act differently when talking about themselves) – this was only a six minute video, after all.
This documentary is an introduction. We, the viewers, were introduced to a guy named John Baledessari. We were introduced to his things, his art, his life, his personality. Baledessari is an artist. It makes sense that the documentary would be very dependent on the visual aspect, that everything was introduced and then shown instead of thoroughly explained.
This is the end of Mallory Hudson’s blog post.