Sunday June 12, 2010
The product I ended up creating was a short movie which combined archival photographs of Bord na Mona with stories from 3 men whom I interviewed. Because of the short time period and my discomfort in wanting to create my own story, I decided the best way to use the interviews was to allow them to speak for themselves. I wanted to avoid a dry history of Bord na Mona-that's something that people can read for themselves if they were interested. The special and interesting part of my experience was the lived experience, of having within one's life time seen a company move in, expand a rural area, and then go through a decline. I took these 3 men's interview to create an arc of a story-the company moving in, how this changed community, focus on the company's expansion and decline, and see the broader impacts of Bord na Mona on the area. In some ways I feel that the memory piece allowed me to avoid a lot of complications and gave me more leeway about the story that the video told-in other ways I felt at times uncomfortable slicing these men's stories to create my own. I think elements of this are present in any project which is so heavily invested in a small community-and part of this is a result of not having enough time to go back to individuals to make sure they felt comfortable. The same sorts of ethical issues arose in my thoughts about using archival footage of people. So the question is, how to balance a product driven environment with respecting the stories and lives of the individuals you work with.