Artistic Alchemy

Many moons ago, when my Guilford College students started doing multimedia presentations, their overlapping words, sounds, and pictures made it more difficult to grasp their ideas. The sum of their disparate media rarely equaled the individual parts, let alone superseded them.

We’re still mired in multimedia messiness.

Case in point, Isaacson’s stories of Steve Jobs telling people who had worked nonstop for months on their PowerPoint pitches to him to just talk to him. “Close your laptop,” he’d say within a slide or two, “and just talk to me.”

When combining media, error on the side of fewer. Less is usually more. More spices will not necessarily make your spaghetti sauce taste better. More words, sounds, and images will not make your audience embrace your ideas, your arguments, your art.

Sometimes though, people combine media in ways that are truly synergistic. There’s no formula though, it’s art.

For example, first listen to this new song, Big God by Florence and the Machine. Then watch the video.

Maybe it’s because I dig modern dance, but the video performance is far more moving and memorable than the song by itself. One plus one equals far more than two.

The next time your combining media, consider reaching out to Florence Welch for help.t to

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