Monday, June 15, 2015

A Critique of complex simplicity:The Poetic Dance Between Simplicity and Uncertainty in Physics


The Poetic Dance Between Simplicity and Uncertainty in Physics

By MindShift AUGUST 19, 2014

Assessment criteria: As part of authoring critiques of digital storytelling in INTE 5340 three criterions are selected from Jason Ohler’s assessment traits.

Audience Sensibility (Score 1-10: 10 Points)

Explanation of story is accessible to audience. Use of media and character is appropriate and appealing to audience.

Concepts in physics and the duality of theories and perspectives is a challenging concept to present to any audience. However Xiangjun Shi created a beautifully animated video with a ‘hand touch’ to bring the story and concepts to light in simple terms. This story is accessible to grade school age audiences through adults.

Story Economy (Score 1-10: 10 Points)

Information was presented concisely and in organized fashion. No detours or tangents.

It may be easy to get lost in technical jargon or advanced concepts in physics. However the author kept focus and interest with the story through a concise manner, although jumping from one physics concept to the next. The animation really helps the story move through each concept with simple yet elaborate transitions.

Personal Communication (Score 1-10: 8 Points)

The story unfolds as a personal journey or story that has meaning and relatable emotion.

The animations and narration by a little girl helps bring the audience to a humble and personal level. The personal story is inspiring because in the end Xiangjun Shi demonstrates she understands the basics of physics and is coping with the polarity of theories and concepts. It makes the audience feel relatable, not just about theories in physics but life in general. But is the story really told from the perspective of a little girl?

Total Score 28/30

Other characteristics this assessment fails to capture:

The limited assessment criterions do not necessarily capture the planning or process of this story. Did Xiangjun Shi help animate this or only narrate? In the credits it appears the story was a collaboration between RISD and Brown University. How did they decide to collaborate to tell this story? In a way it is misleading that perhaps a little girl very talented at physics is also very talented at drawing.

How could this digital story be improved?

I wonder if some more background information in the animation itself could make the story a little more personal. How old is Xiangjun Shi? How long has she studied physics? What made the collaborators come together to tell this story? What is the intent?