At the same time that we have found the technology to bring all humankind’s stories into the public commons, we arrive at the stage of technological advancement that allows those stories to begin to close around us in 3D. If this trend continues the story will eventually swallow us completely to the point that we will not be able to distinguish a motion-picture illusion from our ordinary reality. A strange future to contemplate perhaps, but it develops out of our very natural and most primitive propensity to tell stories. In truth, the old stories have already swallowed us. They come from the repository of our collective consciousness. If there is such a thing as “common sense” it can be learned from the old stories. The old stories shape all our thoughts and actions especially about geography, economics and law. The old stories are the explanation of how we got where we are now.

Filmmakers are not making up new stories. They are embellishing old ones. A camera is a filmmaker’s story embellisher. A photographer’s lens allows the artist to emphasize certain specific, meaningful, aspects of a moment in time. A camera records this. Once a moment in time is captured, the images are a lens document. When screened, the lens document is a kind of artificial reality. Lens documents can simultaneously be perceived as history which, like all recorded history, portrays a limited view of the details of a certain moment in the past. It’s still an artificial reality as all stories are. Recorded images can be screened without cuts in real-time, or be manipulated to represent some other moment in the past. Either way, the audience will allow it to take the place of their own present as they become absorbed in it.

We get lost in stories. Filmmakers get lost in telling them. The right story told to the right audience at the right time delivers a capsule of culture which becomes digested and assimilated into the modern mindset, then ripples out until it joins the old stories reinvigorating each in the process.