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Borges: An Exploration in Modeling

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 2 months ago


Borges: An Exploration in Modeling


Team Members: Mallory Smith, Jayne Goldsmith, Matt Billings, Brittany Stern





Final Film (Uploaded March 22, 2008)


Set design: Mallory Smith, Jayne Goldsmith, Brittany Stern

Camera: Matt Billings, Mallory Smith

Acting: Jayne Goldsmith

Editing: Matt Billings, Jayne Goldsmith


Music (in order of appearance)

Sigur Ros - Ba Ba (from Ba Ba Ti Ki Do Do)

Liars - It's All Blooming Now Mt. Heart Attack (from Drums not Dead)

Matt Billings - Campus Point (made for CCS Music 105)



Thanks to Andrew Texeira for the use of his Canon GL2


Presentation March 11, 2008


1. "Of Exactitude in Science"


...In that Empire, the craft of Cartography attained such Perfection that the Map of a Single province covered the space of an entire City, and the Map of the Empire itself an entire Province. In the course of Time, these Extensive maps were found somehow wanting, and so the College of Cartographers evolved a Map of the Empire that was of the same Scale as the Empire and that coincided with it point for point. Less attentive to the Study of Cartography, succeeding Generations came to judge a map of such Magnitude cumbersome, and, not without Irreverence, they abandoned it to the Rigours of sun and Rain. In the western Deserts, tattered Fragments of the Map are still to be found, Sheltering an occasional Beast or beggar; in the whole Nation, no other relic is left of the Discipline of Geography.



"The cartographers of the Empire draw up a map so detailed that it ends up covering the territory exactly...The decline of the Empire witnesses the fraying of this map, little by little, and its fall to ruins, though some shreds are still discernible in the deserts."

    -Jean Baudrillard, Simulacras and Simulations


A model within itself, "Of Exactitude in Science" embodies the distinction (or lack, thereof) between the reality and hyperreality in which we exist.  The territory (reality) has been replaced by the map of landscape (simulacra). The map becomes the territory: a hyperreal, or a model with no orgin or reality.  The simulacra have preceded what they represent, becoming not only real, but more than real, because there is no reality left to simulate or map. 


Yet, the model, the simulacra and the simulation are ultimately a process; and thus, Borges: An Exploration in Modeling becomes a model through the visualization of such a reductive process. 


2. Modeling Parts of Speech through Film Shots:


Part of Speech        Type of Shot

Adjective....................Close Up

Adverb.......................Close Up + Movement

Article.........................Eye Level

Conjunction................Long Shot

Negative.....................No Shot

Noun (Person)............Oblique Angle

Noun (Place)...............Low Angle

Noun (Thing)..............High Angle








The Words from: "Of Exactitude in Science"

and their Parts of Speech



Word     Part of Speech Word       Part of Speech Word Part of Speech  Word    Part of Speech
In Preposition course Noun (Thing) point Noun (Thing) the Article
that Article of Preposition for Preposition western Adjective
Empire Noun (Place) Time Noun (Thing) point. Noun (Thing) Deserts, Noun (Place)
the Article these Article Less Adjective tattered Adjective
craft Noun (Thing) Extensive Adjective attentive Adjective Fragments Noun (Thing)
of Preposition maps Noun (Things) to Preposition of Preposition
Cartography Noun (Thing) were Verb the Article the Article
attained Verb found Verb Study Noun (Thing) Map Noun (Place)
such Adjective somehow Adverb of Preposition are Verb
Perfection Noun (Thing) wanting, Verb Cartography, Noun (Thing) still Adverb
that Article and Conjunction succeeding Adjective to Verb
the Article so Conjunction Generations Noun (Person) be Verb
Map Noun (Thing) the Article came Verb found, Adjective
of Preposition College Noun (Place) to Preposition Sheltering Verb
a Article of Preposition judge Verb an Article
Single Adjective Cartographers Noun (People) a Article occasional Adjective
province Noun (Place) evolved Verb map Noun (Thing) Beast Noun (Person)
covered Verb a Article of Preposition or Conjuction
the Article Map Noun (Thing) such Adjective beggar; Noun (Person)
space Noun (Thing) of Preposition Magnitude Noun (Thing) in Preposition
of Preposition the Article cumbersome, Adjective the Article
an Article Empire Noun (Place) and, Conjunction whole Adjective
entire Adjective that Article not Negative Nation, Noun (Place)
City Noun (Place) was Verb without Negative no Negative
and Conjunction of Preposition Irreverence, Noun (Thing) other Adjective
the Article the Article they Pronoun relic Noun (Thing)
Map Noun (Thing) same Adjective abandoned Verb is Verb
of Preposition Scale Noun (Thing) it Pronoun left Verb 
the Article as Conjunction to Preposition of Preposition
Empire Noun (Place) the Article the Article the Article
itself Pronoun Empire Noun (Place) Rigours Noun (Thing) discipline Noun (Thing)
an Article and Conjunction of Preposition of Preposition
entire Adjective that Pronoun sun Noun (People) Geography. Noun (Thing)
Province. Noun (Place) coincided Verb and Conjunction    
In Preposition with  Preposition Rain. Noun (People)    
the Article it Pronoun In Preposition    


3. Elements from the Borges Story in the Film

                    Borges' problematizes this concept of the model (which is the subject of his story) within his short story, as it leads to the destruction of reality. Therefore, the group adopted this concept for the subject matter of its short film. In order to show the viewer this collapsing reality the group employed a number of editing techniques: stop motion animation, match cuts, and a certain degree of alinearity.

                    The group used stop motion animation in order to demonstrate a growing constructed reality within the film. Therefore the animation is obviously fake, using materials like tissue paper, cellophane, beads, wire and fabric. The elements within the film to which the group applied the animation were carefully considered, for example, the wooden fruit that the character throws simultaneously demonstrates the realization of the constructed reality and its faults, and also serves as a point in the film where the rhythm speeds up and more 'constructed elements' are introduced. Another example are the worms, which are meant to draw the viewer's attention to the ground - the place in the story the map resides.

                    The match cuts were another way in which the group created a space that dealt with the constructed nature of film. The match cuts allowed for the group to use many different settings combined to create one filmic space.

                    The model the group followed in order to create the film (above) gave a limitation and simultaneous freedom to the actual content of the shots. While each shot correlated to a specific word and therefore a certain camera angle, the linearity of the film became of second importance and therefore allowed for further collapsing of a seemless reality.  


The constructed elements:

    •  leaves
    •  butterflies
    •  lake
    •  fruit
    •  map
    •  worms


4. Time/Money Restraints

Regulation of shot time based on number of times word used, length of word, etc...

    For example, if map is used 5x, empire 4x, and point, entire, cartography, province 2x and all other 135 words 1x, then the shot of the word map could be 5x longer, the shot of the word empire be 4x longer, and etc…, than the length of each word used 1x.

Punctuation, i.e. transitions

better materials

voice over













Presentation February 12, 2008


Within the concepts of Jorge Luis Borges "Of Exactidude in Science" and perhaps one other short story, we wish to explore the implications of modeling. By creating two different kinds of models, we will be able to compare and contrast the two different 'experiences' of models, which will lead us to a deeper understanding of works.




We chose this particular short story as we felt it perfectly illustrated the relationship we want to explore between models and simulation.

In the end the people have destroyed the map and the world underneath it. There was no difference between the simulacra and the real since the simulacra replaced it

Relates to this class since a model of something is a simulation of it, diminutive and acts as a replacement



Creation of Simulated Spaces

Make use of a more narrative Borges work like “The Immortals” or “Circular Ruins”

Highlight the notion of a constructed reality

Match diction with the film's mise-en-scene (ie. low angle shots of a subject illustrate the subjects' power)



1) Create another ‘model’ of the story as a tangible map

2) Map the cognitive conscious process of viewing



By creating two kinds of simulations, or models we can contrast the two and find deeper meaning in the complicated concepts that Borges presents in his short stories

We will do this by demonstrating the possibilities of two different models

The film is inside the story and intangible

The map takes a more distanced view of the work and is tangible

Both act as a replacement for the whole, as a model or simulation


Borges project team



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