The Double Life of Veronique 3
Why are we even studying film? Isn’t this an interaction design class? I questioned why we weren’t studying industrial design in September on this blog. But what would Stolterman say? Everyone is a designer and Jeff says everyone is a critic.

We can look to other fields, similar to ours, that have resources with more richness to help us understand interaction design. I found many applicable relationships between Kikasola’s critique of Double Life of Veronique and interaction design (no spoilers, it’s pretty safe).

Kikasola first discusses the socio-political contexts of both the contents and the existence of the film itself.

Expressionist/Political Context

Kieslowski’s thoughts and style, for some time, had been straining toward the universal issues, both Sociologically and philosophically, and beyond local politics or national concerns. A few political images in Vironique mark this departure: the removal of an old Communist statue while children run happily in the streets, and the chaos that erupts when Weronika sees her double. In this latter instance, Weronika is, significantly, oblivious to the political demon- stration around her in light of the present, transcendent concern.

We can see how the film is also in part an expression of the political movements in Europe at that time which will become more clear below. In Marxist terms, Barard says, “if you want to understand the work, you must understand the individual who made it was trying to express…One might argue, from a Marxist point of view that the individual it pushes an ideological view of the individual, that the individual it promotes as the source of expression and understanding is the bourgeois individual of capitalism.”

This kind of things happens in the Valley a lot. The Bay area is a relatively liberal place as are the people in tech. The bias that does not always represent the greater user base slips into product design. That’s why we do user testing, right? Well, yes. But I worked at a small startup, for example. We didn’t have access to an agency that can select users for us to do testing with. And even if we did, those are still the kinds of people exposed to people in tech all the time. So even when going far out of our way to select young, old, social, shy, tech savvy and computer novices to come into our office, they all have a bias of living down the street from Google, Adobe, Facebook and Apple.

Vironique was also Kidlowski’s first international production, partly financed in France and set in France and Poland. The significance of this sudden link between Poland and Western Europe has not been lost on critics and theorists,7 and there is some cause to interpret the films in a wider, European political context.

We can look at the e-readers.We can understand why Barnard says it is so important to understand those who have made whatever it is they made and what they are trying to express. Many new e-readers designed in the Valley are wireless internet friendly. But for those who don’t live near Google Wifi or University networks, that’s still something that perhaps isn’t very useful.

Later Kikasola writes about the Viewer perspective

Her story only goes this far, though we can imagine it and place ourselves in her shoes: how many times have we seen a familiar face but not been able to place it? How many miraculous encounters have we had, only to write them off as coincidence?

We’ve experienced something like this before that helps us relate to the scene in the film. Barnard writes, “Now the brain must ‘interpret’ this information using skills, some of which are ‘innate’ and some of which are learned from experience.’ In a lot of ways, we can think about mental models here, too.

The first time I used an App store, I obviously had never used an app store before. But I had been to a bookstore before. I have browsed a collection of things I might like to buy, paid for them, had them, used them and then let them sit on my “shelf” for a while. I can place mysel fin Veronique’s situation in many ways, which is not on accident. I’ve seen a familiar face before and have felt a little bit uneasy about it. Kikasola articulates this point and we can see now how it relates to interaction design.

If anyone wants to pick up where I left off and choose a few other theories that relate to the film, that will make it seem like I was sharing the opportunity rather than…well…what else am I missing, guys and gals?

So there we have it ladies and gentlemen, ways to apply film theory to interaction design. You win this time, Jeff Bardzell!