Storytelling, Tarot and the Kuleshov Effect


Readers of this blog know that I see a very strong conection between Tarot and storytelling. I have been interested in story-generative tools for quite some time.

Just today I realized how my recent fascination with the Kuleshov Effect known from the visulal/video arts relates to this. Paraphrased and summarized really briefly: the context in which a certain scene is persented can very much influence the emotional message of that scene. By putting a shot of an actor with a completly neutral expression in context (sequence) with certain other scenes of very varying message, the viewer has the impression of an specific emotion being expressed by that actor. While the actor in reality never even knew about the scenes that would be cut with his scene. And the impression of the audience was different for different sequences. But the actor scene was exactly the same one each time...

This phenomenon is due to the our minds "making sense" of what we experience (see).

So I believe this effect also applies to stories. Especially to short stories where descriptions of emotions and thoughts are minimal or not there at all.

Take the elements the drawing of random Tarot cards provide. Put them in a sequence, any sequence. Read out the sequence. Our mind will do the rest. It will make sense of the "story". A story that isn't - actually - there at all.


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Martin Spernau
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