Multimedia Review

Dave Vargo

I Photograph To Remember

I Photograph to Remember, by Pedro Meyer, is a collection of photographs which chronicle the struggle against cancer on the part of his mother and father. This is a powerful work, for the images show clearly the reality of sickness and death. The mortal events which Meyer and his parents have experienced are transferred vicariously to the user. Meyer is like a stranger who, having invited you into his home, opens a photo album and begins to speak. By the end of the presentation, however, he is no longer a stranger.

All of the images are good and quite a few of them are spectacular. Multimedia allows one to view at a customized pace. As with an exhibition at a gallery, the timing time spent at each photograph is determined by the interest of the user. It should be mentioned that despite the random access to the images, the power of the work cannot be appreciated through fragmented viewing.

The most striking aspect of I Photograph To Remember is the sense one has of viewing something which is complete. As a thoroughly composed work, it takes a spare approach to delivering its message. The black background, the white credits, the low pitched music played softly, the gentle narration, and the smooth transition between photographs all combine to create a reflective mood.

When one hears the term multimedia CD-ROMs, the connotation is often one of flash and glamour. I Photograph to Remember is neither flashy nor glamorous. Rather, it is simply a well designed piece which is accessible not only to English speakers, but also those who speak Spanish. The fact that the narration crosses cultures is particularly meaningful, for the story told and shown so elegantly is a universal one.

Ephemeral Films

Ephemeral Films is like a box of chocolates. Really! Rick Prelingerıs sampler of American culture consists of films which do not fit into any commonly used category, but nevertheless tell a lot about society. The provision of rarely seen footage provides some very interesting and entertaining viewing.

The films date from 1931 to 1960 and are divided into two chronological categories. ³To New Horizons² incudes those films from 1931 until 1945 while ³You Canıt Get There From Here² contains the remainder of the films. The indexes are easily browsable and to get a film to play, one simply clicks on the title. By clicking on a labeled button at the bottom of the screen, one can view related films without searching through the main index. Unfortunately, related films in the other chronological category cannot be accessed by using this button. Also, Preliger includes his personal observations and analyses on the right hand side of the page on which each film shows. Most of his comments prove insightful, though they sometimes state the obvious.

The image quality is good, but the image size is small. At roughly two inches by three inches, it occupies the upper left corner of the "page." The image size can be increased, but the resolution is very poor. The labeled "larger" button is really the only worthless feature on this CD-ROM.

Ephemeral Films is not an archive of films and, considering the number of items that could have been included, very few films are available. Prelinger does not bombard the user with a large quantity of choice. Rather, he has created a simple CD-ROM which includes examples containing the distilled essence of American attitude and ideology.