Francis Ford Coppola, user research and ‘bioimaged’ vs ‘autobiographical’

About 2 minutes in the interviewer comments: “Your films are not so much autobiographical as bioimaged.”

This is from ‘Blank on Blank‘, a Youtube series which animates old audio interview recordings.

In this edition, Francis Ford Coppola is asked why his brother would have described his films as ‘bioimaged’ rather than ‘autobiographical’.  I was intrigued by the term and their discussion of its meaning.

Coppola’s explanation was that ultimately all fiction is filtered through ‘yourself, your feelings and your life’ – therefore the stories that you tell are in someway bioimaged.  It reminded me that:

  1. We must strive to overcome the biases introduced by our personal experiences when conducting user research.
  2. But also that, as with Coppola and his film adapation of Mario Puzo’s novel, it is possible – through empathy – to place yourself sufficiently in someone else’s story as to make a work seem almost autobiographical.

By way of a bonus, the edition with architect Frank Lloyd Wright is also a good listen.

Part of Friday Inspirations, an ongoing MEX series exploring tangents and their relationship to better experience design.  We explain the origins of the Inspirations series in this MEX podcast and article.  Share your own inspirations on Twitter at #mexDTI.

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