All posts tagged with 'cinema'
5 p.m., Saturday, April 16, room 715 | Faculty respondent: Sam Ishii-Gonzalez
Post-production of the Past: Moving Images as Smooth and/or Monumental Memory
“It is in the present a filmmaker makes memories,
in order to make use of them in the future when
the present will be past.”
- Gilles Deleuze (Cinema 2: Time-Image, 1986, 52)
The presentation (paper) is based on the study of ways in which various forms of film medium can either monumentalize the past or creatively and critically stimulate our memories. The differences between smooth (semi-stable, open, becoming) and monumental (ideologically constructed and representational) cinematic memory, determined by films’ time rendering and based on the techniques of post-production, will be discussed in the presentation.
The texts by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition, A Thousand Plateaus, Cinema 2: Time-Image), German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (On the Use and Abuse of History for Life), contemporary art critic Nicolas Bouriaud (Postproduction: Culture as Screenplay: How Art Reprograms the World) as well as thoughts by acknowledged film and video artists (including A. Weerasethakul, D. Narkevicius, A. Tarkovsky and M. Antonioni) will serve as the theoretical background for the presentation. The comparison of film form to architectural space will be used to exemplify the distinction between the production of striated and smooth memory.
The case study of the portrayal of the monument in honor of the first Soviet dictator Vladimir Iliych Lenin (built in 1953 in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania and dismantled in 1991) will be done by analyzing and comparing short 2-minute excerpts from the Soviet propaganda film “One Day in Vilnius” (1969) and the contemporary video artwork “Once in the 20th Century” by Deimantas Narkevicius (1998), both presenting image of the same Lenin monument, but in very different ways. Summing it up, the new possibilities and risks of a creative post-production of smooth (versus monumental) memory in a digital film era will be also reviewed.
Dislocating the Senses: the Musical and Cultural Material of Fellini Satyricon
With the film Fellini Satyricon (1969), Federico Fellini pushed deep into a sensual, often surreal visual style and a mode of storytelling undermined linearity and logic. The film’s score, departing from the style that Nino Rota typically contributed to Fellini’s work, was a combination of pure electronic sounds, acoustic instruments and voices arranged in distinctive textures, and ethnographic recordings of non-Western music. Fellini made his Satyricon as a reflection on and reaction to its times, in which people in his native Italy and elsewhere were exploring the limits of social and sexual mores. Electronic music of this period, in both institutional studios and the work of independent experimenters, made similar claims to test the boundaries of what was possible in sound and how music was situated in cultural context. The sensory world of Fellini Satyricon’s score fit easily with that of the film’s visual material and narrative.
While the film’s visual and sonic elements suit and reinforce one another, their combination works less to seem “natural” and encourage clear readings of the scenes than to heighten the film’s odd, disorienting sensory experiences. I identify this phenomenon as a kind of dislocation, and in this paper I explore how the sense of dislocation in Fellini Satyricon relies on music. My study draws on the history of experimental music in the mid-20th century, theories of how cinema constructs the sense of place, and analysis of scenes and score passages. I examine how music and picture interact both as sensory material (playing, for example, on the effects of distinct timbres and textures of electronic and acoustic sound) and as cultural material (referencing the viewer’s knowledge of filmic and musical conventions.)
Kino-Made: In Search of an Emancipated Cinematic Pedagogy Through a De-centered Montage
What is an emancipated spectator? Is there something in the construction of a work of art that allows for an emancipated spectator? Is it possible for the object of a spectatorʼs gaze to facilitate an egalitarian discourse between the construction of the object, the artist, and the spectator?
This essay and video project is going to investigate Jacques Ranciereʼs notion of the ʻemancipated spectatorʼ and the cinematic object realized by the spectator, as realized in certain ﬁlms by Jean Luc Godard. In the case of the essay, the cinematic object will be signiﬁed as Kino-Made, the juxtaposition and synthesis of the theories and practices of Soviet documentary ﬁlmmaker Dziga Vertovʼs ʻKino-Eyeʼ and French artist Marcel Duchampʼs ʻReadymadesʼ.
Thus, Kino-Made is a cinematic object constructed from the already-processed sounds, images and texts from everyday life and situations. This cinematic object is a de-centered object held together by the relations between its assembled elements. It proposes an emancipated pedagogical relationship between artist and spectator through the work of art, an art object that allows for observation and analysis of its intervals, elements, appearance, and construction in a heterogeneous manner.
1:30 p.m., Saturday, April 16, room 716 | Faculty respondent: Shannon Mattern
Reconsidering the Radio in Media Studies
Media studies today largely concerns itself with issues relating to “new media,” but what ever happened to good ol’ radio? This paper aims to highlight current perspectives and uses of radio to demonstrate its continued relevance to the discussion and debates within media studies. Proclaimed by some as an obsolete medium, radio still finds many uses, such as serving social/grassroots movements and being instrumental to policy-making processes worldwide. Now widely accessible, radio is in use by the majority of the world’s population yet is largely excluded from the debates, research and criticism within the academy. From local, low frequency, digital, regional, pirate, and governmental broadcasting arrangements, for many, radio still functions as their primary source of information that prompts their social activities and political participation. Constituting a severe oversight in media scholarship, reconsidering the use of radio and their cultural effects will stimulate interest in understanding the contemporary configurations of this outmoded media technology both domestically and abroad. Confronting the fact that the history and practices of radio are not the same all over the world, by exploring the current state of the oft-forgotten medium in its international scope, questions at the nexus of media, culture, globalization and political economy will emerge as being central to the discussion of the current media moment, the history of technology, and more generally, the composition of the global information economy.
The Primacy of Projection in Cinema
It is hard to contest the inherent heterogeneity of cinema, a medium born from the combination of different languages and techniques. Even today, as it goes through radical transformations of its material underpinnings, formal possibilities and dynamics of circulation, cinema retains a rather stable identity. To a certain extent, it is not only possible to specify what cinema is, but also to use it as a parameter to qualify other mediatic practices (e.g. soft-cinema, live cinema and database cinema) or their historical circumstances (as pre-cinematographic or post-cinematographic).
Among all visual media, cinema seems to be privileged as the logic through which technological changes are rationalized. Because of this epistemic relevance of the cinematographic medium, we propose that the investigation of its ontology can be advantageous to the field of media studies in general. This paper aims to contribute to this endeavour by focusing on the moment that is celebrated as inaugural to cinema.
Based on the critical analysis of the first screenings performed by the brothers Lumière and their commercial triumph over Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope, we propose projection to be the central technique around which the specificity of the medium is defined and sustained. We conclude by trying to extend the technical definition of projection (as an ambivalent transport of images) to a conceptual level, in an attempt to promote it as the operational principle behind every dispositif, opposed to the stable capacities of storage and transmission.
Supplementary materials: Through the Dark Room (PDF)
Net Art and the Agency of Things
Blogs, Flickr accounts, Facebook profiles, Twitter feeds, Second Life avatars: our personalities in the ever-expanding virtual world continue to merge with those in the actual world, forcing us to rethink relationships and identities. Yet, even a quick study of icons of the Middle Ages would show that virtual worlds have existed long before the invention of computers. Centuries before the advent of Wi-Fi, premodern Christians believed they could instantly traverse space via the connection of objects from holy sites. Today, because we must adhere to the strict language designed by companies such as Facebook, we question how well our identities are translated through our online profiles. However, images, icons and books of hours also had to adhere to a strict visual vocabulary. Those who used these objects nonetheless perceived them as accurate representations of that which they worshipped. The pious would pray before these virtual representations of the divine—before their “profiles,” their avatars—and were led to imagine that they stood before Christ himself.
The paper will examine a range of Net Art from the late 1990s to present day, which functions through and comments upon our working relationship with the internet and computers. Looking simultaneously at parallel dialectics within icons and religious objects of the Middle Ages, we will see that our blossoming obsession with new media mirrors the piety experienced during the premodern era.
Pedro Juan Vidal is a video-artist based in Brooklyn, New York. With an undergraduate degree in film studies, Pedro came to study his Master’s in Film & Media Studies at the New School with an interest in cultural studies and aesthetic critique. His work explores everyday life in its construction and assemblage. Kino-Made, the project which he brings to Critical Themes, transforms the construction and assemblage of cinema into a school of thought. Kino-Made investigates the possibility of an egalitarian discourse between the the artist and spectator through the cinematic object. Vidal’s videos can be found here.
Gabriel Menotti (Brazil, 1983) is an independent critic and curator involved with different forms of cinema, contemporary art and grassroots media. He has organized pirate movie screenings, remix film festivals, videogame championships, porn screenplay workshops, installations with super8 film projectors, generative art exhibitions and academic seminars. He holds a master in Communication and Semiotics by the Catholic University of São Paulo, and his thesis (about movie theatres and VJing spaces) has received the Itaú Cultural Cybernetics Arts award. Currently, he is a PhD candidate on the Media & Communications Department of Goldsmiths College. He also has published papers in different academic journals and volumes of critical writing, such as Public and the second Video Vortex Reader. Among the most recent events in which Menotti has participated are the Artivistic festival (Canada); Medialab Prado’s Interactivos?! (Spain); the 16th International Symposium of Electronic Arts (Germany); the 29th São Paulo Art Biennial (Brazil); and Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid (France).