Cinema and Technology: Cultures, Theories, Practices - download pdf or read online

By Bruce Bennett, Marc Furstenau, Adrian MacKenzie

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Screen space itself is being reorganized in the wake of interactive technologies and point-click controls. We are faced with the 'multiplying interface' described by Aylish Wood, and the complex spaces of the digitally ani­ mated image analysed by Bill Schaffer. The fears and hopes generated by technological change are often given compelling cinematic expression, and film-makers have long sought to reproduce the affective experiences of inhabiting a highly technologized world. Maja Manojlovic addresses the question of affect in cinema, through the notion of the 'interval', describing the emergence of a new 'digital' aesthetic.

The cinematic image is also a significant site of empathetic engage­ ment, where we are able often to gaze into the faces of others, a tech­ nologically mediated experience that is at once intimate and puzzling. This experience is described by Bruce Bennett, who traces the recent his­ tory of the familiar scenario of human/robot relationships, which can be read as an allegory for cinematic engagement itself. Robot doubles are giving way, though, to the possibilities of genetic reproduction, which Kate O'Riordan considers in her account of the figurations of genomic science, an increasingly compelling subject for film-makers.

178). However, Benjamin's concept of a distractive state is misapplied by Manovich and Harries. As discussed by Bogard (2000), Benjamin's con­ cept of distraction describes how people can be trained in good habits that are disruptive of existing power structures. Viewers, according to Benjamin, can be shocked out of the immersive contemplation of art to become habitually self-aware. Bogard identifies 'escape' and 'capture' as keywords in relation to the dialectical nature of distraction. To depart from Benjamin, Web cinema is not distractive in the formalist sense of montage superseding the bad habits of classical narrative, but in the way that we are trained to become habitual viewers in a new techno­ logical context, watching short films or other video material as an escape from work and at the same time being captured as consumers exposed to advertising or seduced by the invitation to produce as a par­ ticipant in user-generated content.

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