Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 (and sometimes Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory) at York University, Canada


Posted on | February 13, 2013 | No Comments

GPS Valentine is a project whose main purpose is to provide an alternative entertainment to the Valentine’s day festivities. The main attribute of the film is its non-linear narrative structure, which reflects the most dominant idea behind our project, namely, the specific social and commercial utilization of the GPS cinema.

Since GPS cinema is an evolving artistic medium, much of its building elements – storytelling, media, social value, practical purpose – are still unexplored and underdeveloped. The changing technology is influencing a constant metamorphosis of the specificity of the GPS medium, which as a consequence doesn’t allow the GPS cinema to finds its exact function within the artistic/commercial/social environment to which it belongs. Relying on the current state of GPS cinema technology, we have decided to experiment with the nature of GPS cinema by exploring its alternative practical potentials. Our contribution to the aesthetics of GPS cinema is the expansion of its utilities, from artistic to social, educational and commercial.

Instead of using the GPS cinema as an extension of traditional cinema, whose main mode of reception involves theatres, home, television and so forth, we have chosen to incorporate the cinema into our everyday spaces and thus, move the cinema into the social reality a bit further. Guided by the recent cinematic practices, whose exhibiting platforms belong to alternative social zones (such as subway monitors, for example), we have hoped to give the GPS cinema a chance to become a more ‘integral’ part of our everyday lives. The creation of such work assumed following actions:

1) Diminishing the linear narrative dominance from GPS film by creating an achronological, segmented and disunited form of storytelling. The purpose of such a decision was to allow the spectators to perceive the material within their ‘everyday’ psychological mindsets. The GPS Valentine is not suppose to enforce the narrative direction on to their engagement, rather, let them browse in their own will through different narrative segments of the project. In other words, the film acts as a temporal part of the architecture, a supplement to the otherwise static and unchanging spatial scenery in which the spectator acts only as a passerby and gives as much attention to the film as he wants, or as he would normally give to the spatial landscape around him.
2) Creating an audio-visual content that closely relates to the thematic nature of a particular space. For example, using the Valentine’s Day theme, we created a content that added a temporal ‘twist’ to the chosen architecture, by adjusting the notion of love to the thematic context of a building. For example, a Behavioral Science building adds a particular audio-visual supplement to its existing architecture, by presenting a video that shows how behavioral science treats the concept of love. That way, the GPS material adds a virtual dimension to the material structure of the building – it becomes an audio-visual, moving, changing side of the architecture – an additional dimension to its exterior appearance, which, again, amplifies the resonance of the building’s interior ideological structure. Thus, behavioral science building does not have to present itself only through its ‘mute’ architecture, but is able to show its unique audio-visual signature and presents the ideas behind its walls more vividly.
3) Creating content that relates to a particular temporal event. By choosing a widely celebrated social holiday as the unifying theme, we have gained an opportunity to explore a social issue that people, obviously, find important. Furthermore, by creating a content that is both entertaining and educational, as well as diverse, we have changed the audio-visual setting of a place, and therefore, influenced the overall social ‘atmosphere’ of the chosen day.
By making an audio-visual architectural supplement, we have opened up space for a potential commercial exploitation of GPS cinema. If GPS cinema becomes an accessible technological supplement to the existing architecture, it could become a tool for advanced advertizing. A store, an office, or any kind of public place, could decide to add an entertaining and propagating dimension to their spatial surroundings and influence a potential customer right at the spot where they execute their practices.

The current form of our project doesn’t rely on the classic ‘gallery walk’ kind of experience. It is suppose to be consumed in a leisurely everyday fashion. However, even though the leisurely, passerby exhibiting environment doesn’t seem to be demanding, it still needs a single element for its proper functioning – visibility. In the case of GPS cinema, visibility would assume the normalization of the GPS cinema technology. In other words, it has to become popular enough for people to able to accept it as a part of their spatial environment. Only in that case, people will have the opportunity to use it and exploit it. In the perfect scenario, where GPS cinema acts as a usual part of the surrounding architecture, our project would fulfill its purpose just by the fact that it is ‘visible’, at least to those that are interested in seeing it. Just as some people choose to observe the landscape when walking through it, some people could choose to explore the GPS audio-visual content behind it. We hope that, at this point, our project will still be able to entertain some of the passing audience, give some useful information on one of the most celebrated holidays throughout the world and lighten up the spirit of the Valentine’s Day.

Even now, a vast number of people is already spending most of their outdoor time browsing through their gadgets. Whether they are walking, driving, waiting for a bus or having a smoke, they are finding entertainment in these technological extensions of their minds. The GPS cinema (or whatever it will be called) has a potential of becoming a real life ‘Youtube’ or ‘Google’ type of everyday outdoor surfing. As the spectator is browsing through the physical space around him, he is being offered a virtual alternative for the spatial reality that surrounds him. However, the difference between internet browsing and GPS browsing is in physical engagement of the spectator. While spending time on a computer, the spectator has an opportunity to change the content much faster, without almost any physical effort, while during the GPS browsing, he has to physically arrive at a particular location in order to decide whether he wants to absorb the content or not, and once he decides to play it, he is not able to change it.

Such distribution of time and content gives opportunity to the next level of ideological and marketing manipulations. If GPS technology finds its way into our spatial reality, the concepts of cinema, art, ‘real’ life and politics will have to be reevaluated, along with the issues of spectatorship. How will the spectator be able to manipulate the amount of audio-visual content that is being offered to him? How much will he be able to influence the development of such decentralized narrative? Will he in this case be designated as a storyteller or just another form of ‘passive’ spectator whose purpose is to absorb and comply, and not act and change?

Maia, Radojka, Jon, Matthew


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