Future Cinema

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

Short Screen Writeup

My future cinema screen would translate invisible aspects of the world around us into visible graphic representations. It would take the form of a wearable device through which we would look to reveal an experience in which these visualizations are superimposed over the world as we see it with our own eyes.

This wearable screen would allow us to see graphical translations of invisible energies like magnetic fields, radio waves, sound waves. You can see a fictionalized account of this in “Magnetic Movie” by Semiconductor (http://www.vimeo.com/1166968?pg=embed&sec=1166968) in which the artists create a visualization of magnetic fields as dynamic patterns in a room. Another compelling example is Tim Hope’s commercial spot for Bang and Olufsen and HP (http://www.boardsmag.com/screeningroom/commercials/565/) in which sound is seen as creating a glass-like distortion in the environment.

This device would also make it possible to superimpose visualizations of many aspects of the world that are not readily visible. For example it would allow us to see a visualization of the speed of an object, the force used to move an object though space, the rate at which a liquid is evaporating, the temperature of a surface, the air currents in wind. These things would be represented not as facts and figures but as graphical representations: arrows, lines, colours.
This future cinema screen is part of a translation engine that takes sensor information (also contained within the device) and translates it into visible graphic design representations. As such, it would require programming, designing and tuning. What do we want to visualize? How do we want to see it?

The device would have a storage system that would allow for several programs to be stored, mixed and matched as the user wished. It would almost be like the open source web platform, Wordpress, in which the architecture allows users to mix and match plugins to create a custom experience. In addition, the user could create, purchase or download “authored” experiences which would be conceptually, poetically or narrative driven. In all cases there would be an awareness that what one sees through the glasses is a programmed experience.

This screen is not just a screen, it is a platform that has the potential to highlight aspects of the world around us that are invisible not only by their and our natures, but also because of our embodied habits and awareness or lack thereof. A striking example of this is Kapital (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2umrVWOSpw&feature=related) by Studio Smack in which the only thing visible in the environment are surfaces containing textual and iconic messaging – highlighting the degree to which our contemporary urban environment is created by these messages. This system has the potential to provide a way of looking at the world with different eyes.

Thu, March 12 2009 » Futurecinema_2009, screen technologies, synaesthesia