Future Cinema

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

Short Screens Paper – Theo X

Taking our discussion in the first class as a starting point, a new form of the cinematic experience that would actually make me not miss its current iteration is something akin to the holodeck on Star Trek: The Next Generation. To move beyond the traditional moviegoing model, I would need a total immersive and interactive experience that a creation like the holodeck could provide. In particular, I would want to use such a technology to recreate and even possibly re-contextualize historical events.

However, since it is doubtful that such a technology can exist (especially in my lifetime), I wonder about the possibility of developing a primitive prototype. At the very least, a prototype version that utilizes archival footage and/or a variety of materials from the archive to immerse the spectator in history. Essentially, existing virtual reality technology would be used and refined to allow viewers to creatively engage with history.

When thinking about such a development, I recall a scene from the episode of The Simpsons entitled “Marge vs. the Monorail,” in which Lisa imagines a history classroom that employs such an innovation to learn about the life of Genghis Khan. Pondering such technology also brings to mind The Secret Annex Online, a website created by the Anne Frank House that employs archival documents to construct a three-dimensional model of the home Anne Frank hid in during the Second World War, as a way for users (especially young students), to learn about her plight by clicking on icons that provide contextual information when they virtually traverse the space.

I cite these two examples because they are emblematic of the pedagogic potential that I envision for my prototype. Just as film provided previous generations (such as my own) with a new method of comprehending history, such an interactive and virtual technology would do the same for upcoming generations. Thus, it is my hope that in the future our understanding of history will become increasingly vivid and affective.

Wed, September 20 2017 » Future Cinema