Future Cinema

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

Short Screen Reflection

September 17, 2017

Short Screen Reflection

I imagine future screens to be non-dependent upon bordered, material space. Rather, any surface could operate as a screen, including surfaces created through atmospheric elements (e.g. fog, water, steam, dust). In fact, surfaces themselves may not be required, as seen with three-dimensional holography.

The proliferation of mobile personal devices will allow access to the masses, within both public and domestic space. These devices will have the capacity to project images onto surfaces, using built-in lighting to illuminate the scene. In this way, there are parallels with augmented reality (AR) in that the projected, virtual images exist in concert with our real, physical environment.

This future state of screens will affect audiences by shifting them into a more active, participatory role. The change of perspective from passive viewership to physical embodiment within a scene will intensify the emotive response of the audience by increasing the sense of presence or of being ‘in’ the virtual scene.

This heightened sense of presence might enable stronger emotional response to the material, which could be useful for effecting social change. A comparative example that comes to mind is the impact of photography on generating response that led to real change, such as Nick Ut’s iconic Napalm Girl photo or Lewis Hine’s work for the National Child Labor Committee. Imagery brought people closer to situations that were otherwise too abstract to understand or absorb on an emotional level.

The embodiment of the audience within the scene will also afford a greater sense of agency. Stories about recent flooding in Houston, for example, could be virtually experienced by an audience within their own domestic space. Projected imagery of water flooding into the real environment of your home can help to mimic the direct experience of such, enabling a stronger emotive response and potentially, increased motivation to respond.

Information delivered in a sensory format can foster deeper impact within audiences than print or spoken word alone. By further increasing the sensory triggers of a piece through immersive elements that allow you to be ‘in’ the scene, audiences may feel closer to the subjects and more affected by what they see, thus leading to increased prosocial behaviour and empathic response. For this reason, I imagine these more immersive, future screens to serve an important role in education and activism.

Fri, September 22 2017 » Future Cinema