Future Cinema

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

Spacial Studies No.1 – No.3 (+ two additional videos)

These videos are attempts by Jan and myself to destabilize traditional filmic space. We attempted to do this in three ways:
(i) by transforming polar coordinates into cartesian coordinates, that is, by transforming circles into lines.
(ii) by allowing the viewer to navigate the spaces created.
(iii) by creating content that could be easily viewed on an iPhone (in addition to traditional, single channel viewings).

The panoramic shot, as Roderick Coover points out in Contiguity, Continuity And Panoramas In Cross-Cultural Representation, flexibly plays with the dialectic between continuity and montage in the moving image. Continuity, in this sense, functions as the “representation of a continuous flow of time,” expressing the duration of the image. Montage, on the other hand, functions as “the interruption of a continuous shot to introduce an alternative view, image, or idea”. The panoramic shot provides a circular image denoting a continuous flow of time in a contiguous unit of space. We have seen forms of digital panoramas introduce rupture and displacement into this image through the development of layers of information that can be pursued and observed freely, at times moving according to their own cycles. These displacements function as a form of montage, as interruptions in the continuous shot, offering alternative views, images, and ideas. These types of panoramic shots produce one form of discourse regarding the dialectic between continuity and montage. There are however other types.

Coover alludes to the panoramic moment as a kind of reassuringly complete view of the world from a particular viewing position. The digital panoramas frustrate this moment by introducing ruptures of layered, overlapping pieces of information and competing cycles of movement in the image. I posed the question: how does one communicate less the clutter of information and more the actual mysteries that constitute our relationship to the world? The visual field, as a circular image is something that eludes us, at times feeling near, and at other times feeling further away, as if the world pulls towards and away from us based on how we orient ourselves towards it, radiating will and focus with varying degrees of intensity. It is this fickle relationship between us and the world that introduces continuous interruptions in the visual field. Continuity is montage and the continuous flow of time equates to a continuous flow of alternation.

In the spatial studies that Jan and I undertook, we placed a camera that captures a full 360 degree view of the visual field into a space that is circumscribed as being circular. The coordinates of the world as we experience it extend so far beyond our immediate visual field that the completeness we yearn for in our view of the world seems to find its corollary fulfillment of the circular image produced by the 360 degree view. It is the world in front of, behind and all around us that we desire, that we want to obtain and control. However, when space is circularized in the immediate proximity outlined by a garden square or a carousel, this fulfillment is reversed. We then have a circular image that is paradoxical.

Spacial Studies No. 1: Carousel
In this video a camera was placed in the centre of a playground carousel. The resulting image is mobilized creating a view of the world that continually approaches and moves away, stretching and fluctuating in waves of varying proximity. The landscape floats across the screen – repeating, as if it was the background of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.

Does this spacial study constitute a complete view of the world? It is only complete insofar as it reveals a dynamic principle of continual variation. In this sense, it is fundamentally opposed to the notion of a normatively outlined visual field that exists at a reassuring distance from us. The world as visual field, rather, continually threatens to interrupt our expectations as viewing subjects

The navigable video is available here and the single channel video is available here.

Spacial Studies No. 2: Circles Become Lines
This video can be viewed as the inverse of Spacial Studies No. 1. In this video a figure walks around the circular outline of a garden square in High Park. Since circles become lines in the video, the person walks from one side of the screen to the other, leaving where they entered. This destabilizes traditional filmic space since the left side of the frame is no longer the left side and the right side of the frame is no longer the right side.

The navigable video is available here and the single channel video is available here.

Spacial Studies No. 3: 401
In this video, we were attempting to explore framing with respect to 360 degree camera. As already observed the traditional frame is broken, however, what is the potential of this new frame? In what new ways is it possible to obtain frames within frames?

The navigable video is available here and the single channel video is available here.

The following two videos were made while experimenting with the GoPano Micro. I made the first one and Jan made the second one.

Double Rainbow
I made this video by exploiting a glitch in the GoPano software for the iPhone 4. The glitch occurs when you calibrate the camera off of the grid. If you calibrate the camera so that it is only partially on the grid you also get strange results that would be worth exploring. Navigating the space created in this video might be described as a psychedelic psychogeographical exploration, or perhaps as a psychegeographical exploration.

The navigable video is available here and the single channel video is available here.

Top Down
Jan made this video exclusively for the internet. The size of this video excludes it from traditional screening environments once again destabilizing the traditional filmic space. To this end, the viewer must scroll in an effort to comprehend the image. At no point can the viewer see the entire image, thus transforming the visual field into a field of poetic possibility.

The video is available here.

Tue, March 27 2012 » futurecinema2_2012