Future Cinema

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

Week 4, October 7th, Augmented Reality?

Posted on | September 24, 2015 | No Comments

wow – not a single person signed up for this… not even in the top 3! I’ll likely need to assign someone, given the numbers, but before I do… would anyone like to step up to give it a shot? Come on… the Bachelard is old-fashioned,… but poetic and good for you. let me know asap if you might be interested.

(also: basically EVERYONE wants the game weeks… is it the timing or the topic or a potent combination of the two? I’ll try to extend these ideas and provide more opportunities for people…)

Show &tell sign-up, 2015

Posted on | September 24, 2015 | No Comments

Assignment 4: show and tell 5% (pass/fail)
As the name suggests – at the beginning of each class at least one of you is invited to share a work that resonates with the course – a film or game that you admire, an installation you saw, technology in the news that we should all see – discussing your own future cinema-related work is definitely encouraged! Also, in addition to being responsible for making a larger effort at least once, and committing to a day to do so, please feel free to share this kind information via the class blog at any time!

Week 3, September 30th Virtual Reality

Sarah Stang

Week 4, October 7th, Augmented Reality

Mark Mungo
Jonathan Clancy

Week 5, October 14th, Hypermedia/narrative/digital storytelling

Cody Pentzos

Week 6 October 21st, Database Cinema

Alison Humphrey

Week 7 October 28th Game Narratives and Architectures

Oksana Unguryan
Jeff Young

Week 8 November 4th Games2

Sam Rickford

Week 9, November 11th, Mobility/Connectivity/Distributed networks

Andi Schwartz

Week 10, November 18th, Digital Cinema/animation

Aly Edwards

Week 11, November 25th, Translocality/Globalization/Tactical Media

Sarah Voisin

Memory Lane

Posted on | September 23, 2015 | No Comments

Memory Lane: Short Screens Paper
by Andi Schwartz

Memory Lane is an immersive, multi-projection screening site for telling linear autobiographical narratives. Memoir or autobiography is typically a linear narrative that consists of selected stories from the author/filmmaker’s life that are considered significant to who the author has become. Memory Lane reflects this linearity in a literal way. Spectators enter Memory Lane at one end of a long straight hallway. Each side of the hallway is lined with large scale screens. Each screen plays a loop of video representing a memory or story within the narrative. The video is accompanied by an aural account of the story in the filmmaker’s voice. The audio runs longer than the video, but both run on a loop.

As the spectator moves forward through Memory Lane, they encounter new screens playing new videos telling new stories that shape the autobiographical narrative. These stories are linked and build in significance. As the spectator moves past a screen, the audio and visual story does not stop but continues playing on the loop. This means the audio from each memory overlaps at times and some audio grows faint as the spectator moves further away from it. Spectators can return to a section of Memory Lane to revisit a story and it will still be playing, much like how real memory functions. When spectators are finished moving through Memory Lane, they exit at the opposite end of the hallway.

Though the screening site is immersive and there is some room for spectators to move at their own pace or move backwards and forwards, the filmmaker ultimately has control over the story being told. Memory Lane offers a conceptualization of moving through memory. It provides an opportunity for spectators to be fully immersed and engaged in memoir in a way that differs from other forms like books or more traditional films. This immersive and engaging nature of Memory Lane has the potential to increase the impact on the spectator, hopefully leading to higher levels of empathy and understanding of other human experiences.

The Cinema of “Utopia”

Posted on | September 23, 2015 | No Comments

What would a perfect world look like for you?

What if you could be invincible, immortal, all knowing? What if everyone else was as well? Would you want to be special?

What about your own universe, where you could live your wildest dreams?

All of this would be possible in the future. And possibly before you’d expect it. Imagine a computer capable of entering you into a simulated universe, where you can set the rules. And not only one universe, but infinite. You could swing swords with Aragorn, cast spells with Harry, play hockey with Gretzky. And you could do this with others too, as these computers could be connected. You and as many friends as you want could enter a world where you rule as lords, form alliances and wage war with each other. Although you could just as easily go on a ski trip to Mars.

Or why not live someone else’s life, going along for the ride. With infinite time (immortality), why not create an entire authentic life experience, and share it with others? All narrative art forms are summaries, life is story.

Why stop at being a human? Why not be a goat in the himalayas, or an octopus in the deep sea? Hell, go be Pacman and experience being half mouth, or fly through space at impossible speeds (think of the “Ship of Imagination” from Cosmos)

What if this computer was in our heads, and could be activated merely by desire? What if we could shape these worlds with our thoughts, with the most intuitive interface possible (imagination). We could share these worlds, almost like sharing dreams, a la Inception, minus the intravenous.

We wouldn’t even need to enter into a simulation to use this technology. Read a book or parchment that doesn’t exist in reality, but can be conjured for yourself and/or others to see. Wear custom clothes that others see (sorry non-cyborgs and animals, hope you’re body positive).  If we no longer need to eat, why not enjoy a vast banquet, with ethically produced (or not produced, more accurately), delicious food and drink, all under a real sun, with real people?

The imagination lies at the core of every creative endeavor, and its full realization, incorporating all the senses, is its end goal. Just as moving images and audio recordings merged to produce modern film, the confluence of all the senses results in a fully realized cinema.

The ability of customization and creation invites you to blur the line between performer and audience, between creator and spectator. The only limits are human imagination.

That Minority Report screen everybody keeps referencing

Posted on | September 23, 2015 | No Comments

Minority Report UI Innovation analysis from Philippe DEWOST on Vimeo.

Flexible Fabric Screen

Posted on | September 23, 2015 | No Comments

As touch screens are becoming more flexible, durable, and responsive, I think that one way the future of screen technology may evolve is into completely malleable and mouldable screens. I imagine these screens to be made of a fabric-like material which would be both durable and extremely flexible while also allowing images to be displayed upon it. Ideally, this material would be soft and thin, able to become transparent or translucent as required. This material should also be mouldable in that it can be made into a shape and it can retain its shape until “reset.”

I imagine this kind of screen to be used in classrooms to allow young children to play and learn in exciting ways. Children could play games with on-screen characters, or with their friends standing on the other side of it, like a curtain. They would interact with the screen not just by tapping it, but also by pushing it, pulling it, and even sculpting it. The children would be able to sculpt this fabric screen into different shapes, like animals or even models of cities and see their creations “projected” onto the object. The word “projected” here is misleading, however, as due to the flexible and malleable nature of this fabric, anything projected onto it would quickly lose shape and distort. Instead, I imagine this fabric as being able to project light out from itself so that the image actually comes from the screen itself. Although I am unsure how this would be achieved, it is possible that the future of nanotechnology or fiber-optics could meet this need.

Along with its remarkable flexibility and shape-holding properties, this fabric-like screen would also have to be interactive and respond to the children’s input. This input may not only be tactile, but could also include tracking and reacting to the children’s movements and voice commands. Perhaps this fabric could also change feeling and consistency depending on how it is used (for example, it could become rough and stone-like if being used to model a cave wall) so the users can get a fuller sensory experience.

Another way this material could be used is as a curtain to cover the walls, ceiling, and floors of a classroom or other designated space to create the illusion that the children have entered into an entirely new space. This can be thought of as a sort of virtual reality, but without head-mounted displays, allowing for a more open, communal experience. Teachers could use this to show children life in the ocean, or deserted landscapes of other planets, or the inside of a medieval castle, to name a few examples. The possibilities for teaching and learning are endless.

The biggest challenge with this screen is simply the technology and also the cost. Even if we could create the right kind of material, and imbue it with optic technology allowing it to display images from within itself, we would also have to ensure that ordinary schools could afford large enough quantities of the fabric to cover an entire room.

I Am a Screen

Posted on | September 23, 2015 | No Comments

I Am a Screen
(with apologies to Christopher Isherwood and John Van Druten)

Imagine projection onto the human body. This future cinema screen would have two distinct types of audience: the subjective (viewing by the “projectee” themselves), and the objective (viewing by other people).

Viewing by the person being projected onto would seem, at first, to limit surfaces to those comfortably within their line of sight: the front or back of the hand or arm, the knee, or the top of the thigh. However, one can imagine a sort of miniaturized road-trip narrative that moves across the landscape of the body. Following the story from place to place would require gentle stretching or strenuous isometric holds, creating a new hybrid form of entertainment- exercise. “Yoganimation”, perhaps.

Viewing projection on another person’s body – or even on one’s own – immediately lends itself to erotica. At last the promise in the term “touchscreen” can be fully realized. But there is also the ancient art of the mask, wherein the face is caked and cloaked to incarnate as an animal or spirit or demon or god, and where the tilting of an inanimate piece of chiseled wood can create new angles and shadows that suggest changing expressions. A projected mask could prompt a new storytelling style that harks back to the Expressionist silent film, with dialogue replaced by facially-projected visuals that belie Duncan’s line in Macbeth, “There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face.” Or it could throw us forward into a new dramatic form where text and subtext are superimposed, and the spectator learns to read both the projected face and the flesh-and-blood expressions underneath it, the way a foreign-film aficionado can listen to original dialogue and read subtitles simultaneously.

A parent and child might play an updated version of “Round and round the garden” or “This little piggy” projected on the child’s palm or toes. Bathtime characters could be chased all over the body by a soapy washcloth, or a barbershop quartet could pop up one by one to sing a song from newly-brushed teeth. Projection onto two hands at once could turn them into two puppets in dialogue with one another, and by tracking how the hands are turned toward or away from each other, brought closer together or further apart, a responsive system could change that dialogue from cordial to combative. A narrative could be told from two perspectives, so that the parent watches one playing out on the palm of their hand, and on its back, the child watches the other. Or for a single viewer, two storylines could be intertwined so that one can flip back and forth between them with the turn of a wrist.

Corporeal projection would obviously be ideal for any kind of biological documentary taking viewers inside the very body they’re using as a screen. But it could also lend itself to more sociological films about the experience of ageing or race as inscribed on the body. Imagine a “touch-screen” interactive documentary mapped to sites of domestic abuse, or a time-lapse of the various physical effects of long-term homelessness, which the viewer can sense unfolding closer to home than any separate screen could show.

Melanin, of course, is a key issue in any of the above scenarios. The darker the “screen”, the narrower the possible range of shades that can be projected onto it. Perhaps rather than projection from above the surface, we should be envisioning a thin, flexible screen that one could stick on like anti-blister moleskin, after cutting it to the desired shape. The classic Dick Tracy wrist-television and the new Apple iWatch, both squares strapped to a wrist, require the viewer to hold their arm at an unnatural angle. But the hand’s most comfortably visible surfaces are the web of skin between the thumb and index finger, and the palm. How might an animation on that thumb-finger web echo what a person is drawing with the pencil held in those same digits? What film subjects would lend themselves a triangular or concave-circular frame?

For the viewer/screen-wearer, the final question is interoceptive: how does it feel to place one’s body in the position requested by the screen? Watching a feature on a huge screen from the front row is unlike watching it on an iPhone in most ways: the former opens the chest and throat while one gazes up in awe at the gods, while the latter is a private, hunch-backed affair, though both will leave you with a crick in your neck. What emotion is evoked in the viewer even before a film begins by the action of cupping it in the palm of your hand like a baby bird? Might a teenage girl get a movie manicure for a night out clubbing, with four tiny screens that turn on automatically when she makes the universal gesture of boredom or pointed disregard: inspecting one’s nails. And how would it feel to listen to the soundtrack of a horror film that you cannot see, because your friends are watching it projected on your back – or worse, that you can only catch glimpses of where it creeps up over your shoulder?

— Alison Humphrey

Transmission Fluid

Posted on | September 23, 2015 | No Comments

My concept for a new type of screen is a liquid substance that can display images in a manner similar to reflections appearing in water. One of my inspirations for this concept is the portrayal of scrying pools in folklore, in which individuals would gaze upon the surface of the water in order to observe events that are in another time or place. The substance would not be as thin as water but a bit thicker, maybe similar to silly putty allowing it to be stretched and shaped to allow for a customizable display of images and moving pictures.

I also thought it would be interesting if the substance was capable of conveying not only visual information but allowing for interaction with other human senses. Images could be touched and different textures and temperatures experienced, scents smelled etc. The substance could be taken further into the realm of science fiction by being used to fill virtual reality tanks in which individuals would be immersed in order to create a full sensory experience.

The substance would enable this by not only being able to display images and other sensory information but recording and storing this information. It would be able to store a variety of experiences which could be modified and edited by the user’s interaction with it in real time. The scenarios would be able to be experienced by the individual immersed but also could be recorded and viewed by others. It could also be used to record the dreams of individuals sleeping within the virtual reality tanks. This function could be used for entertainment, as a form of artistic expression, and for the purpose of dream analysis.

Data from separate sources of the substance could be mixed together or interact with each other to create pools of information and allow for the sharing of a variety of human experiences and forms of narrative expression. Since the substance serves the purpose of transmitting various kinds of information and media I was trying to come up with an appropriate name for this new kind of screen but the term “transmission fluid” was already taken.

better documentation of Polyvision

Posted on | September 23, 2015 | No Comments

find out more about Josef Svoboida’s work here: http://www.svoboda-scenograf.cz/en/polyekran-polyvision/

Seeing Through New Eyes: Evolving VR Technology

Posted on | September 22, 2015 | No Comments

Melamed, Erica – Future Cinema Assignment 1 – Due Sept 23 2015

Seeing Through New Eyes: Evolving VR Technology

Erica Melamed (211575545)
CMCT 6507/FILM 6245
Professor Caitlin Fisher
Assignment 1: Short Screens Paper
Due: September 23rd 2015

Following the rise of individual cinema screening, future technology will see this trend expand exponentially. The latest virtual reality (VR) gadgets are clunky, limited in their mobility, and have to be lifted to suspend the experience. Evolving contemporary VR technology from goggles to contact lenses accompanied with a noise cancelling Bluetooth headset will resolve some of the drawbacks of the current technology.

Switching from goggles to contact lenses will remove the hindrance of weight. The Bluetooth headset to accompany the contact lenses will prevent external noises from infiltrating the virtual reality created. The lenses and headset can be turned off and on from a button on the left headset. Sensors on the right headset will allow for volume control as well as scrolling through content. Returning to the left headset, the power button will support the mobility of the technology. For example, while taking a plane ride or another example of extended travel, one can simply temporarily turn off the headset and contacts to check the remaining duration of their travel.

The filming necessary for this technology would involve a first person perspective. This would allow for the viewer to feel a part of the film being viewed, while not interrupting the desired plot of the narrative. Based on this perspective, lighting and cameras would have to either be hidden in shrubbery or areas which could be hidden from view.

Beyond the headset and contact lenses, an accompanying application for mobile devices will allow for the screening of narratives beyond mere virtual reality. An accompanying application will allow for the viewer to choose the next steps of the narrative being told. In this way, one can begin to see the possibilities of interactive content through this technology. The filming necessary for this format would involve a camera similar to that of Google’s 360 degree camera. The 360 degree camera would ensure the immersion of the viewer into the technology, where they are no longer a passive viewer but an active agent in the course of the narrative. The storylines of the content will have to be adjustable to that of the viewer’s choices. As there would be little narrative if there was no direction, prompts will appear to allow for some direction in the narrative.

While the technology allows for individual viewing or interaction, there will be opportunities for joint viewing. The accompanying application would include a feature which would allow different users of the technology to view the same content at the same time. By extension, if one was to pause the film being viewed on one of the devices, the film being played for the accompanying individual would remain paused until the first person resumes the content.

The direction of this technology echoes that of current technology, only extended. With the described extensions, cinema viewing would no longer leave its audience with peripheral vision to distract them from the narrative being told. Furthermore, the lenses will allow for the viewer to feel immersed in the narratives put forward. This technology will serve the interests of individual viewing, joint viewing, as well as interactive content.

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