Future Cinema

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

“4D” Virtual Reality

Hey everyone!

Here is the video I was mentioning in class today, in case anyone wants to watch 4D in action (featuring the HTC Vive).

Wed, November 16 2016 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Callie

Exhibit inspired by Bachelard’s “Poetics of Space” opens tonight!

Infinity of Intimate Space

This exhibition opens tonight and runs from Nov 16 – Dec 10, 2016.

Here is the description from the website:

InterAccess is pleased to present its 15th annual emerging artists exhibition. In celebration of this milestone year, the program has been renamed to Current, reflecting the present voices of emerging curators and artists. “Current” refers to the now, of course, but it is also an energetic charge that causes light, heat, and all sorts of electronic life; an apt metaphor for emergent creative practices within the ever-expanding field of new media.

This year’s Current Emerging Curator is Aliya Karmali, a recent U of T graduate. Interested in how our spaces create and hold meaning, Karmali developed a call for submissions centred on the poetics of space. The resulting exhibition, Infinity of Intimate Space, features four emerging artists whose works explore space through memories and dreams. The exhibition is inspired by Gaston Bachelard’s book, The Poetics of Space, which discusses the phenomenologist’s study of the sites of our intimate lives. From the intimacy of our houses, to desolate landscapes and brimming cities, to the deconstruction of digital forms, what reveries do we explore within the spaces we immerse ourselves in?

Curated by Current Emerging Curator Aliya Karmali. Featuring works by Jennifer Akkermans, Ilze Briede (Kavi), Connor Buck, and Venessa Heddle.

Opening Reception
Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 7-9pm

Curator Tour
Saturday, November 19, 2016, 1-2pm

For more information (and gallery hours), visit the link above.

Wed, November 16 2016 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Dave

MIT Conference

Hi everyone,
I was following the interesting conference MIT about VR organized last May and happy to share a PDF of its summary . super interesting :file:///Users/amitbreuer/Desktop/MIT_OpenDocLab_VirtuallyThereConference.pdf

Wed, November 16 2016 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Amit

The Conjuring 2 VR Trailer

Stumbled upon this video on Facebook. Interesting to see the use of horror conventions in VR… as well as users’ reactions!


Tue, November 15 2016 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Maddison

The Poetics of Augmented Space

The landscape of media is rapidly changing, and with this change comes the cacophony of experimentation and the yearning to keep up. This growth has led to the ubiquity and commercialization of information, to the point where both our urban spaces and our personal lives are covered in screens. Lev Manovich attempts to understand these phenomena by discussing the ‘dynamic between spatial form and the information which has been with us for a long time and… functions differently in the computer culture of today’ (3).

Manovich starts by describing the rise of virtual space. It started in the 1990s with computers and cyberspace. It then moved on to Virtual Reality, inspired by the graphics of complex websites made for millions of users. This led to the subsequent rise and fall of the dot com era, which (around the time of the Y2K scare) in turn created a user landscape that found emailing and downloading MP3s to be quotidian. By the turn of the century, the saturation of the virtual space led to the desire to start exploring the physical space. Manovich then provides examples of tech applications that deal with data management in a physical space.

  • Video Surveillance : cameras, microphones, GPS. These take the physical world and translate it to data.
  • Cellspace technologies: tap to pay, Siri, email, web surfing. These take data and bring it to the physical world.
  • Electronic displays: large scale displays for the public

Manovich then shifts his attention to technological examples that are pushing research paradigms forward. I will only list a few here that I find are the most relevant to our class.

  • Ubiquitous Computing: moving a singular larger scale computing to multiple handheld devices
  • Augmented Reality: overlaying dynamic information over a user’s FOV
  • Intelligent Spaces: spaces that use interactions to create ‘smart’ responses and assistance

These technologies use various techniques to create what Manovich calls ‘augmented space’. This is the process of ‘overlaying the physical space with… dynamic data’ (6). Augmented space is derived from augmented reality and virtual reality, where AR is digital information in a real space, and VR is entirely virtual. The term space comes from the fact that, as Manovich states, ‘we are gradually moving into the next paradigm… augmenting the human also comes to mean augmenting the whole space in which someone lives’ (8).

If we are to start examining the space, there are various approaches to analyze. The first Manovich suggests is architectural theory. He posits the problem with augmented space is the method with which you must overlay the data in a physical space (9). He then uses two examples to illustrate methods that have been effective at creating augmented spaces.

  • Janet Cardiff: a Canadian artist who created ‘audio walks’. Using an audio track played on a portable CD player, the user would follow instructions and receive a narrative through dialogue and sound effects. Manovich states that although the technology was basic, Cardiff was able to achieve a truly effective method of layering information over a physical space, by using the connection between audio and visual stimuli.
  • Daniel Libeskind: an architect who designed the Jewish Museum Berlin. Libeskind created a map plotting the pre-WWII addresses of Jews living near the museum. Various points were connected and projected onto parts of the museum creating an image blending the past and present.

Manovich then segues into a retrospective of the use of artistic spaces. He starts with framed paintings being placed on walls. This is a simple two-dimensional use of space. This is followed by art galleries incorporating the use of all four walls for various paintings. This culminates in the idea of an art object itself being three-dimensional. ‘Finally, the white cube becomes a cube – rather than just a collection of 2-D surfaces’ (10). There was a clear progression from creating something to look at, to creating something to be inside and now creating a space with contextual overlaid information. While the art scene was making creative strides towards the third dimension, film had already been commercialized. It had been commodified and standardized. Each viewing would have the same environmental features: a dark room, rows of seating and a projector showing a 2D film. Manovich argues that art galleries represented a white cube, a space for a one-of-a- kind highbrow production, constantly pushing against the frame of 2D and stating how the ‘physical appearance of an object and the proposed mode of interaction with an object were open for experimentation’ (12). The direct antithesis is the black box of film, consistent, safe and commercial.

The white cube functions as a sort of contemplative artistic space, but there are new areas of experimentation. These spaces function as the next step for spacial use. They are being integrated and used in conjunction with each other, creating a flow of augmented experiences.

  • Contemporary urban architecture
  • Video displays in contemporary spaces for public consumption
  • Retail environments
  • Multimedia music events

The next creator discussed was Robert Venturi. He argued that architecture should be heavily influenced by commercial culture. He saw electronic displays as iconographic representation, a more purist method of using information surfaces. Manovich is quick to critique this narrow vision, as it ignores the totality of the space. There is more to be communicated through the use of the space itself than a pure information surface.  The example he uses is a medieval cathedral. A space that communicates ‘Christian narratives not only through the images covering its surfaces but also through its whole spatial structure’ (16). On the opposite end of the spectrum Lars Spuybroek emphasizes the tones of the interiors he uses. By eliminating traditional framing devices, he creates a space that fuses with the exhibition. This however, leads to a more intangible understanding of the space. Manovich describes the information surface Spubroek creates as ‘reduced to abstract color fields and sound’ (17).

Manovich then pivots to discuss clear, functional integration of architectural spaces with electronic displays. ‘Brandscaping’, a term coined by ’Otto Riewoldt, is the process of promoting a brand using a heavily designed space. Rem Koolhaas has applied this philosophy to the Prada store in New York. Using a variety of displays including electronic screens, and glass cages, Koolhaas has created a wholly immersive experience. Users explore a space tonally consistent and visually stimulating, their desire to purchase clothes evolves into the need to maintain a lifestyle. Riewoldt states he ‘has learnt two lessons from the entertainment industry. First: forget the goods, sell thrilling experience to the people. And secondly: beat the computer screen at its own game by staging real objects of desire – and by adding some spice to the space with maybe some audio-visual interactive gadgetry’ (19).

Manovich concludes the essay by restating the importance of seeing electronic media as more than a screen. He urges architects to go “beyond the ‘surface as electronic screen paradigm’” and consider the space of data flow as tangible and something to be studied (20).

Tue, November 15 2016 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Akim

an interesting music collaborative work

Thanks for your summaries , looking forward hearing your presentations wanted to share this collaborative music project http://www.wimp.com/virtual-choir-performs-via-webcam/

Wed, November 9 2016 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Amit

Mark Terry’s Responses to Maddison’s Questions for Today’s Class

Hi Everyone!
Since I can’t be with you in person today, I’m “mailing in” my responses to the reading by way of answering Maddison’s posted questions:

1. Murray seems to focus his analysis on visual arts. Can Murray’s thesis also be applied to other art forms such as music or even dance?

I believe they can. In particular, the infinite nature of the fold can be seen in the various ways music gets appropriated into other music (sampling), film (soundtracks) even social places (supermarkets, elevators). The same can be said for dance, but not so much for a particular performance which is often a singular experience for both performer and audience, but more in the sense of a style of dance (break-dancing, the jitterbug, the Charleston, etc.). These seem to transcend both time and artistic media as we see them re-surface in various arts, media and even social places (discos, clubs).

2. Can linear narratives also evoke the “fold”? Does traditional or mainstream cinema also have the ability to challenge spectators understanding of time?

I’m not sure about certain linear narratives. I’m sure there are examples, but none that spring to mind. But certain technical approaches to mainstream cinema and storytelling devices can be. I’m thinking of camera moves, editing techniques and storytelling practices that define and challenge the viewers’ understanding of time: the quick, blurred pan, the wavy transition and the calendar pages that fly off month by month, respectively. While these techniques define our understanding of time within the story, they also serve to be timeless methods of defining time for the viewers, especially in mainstream cinema, and to a less extent, television.

3. Referring back to one of Murray’s key questions, do you think the Baroque function is a marker of the death of cinema in the twenty-first century?

Not at all, to me, it seems like the Baroque function is simply another – currently popular – way of expressing cinematic story-telling. The fact that it transcends all form of cinema (art film, documentary, etc.) is testament to its popularity not only among artists and filmmakers, but also to the audiences for whom these films are

4. Do we have to know that we’re interacting with contemporary art in order for the fold to be enacted?

I don’t believe so. the fold exists – when it does – whether or not the audience is aware of it. Being aware of it makes the experience more interesting in the end, I think.

Wed, November 9 2016 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Mark

Reporting from Marrakech – Mark Terry at COP22

Hello Future Cinema Class!
My class project is being presented here at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, more commonly known as COP22. I’ve conducted an interview with Adriana Jiminez who is in charge of education, training and public awareness for the COP conferences. She has collaborated with me in the design features of my project, an interactive GIS map of world showcasing more than 250 video reports of new climate research worldwide. Here’s our interview: Mark Terry Interviews Adriana Jiminez at COP22 in Marrakech
Tomorrow, just before our class, at 5:00 pm our time, I will be holding a press conference for more than 300 journalists introducing this new data delivery system. I will be giving a demonstration of how it works – PLEASE technology, don’t fail me now! See you next Wednesday!

Tue, November 8 2016 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Mark

Discussion Questions

One last thing, here are some discussion questions for Wednesday!

  1. Murray seems to focus his analysis on visual arts. Can Murray’s thesis also be applied to other art forms such as music or even dance?
  2. Can linear narratives also evoke the “fold”? Does traditional or mainstream cinema also have the ability to challenge spectators understanding of time?
  3. Referring back to one of Murray’s key questions, do you think the Baroque function is a marker of the death of cinema in the twenty-first century?
  4. Do we have to know that we’re interacting with contemporary art in order for the fold to be enacted?

Mon, November 7 2016 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Maddison

Digital Baroque: New Media Art and Cinematic Folds – Chapters 1-5

Key Terms
Baroque: Historical term used to describe the art of the 17th century that is characterized by ornate detail. This artistic style used exaggerated motion and  detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur.

The Fold: “a flexible or an elastic body still has cohering parts that form a fold, such that they are not separated into parts of parts but are rather divided to infinity in smaller and smaller folds that always retain a certain cohesion. Thus a continuous labyrinth is not a line dissolving into grains, but resembles a sheet of paper divided into infinite folds or separated into bending movements, each one determined by the consistent or conspiring surroundings.” (Deleuz)

Digital Baroque Summary

“Digital” and “Baroque” are two words we would not normally consider together. However, Timothy Murray’s Digital Baroque: New Media Art and Cinematic Folds uses the concept of “the fold” (developed in Deleuze’s The Fold: Liebniz and the Baroque) to examine the interconnectedness of the two.

Murray begins Digital Baroque by posing two questions:

  1. Does new media stand forth as a reminder of the mortality of cinema?
  2. Does the Baroque function as a marker of the death of cinema in the twenty-first century as an energetic carrier of the figures of mourning, melancholia so fundamental to the Baroque?”

By providing close readings and analyses of films, videos, CD-ROMs, and installations attuned to the baroque nuances of the fold, Murray aims to shift critical attention away from the romantic and modernist strategies that have dominated the criticism and creation of new media.

Murray argues that new media art practices are informed by pre-modern thought processes and artistic practices, specifically, the Baroque. As Murray states, “new media screen arts consistently embody and display the tissue of baroque paradigms, from the dynamics of serial accumulation and the trauma of temporal folds to the cultural promise of what I will call digital incompossibility that makes quake the previously confident stature of single-centered subjectivity” (17).

Murray suggests that digital art (e.g., CD-ROMs, installations, interactive websites) is a representation of the Baroque for several reasons:

  1. Murray uses a variety of new media artists such as June Paik, Bill Viola, Thierry Kuntzel, Jean-Luc Godard, Peter Greenaway, Chris Marker, and more to highlight the relations between digital art and Baroque.
  2. Unlike art of the Baroque period, we are capable of interacting with a piece of digital art. This interaction is significant in terms of the fold. The “communication between” digital artwork and its user is not simply a hyperlink to another website or page within a page. What now occurs between two texts is not a matter of opposition, but rather that adds too and extends the original piece. I.e. more folds.

By applying the concept of the fold to digital art, Murray suggests, “the fold is the machinery of intersubjectivity and inter-activity” (6).  Murray’s use of the Baroque, thus, suggests that the fold represents how participants are included in and become a part of art.

Murray divides Digital Baroque into 4 sections. Each section of the book focuses on a specific temporal mode (past, present, and future), but does not move in a chronological progression from front to back, but is folded and enfolded. Each section or chapter could point to, refer to, or provide a hyperlink to other chapters in the book.

Part I: From Video Black to Digital Baroque

Chapter 1 outlines performative passages through early modern space and epistemology by contemporary video installation artists. This chapter articulates how the new media subject becomes inscribed in the accumulating flow of digital data, information, and imagery. Chapter 2 applies this analysis of electronic intensity to the understanding of representational power put forth by the philosopher of early modern representation, Louis Marin, and the cinema and video artist, Thierry Kuntzel. Kuntzel’s work provides this chapter with a conceptual landscape for the consideration of paradigms of light, power, and corporeality. This is significant for contemporary politics of race and sexuality.

Part II: Digital Deleuze: Baroque Folds of Shakespearean Passage

This section brings Deleuze and William Shakespeare together to provide the textual and intellectual frameworks for cinematic statements on the Baroque by JeanLuc Godard and Peter Greenaway. Chapter 3 is shaped by Godard’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear for a dialogue between Godard and Deleuze. Murray looks at the restoring of a new baroque era where Godardian cinema seems caught within clashing systems of analog and digital representation. Chapter 4 shifts its attention to the panoramic mise-en-scène of “collective memory.” This positions Greenaway’s sensitivity to serialization, time, and trauma in dialogue with Deleuze’s articulation of the philosophical promise of new cinema. The cinematic fold is distinguished as the textured event shared by writing, the deep memory of the archive, and the digital technologies that produce, retain, and disseminate text and images.

Part III: Present Past: Digitality, Psychoanalysis, and the Memory of Cinema

This section concentrates on the memory of cinema in the digital age. Chapter 5 sketches the relation of melancholic baroque concerns with the death of cinema in the age of new media to narratives of loss and trauma as staged in a range of experimental projects in digital media, including tapes by Gary Hill and Daniel Reeves and CD-ROMs by Grace Quintanilla and Keith Piper.

In sum, Murray makes an unexpected connection between the old and the new, and analyzes the philosophical paradigms that inform contemporary screen arts. This connection between contemporary art and the past, as well as contemporary art and the Baroque, will be further discussed on Wedneday. In the interest of this summary, I did not detail the examples and case studies Murray uses to support his thesis. I will discuss these further in my presentation, as well as applying contemporary virtual reality technologies and experiences to see if these works can also apply to Murray’s work. I look forward to an enlivening discussion. See you Wednesday!

Mon, November 7 2016 » Future Cinema » 1 Comment » Author: Maddison