Future Cinema

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

Yowza, visual sound???!?!!

https://www.wired.com/story/an-artist-uses-an-iphone-to-visualize-sounds-in-ar/?mbid=social_fb

Wed, November 22 2017 » Future Cinema » 1 Comment » Author: Marko Djurdjic

Defining Narrative

It seems to me that in many of this week’s readings (and Manovich’s in particular) the definition of ‘narrative’ is somewhat restricted, even anachronistic. Isn’t any time-based activity, in essence, a narrative?

Wed, November 22 2017 » Future Cinema » 1 Comment » Author: mtrommer

Question for LAST week’s class

I’m afraid that I was under the weather last week and only managed to catch up with the readings for the 15th over the last week. This post will have my question for that class; the question for this week’s readings are forthcoming. Sorry for the delay!

So… How does transmedia as an industrial practice operate in a transnational, globalized media world? In Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, Henry Jenkins describes the Wachowski’s recruiting efforts for different components of The Matrix story world as a planet-spanning, border-crossing creative collaboration between artists who admire each other’s work. Jenkins even positions the Wachowski’s interest in transmedia storytelling as the end result of a “fascination with what anthropologist Mimi Ito has described as Japan’s ‘media mix’ culture” (Jenkins 112).

Does this description of “collaborative authorship,” initiated by influential Western filmmakers, accurately account for the power dynamics that still exist between American media companies and the Asian artists recruited for The Animatrix? If transmedia is inherently transnational, what does that mean for concepts of cultural appropriation or colonization?

Wed, November 22 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: David

Questions for Today’s Class

Reading this week’s texts and in my studies in general, I am often struck by the conflation between the database, the archive, and memory. As such, I was wondering if we could discuss how the database differs from the archive and how they each function as metonyms for memory? How has database culture changed how we think about memory or how we remember?

- Theo X

Wed, November 22 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: theox25

Thoughts on Manovich, Kinder, and Database Cinema…

Hi folks — since I’ll not be in class today, I thought I’d share a few thoughts in reaction to this week’s readings as a roundabout response to Slav & Shiyam’s discussion questions.
(more…)

Tue, November 21 2017 » Future Cinema, Manovich, database, interfaces, narrative » No Comments » Author: sRoberts

Summary: Database Cinema and interactive documentary practices – Manovich

Database as a Symbolic Form
This article is about the rise and domination of a form of cultural expression that affects
virtually every aspect of communicative life within modernity: the database. Historically,
cinema has privileged “the narrative” as the strategic means to convey meaningful information.
In fact, it has been so privileged that it is difficult to find something meaningful if it is codified
otherwise. If in lieu of seeing a film in its final composite of shots, but were thrown into all the
non-edited footage in a disorganized file folder (where file names aren’t at all meaningful but
are randomly named) could we effectively call it a film? I think most of us would be inclined to
think otherwise. But the database “structures” so much of life, that, according to Manovich, we
should start thinking about it for what it is (and certainly not take it for granted). Or at least
that’s my take from the article.
The framework of the internet is, essentially a database. There is no first or last page to the
internet, beginning or end. It has no depth, only different levels of virtuality that are
represented by other levels of virtuality (with the word “level” not necessarily implying
hierarchy). If someone were to say “oh, I’m going to go and understand everything there is to
know about the internet”, they’d be on an absurd quest, on account you can’t really
understand the internet, because the internet isn’t a thing. It’s a database. And a database’
ontology is not meant for understanding in its entirety on account that it possesses no entirety
and no boundary.
In the land of computers, Manovich future divides new media objects not just in terms of data
structures but as well in terms of algorithms. Algorithms are executable, data structures are
that from which one executes; indeed, they, as Manovich puts it, “have a symbiotic
relationship”. I should add here, that data can exist as it is or as they are (depending on what
one thinks of plurality). Algorithms are instructions needing an external instructor (computer
or non-computer). Data, doesn’t have an external instructor on account that in most instances
it has no externality or internality because it is what it is.
Perhaps the most complex part of the article – something I’m still trying to get my head
wrapped around – is the paralleling the database/narrative dichotomy with the semiological
dichotomy of the syntagm and the paradigm. If I may interpolate, the syntagm is “the dish” and
paradigm is the “freedom of the cook”; in other words, the syntagm is whatever that’s present
in communication, the paradigm is all else. So, in terms of the database vs narrative
dichotomy, it’s easy to think of the database as being paradigmatic (because, it’s everything),
and the narrative as syntagmatic (because it’s the final product). Of course, new media, inverts
this “paradigm” in the sense that the paradigm becomes the seen and the syntagm becomes
the unseen (or rather unthought).
This in essence is what this article is about.
Soft Cinema
Software cinema essentially is the kind of cinema generated and compiled by a computer. It’s
composed of two parts, a mechanism to generate imagery, and another to display it. The
details I’m not sure really matter, as really, the main point to draw here is to look at a kind of
simultaneous art made predominently through computer database processes as opposed
narrative human processes.

By: Shiyam Ramachandran

Database as a Symbolic Form


This article is about the rise and domination of a form of cultural expression that affects virtually every aspect of communicative life within modernity: the database. Historically, cinema has privileged “the narrative” as the strategic means to convey meaningful information.

In fact, it has been so privileged that it is difficult to find something meaningful if it is codified otherwise. If in lieu of seeing a film in its final composite of shots, but were thrown into all the non-edited footage in a disorganized file folder (where file names aren’t at all meaningful but are randomly named) could we effectively call it a film? I think most of us would be inclined to think otherwise. But the database “structures” so much of life, that, according to Manovich, we should start thinking about it for what it is (and certainly not take it for granted). Or at least that’s my take from the article.

The framework of the internet is, essentially a database. There is no first or last page to the internet, beginning or end. It has no depth, only different levels of virtuality that are represented by other levels of virtuality (with the word “level” not necessarily implying hierarchy). If someone were to say “oh, I’m going to go and understand everything there is to know about the internet”, they’d be on an absurd quest, on account you can’t really understand the internet, because the internet isn’t a thing. It’s a database. And a database’ ontology is not meant for understanding in its entirety on account that it possesses no entirety and no boundary.

In the land of computers, Manovich future divides new media objects not just in terms of data structures but as well in terms of algorithms. Algorithms are executable, data structures are that from which one executes; indeed, they, as Manovich puts it, “have a symbiotic relationship”. I should add here, that data can exist as it is or as they are (depending on what one thinks of plurality). Algorithms are instructions needing an external instructor (computer or non-computer). Data, doesn’t have an external instructor on account that in most instances it has no externality or internality because it is what it is.

Perhaps the most complex part of the article – something I’m still trying to get my head wrapped around – is the paralleling the database/narrative dichotomy with the semiological dichotomy of the syntagm and the paradigm. If I may interpolate, the syntagm is “the dish” and paradigm is the “freedom of the cook”; in other words, the syntagm is whatever that’s present in communication, the paradigm is all else. So, in terms of the database vs narrative dichotomy, it’s easy to think of the database as being paradigmatic (because, it’s everything), and the narrative as syntagmatic (because it’s the final product). Of course, new media, inverts this “paradigm” in the sense that the paradigm becomes the seen and the syntagm becomes the unseen (or rather unthought). This in essence is what this article is about.

Soft Cinema

Software cinema essentially is the kind of cinema generated and compiled by a computer. It’s composed of two parts, a mechanism to generate imagery, and another to display it. The details I’m not sure really matter, as really, the main point to draw here is to look at a kind of simultaneous art made predominently through computer database processes as opposed narrative human processes.

Mon, November 20 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: slavica

Database Cinema and interactive documentary practices -Martha Kinder and Chris Marker

Summary: Database Cinema and interactive documentary
practices
Slavica Ceperkovic and Shiyam Ramachandran
Martha Kinder  – “Designing a Database Cinema”
In 1997 cultural theorist Martha Kinder went to University of Southern
California to work on “The Labyrinth Project” an applied research
project developed in the digital media lab in collaboration with Pat
O’Neil. This work produced three pieces for an exhibition, as well as a
DVD rom and used 35mm film, found footage, audio narration and an
interactive interface.
Interface designer Rosmary Comella and graphic designer Kristy H.A.
Kang, worked with a team of students, alumni, and free lance
professionals with Martha Kinder and executive producing. In
combing archival and new content, Kinder states that the goal was to
create “electronic fictions” but what was resulted was “interactive
documentaries”. In further examination she classifies the work under
two subgenres of interactive documentary; personal memoir and the
second an “archeological exploration of a specific location through
layers of time”. Kinder indicates that both are interrelated in that both
sub-genres blur boundaries of fiction and rely on artifacts.
In contrast to Lev Manovich’s opnion to database narrative, Kinder
states that database memory is : “Two compatible structures whose
combination is crucial to the creative expansion of new media since
all narratives are constructed by selecting items from databases (that
usually remain hidden), and then combining these items to create a
particular story. Despite the cyber-structualist dream of totality, the
database, like the narrative, is always selective”.
Kinder indicates that all the Labyrinth project is “database narrative”
where stories are all crucial to language. Although it does not have a
clear cut beginning or ending, it presents a narrative field of story
elements for the user.
Kinder speaks about the convergence of cinema with new media has
shaped a series of database narratives in films such as “Ground hog
day, slackers, Natural born killers and Run Lola Run”. She also
refers to Crhis Marker’s CD –Rom Immemory (1999) and film Level 5.
Kinder touches on pre-digital interactive narrative models shown in
books such as Laurence Sterne’s comic novel “Tristram Shandy”
where the narrator makes a hypothetical lady reader go back and re-
read a chapter.
In closing, Kinder reflects on previous narrative structures rather than
future utopian structures and the evolution of storytelling through the
combination of design, choice and chance.
Chris Marker – Immemory
Chris Marker is known for “essay films” where there is an unusual use
of narrative as text where it is rhythmically interwoven with the image.
This creates a complex montage structure which can be described
following Gilles Deleuze’s “audio visual image’. This results in a new
role of the viewer where they must actively participate in the film.
Dominant themes in Chris Marker’s works are recollection and
memory. He uses film, installation and CD-ROM as a process of
recollection and Marker uses images as a function and catalyst of
changing views of history and past events.
First shown in 1990 at the Centre George Pompidou, Paris, Marker’s
work “Zapping Zone, Proposals for an imaginary Television” used
film, video, television, photography and computers as part of the
installation. In the animation pieces, viewers can control some
aspects with a mouse click that loops the sequences creating new
narrative connections. Compared to Tarkosk’s film Stalker (1978)
where the zone is a place that follows no logical views, in Marker’s
“Zapping zone” there is no straight path to knowledge and that stories
rather than one single history is the result.
In Marker’s CD rom work “Immemory” (1997) the zapping is replaced
by a mouse click and memory is gained through seven “zones”.
Themes of memory and archive are also reflected in this work and a
number of paths can be taken by the viewer to review images and
sequences. The motif of the journey also is apparent in this work and
it does not present recollection and memory as a history book but
rather as geography. The navigation allows multiple ways to branch
off into other zones.
Questions:
1) What are different implications of Manovich and Kinder’s
differences in the definition of Database Cinema?
2) Does Chris Marker’s Immemory reflect Manovich’s or Kinder’s
definition of Database Cinema?

Summary: Database Cinema and interactive documentary practices

By: Slav

Martha Kinder  – “Designing a Database Cinema”

In 1997 cultural theorist Martha Kinder went to University of Southern California to work on “The Labyrinth Project” an applied research project developed in the digital media lab in collaboration with Pat O’Neil. This work produced three pieces for an exhibition, as well as a DVD rom and used 35mm film, found footage, audio narration and an interactive interface.

Interface designer Rosmary Comella and graphic designer Kristy H.A. Kang, worked with a team of students, alumni, and free lance professionals with Martha Kinder and executive producing. In combing archival and new content, Kinder states that the goal was to create “electronic fictions” but what was resulted was “interactive documentaries”. In further examination she classifies the work under two subgenres of interactive documentary; personal memoir and the second an “archeological exploration of a specific location through layers of time”. Kinder indicates that both are interrelated in that both sub-genres blur boundaries of fiction and rely on artifacts.

In contrast to Lev Manovich’s opnion to database narrative, Kinder states that database memory is : “Two compatible structures whose combination is crucial to the creative expansion of new media since all narratives are constructed by selecting items from databases (that usually remain hidden), and then combining these items to create a particular story. Despite the cyber-structualist dream of totality, the database, like the narrative, is always selective”.

Kinder indicates that all the Labyrinth project is “database narrative” where stories are all crucial to language. Although it does not have a clear cut beginning or ending, it presents a narrative field of story elements for the user.

Kinder speaks about the convergence of cinema with new media has shaped a series of database narratives in films such as “Ground hog day, slackers, Natural born killers and Run Lola Run”. She also refers to Crhis Marker’s CD –Rom Immemory (1999) and film Level 5.

Kinder touches on pre-digital interactive narrative models shown in books such as Laurence Sterne’s comic novel “Tristram Shandy” where the narrator makes a hypothetical lady reader go back and re-read a chapter.

In closing, Kinder reflects on previous narrative structures rather than future utopian structures and the evolution of storytelling through the combination of design, choice and chance.

Chris Marker – Immemory

Chris Marker is known for “essay films” where there is an unusual use of narrative as text where it is rhythmically interwoven with the image. This creates a complex montage structure which can be described following Gilles Deleuze’s “audio visual image’. This results in a new role of the viewer where they must actively participate in the film.

Dominant themes in Chris Marker’s works are recollection and memory. He uses film, installation and CD-ROM as a process of recollection and Marker uses images as a function and catalyst of changing views of history and past events.

First shown in 1990 at the Centre George Pompidou, Paris, Marker’s work “Zapping Zone, Proposals for an imaginary Television” used film, video, television, photography and computers as part of the installation. In the animation pieces, viewers can control some aspects with a mouse click that loops the sequences creating new narrative connections. Compared to Tarkosk’s film Stalker (1978) where the zone is a place that follows no logical views, in Marker’s “Zapping zone” there is no straight path to knowledge and that stories rather than one single history is the result.

In Marker’s CD rom work “Immemory” (1997) the zapping is replaced by a mouse click and memory is gained through seven “zones”. Themes of memory and archive are also reflected in this work and a number of paths can be taken by the viewer to review images and sequences. The motif of the journey also is apparent in this work and it does not present recollection and memory as a history book but rather as geography. The navigation allows multiple ways to branch off into other zones.

Questions:

1) What are different implications of Manovich and Kinder’s differences in the definition of Database Cinema?

2) Does Chris Marker’s Immemory reflect Manovich’s or Kinder’s definition of Database Cinema?

Mon, November 20 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: slavica

Question for today

In her article “Designing a Database Cinema,” Marsha Kinder, speaking of Luis Bunuel’s films The Milky Way and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, writes, “One can follow any of the [many] narrative strands [in the films] that, although ingeniously interwoven, purposely never cohere – a networking [of narrative strand] enabling the viewer to observe the narrative engine in action.”

In thinking of this interweaving of ‘narrative strands,’ I thought of the proliferation of mash-up culture, which grew in popularity in the mid-2000s when software for amalgamating and remixing both audio and video became readily available. In particular, I thought of Girl Talk, a mash up music artist whose compositions were coupled with remixed videos of the songs they sampled. The idea of remixing interests me because it takes a work that has a narrative strand (or, at a the very least, a structured beginning-middle-end), and flips it, distorts it, chops it up and restructures it, defeating the purpose of the original’s narrative and creating a new narrative.

My question is, when a work is purposely non-narrative, or appears as anarrative (a new word?), how often do you, as the viewer, attempt to create a narrative of your own? How often are we actually afforded the opportunity to do this? And does our ability to connect causal elements in visual media mean that a strict, structured narrative is not necessarily required when fashioning a ‘mental narrative’?

Some Girl Talk examples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JBAxkZun3s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKqkcHvJN9k

Wed, November 15 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Marko Djurdjic

shared doc for Nov 15th 2017 – thoughts and questions here

follow this link:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZfcOTQI6FMk7HK7fYtVOgEZ7EK_bwztsl4xoNZOBXvI/edit?usp=sharing

Wed, November 15 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Caitlin

Question for today (Elssesser’s article)

Elssesser theorizes that new technologies would expand notions or “pillars” that made of cinema. One of the “pillars” include ‘discovery’ of persistence of vision which can be interpreted as the nature of moving images itself. However, cinema at its current stage has an end point: featured length cinema runs up to 95 min to 2 hours etc etc. What Lev Manovich proposes in “Soft Cinema: database narrative” are “films” that are edited in real time from footage in a database and should run forever. This new kind of digital “film” not only disrupt the dynamic of spectatorship and authorship, it also redefine the concept of “persistence of vision”—from what I can understand as the moving images should be never ending. Without the constraints of time, the structure that defines narrativee and flow no longer exists, does that give rise to a new form of cinema or is it no longer cinema?

Wed, November 15 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: yolanda