Future Cinema

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

Chris Marker’s “Immemory” CD-ROM

Get it while it’s hot! The file is .NRG format, for the old Windows-based burning application Nero. There are various ways, though, to convert it to more current formats, including .ISO—just do a quick online search and you’ll find a solution!

Wed, October 25 2017 » digital storytelling, hypermedia » 1 Comment » Author: sRoberts

Digital Baorque Part III and IV / Summary & Questions

Behind the complexity that is the digital baroque, and past Murray’s use of historical, cultural, and philosophical jargon, Digital Baroque is an explanation and examination of new media arts, temporal folds, and the past, present and future potential of cinema. Murray writes “The digital Baroque will be discussed as enfolding the user in the energetic present, as articulated in relation to the analog past while bearing on the digital future” (7). In my interpretation of Murray’s text, he provides an in-depth analysis of digital art and its takings from the Baroque period. From Part III to Part IV, Murray traces the transformation of the cinema, from its claimed death to its return in a very different, more philosophical and interactive form.

In Part III Murray discusses the claim that many have had about the death of cinema. Murray, taking the opposing side, highlights the possibility of the return of the cinema with new possibilities and potential. In this part, Murray discusses melancholy of the baroque period and its appearance in experimental art through the themes of loss, trauma, and mourning.

In chapter 5, Murray discusses the cinematic concept of code and craft. He writes “might the promise of digital art dwell somewhere in the in-between, in the interstitial zone between the binaries that are shared by our cinematic, critical, and digital heritages: code and craft” (141). He situates digital baroque as always in between, between two things because it does not fully belong to either binary. After many rhetorical questions about the cinema, its demise and return, Murray implies the continuation and potential of the cinema as it carries on the code in the digital realm through baroque-esk themes. Through a review of various projects of digital art, Murray explores melancholy as illustrated through new media and expresses his contention for interactive media.

Murray discusses Keith Piper’s works by explaining that, instead of viewing Piper’s CD-ROM as a diminished piece of art, it must be viewed by its relevance to new media. Murray writes “it is within the journey of interactivity that the user of Piper’s CD-ROM is situated in ‘the in between’ in the toggle effect, between the history of colonialism and its mime, between the object of technological interface and the subject representing racial, cultural, and national specificity and difference” (152). Murray makes the point of highlighting this potential of new media, to frame issues of social and cultural importance as often unrepresented in other forms of passive media.

Murray progresses with his discussion of trauma and loss represented in new media, with a look into Chris Marker’ Level 5 and the ability of new media arts to represent history in a way that is generally not shown. Marker’s inclusion of a personal narrative, that of Laura’s, within a historically significant context, promotes Murrays’ hope of digital arts to fold the viewer within the layers of the project while providing a more realistic approach to illustrating history.  Murray applauds Marker’s film for representing trauma in the kind of “in-between” that is the digital baroque, and additionally, a form that colludes the fictional with the historical and social. The blur of fiction and reality somehow allows the viewer to experience the story from a new perspective.

In chapter 7 and 8, Murray elaborates on his proposal of a “psychophilosophical” approach to art in the digital age and his theory of the folding of past, present and the future. Through explorations of digital installations, CD-ROMS, and other digital arts, Murray discusses the theme of becoming and the interactivity of new media.

In part IV Murray explores the future of cinema for new media arts. Murray discusses further, the different temporal states in which cinema and new media exist. Murray writes “Deleuze’s approach to cinema is guided by his rather simple formula of cinematic time, or time’s subjectivity: ‘it is in the present that we make a memory, in order to make use of it in the future when the present will be past” (240). This simple formula guided traditional cinematic code that new media tends to distance itself from. Murray continues by claiming “the body or shape of time, the event within which we find ourselves, is itself something of a phantom oscillating between the not yet and no longer, virtual but graspable in the actual. Deleuze insists that this phantom has been fundamental to cinema, haunting it and its spectators, until the arrival, that is, of “modern cinema” which has given form to the virtual image of time.” (240). Here, Murray refers to the cinema’s approach to preserving memory and projecting the “present past,” while also referring to the idea of digital media being capable of passing this temporal bound. In terms of time, Murray prioritizes the ability of digital media to manipulate time and thus manipulate the way users interact with such media.

Murray concludes by explaining the ability of digital media art to violate the traditions of the formal screen, and make possible a different, less restricted screen (243). Murray explores various digital art to support his claims of the future of cinema. Murray speaks of Jill Scott’s interactive series Frontiers of Utopia by saying “Scott’s complex new media events call on the sites of history, the projects of science, and the various possibilities of multimedia to solicit the users to participate collectively in her new media environments” (249). Participation is key in new media art and the ability of the user to fold themselves within the complexity of architectural layers adds a profound dimension to the viewing of cinema. The breaking of the traditional screen and the space for interactivity opens up the door for virtual reality and other forms of digital technology to change the way the viewer experiences narrative. Murray’s text is a complex exploration of temporal folds that inevitably alter the way we view cinema.

Questions for discussion:

1. Murray writes “In an interesting way, Deleuze positions new media at the interval of cinematic time, as the carrier of both cinema’s passing and its future” (241). Do you believe cinema and new media art can coexist? Is it possible for cinema to still exist as a form of expression, even with the rise of digital technology? What conditions must be met/kept for cinema to still hold ground in the digital age?

2. While discussing the shift of art to the digital realm, does this tend to lose its significance in translation? Can art still hold its meaning when transcribed and portrayed through technology?

Wed, October 25 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: preeti28

From the Guardian: “Empathy – the latest gadget Silicon Valley wants to sell you”

An interesting, critical take on the current push to frame VR as the “ultimate empathy machine” (Cf. Chris Milk).

“Tech needs the myth of the empathy machine for two related reasons: to enhance VR’s reputation, and to expand its audience.”

Wed, October 25 2017 » Future Cinema, digital storytelling, virtual reality » No Comments » Author: sRoberts

Questions for discussion: Digital Baroque

1.) Does the constant production and consumption of the digital age enhance culture or detract from it?
2.) How can Murray’s concept of the digital baroque enlighten future cinema production such as virtual reality?
3.) How does digital, which is binary by nature, have folds?

Tue, October 24 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: kate.womby.browne

Presentation on Digital Baroque: New Media Art and Cinematic Folds – Preface to Part II

In the rich and complicated Digital Baroque: New Media Art and Cinematic Folds, Timothy Murray conjoins paradoxical terms — digital and baroque — and suggests they are intricately linked. These terms represent artistic genres or categories, as well as periods of time: digital as current, often interactive, and electronic; and baroque as historical, ornate, and sculptural, often suggesting movement through dramatic effects. As with any genre, these terms frame audience expectations and the we way in which the work is interpreted. By considering the ways in which these two styles overlap, Murray encourages a ‘panoramatic’ interpretation of new media art which he describes as characteristic of the Baroque, encouraging both visual and spatial engagement with the work (Murray, 2008: 10).
Interested in “the extent of the interface between recent projects in the electronic arts and the public memory of early modern art, culture, and philosophy” (Murray, 2008: x), Murray explores several digital artworks — digital films, video installations, and interactive media — and considers the ways our interpretation of these works could be enriched if read as Baroque. Offering philosophical insight into new media art and its dialogue with baroque art, Murray proposes a shift toward a new paradigm for viewing and interpreting digital art that reflects the Deleuzian concept of the fold as developed in The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque (Deleuze, 1993: 6):
A flexible or an elastic body [that] 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 independent points, as flowing sand might dissolve 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.
The notion that insides and outsides are not separate, but rather are part of the same fabric, provides an interesting entry point to analyzing phenomena, particularly in the multifaceted digital arts. Applying this Deleuzian psychophilosophical approach of the fold to digital art, Murray steers us away from linear models of projection and readings to a nonlinear, temporal approach he describes as intrinsic to the digital form. Although Deleuze speaks of the fold as it applies to Baroque art, Murray argues that the interactive nature of digital art provides particularly prime conditions for the fold — where meaning accumulates through the active participation of the audience.
Understanding the concept of the fold to suggest that projection (of art) is not the end point but rather, that meaning is generated through the in-between space the fold provides, Murray discusses the digital baroque as “enfolding the user in the energetic present, as articulated in relation to the analog past while bearing on the digital future” (Murray, 2008: 7). Shifting the paradigm through which new media art is viewed, Murray encourages a folded structure in which the artist and audience touch on past, present, and future in their interaction with the work. An audience experiences the work in the present, while the artist’s work is both influenced by and influences understanding of the past, as well as has an effect on the future.
This interest in temporal, nonlinear modes is reflected in the four defined parts of the book: From Video Black to Digital Baroque; Digital Deleuze: Baroque Folds of Shakespearean Passage; Present Past: Digitality, Psychoanalysis, and the Memory of Cinema; and Scanning the Future. These parts do not address time or temporal space as mutually exclusive, and the book itself ultimately embodies or performs the fold in its structure. Encouraging a teleological reading, Murray states that the book must be “folded and unfolded in the process of reading” (Murray, 2008: 26). At times repeating lines of text and referring both backward and forward, Murray mirrors his commentary on the archive and proposed “shift away from centered subjectivity to energized information relay” (Murray, 2008: 46). Throughout these four parts, Murray provides thorough analysis of numerous digital artworks to which he applies his theory of the digital baroque.
In Part I: From Video Black to Digital Baroque, Murray examines video installations as manifestations of the archive — demonstrating an accumulation of, and interaction with, visual and digital information. In Chapter 1, Viola’s large-scale sound and video installation The Crossing (1996) is discussed in great detail, as an example of the power of reference to past and future in digital representations or the “dissonant multiplicity of representation” (Murray, 2008: 49). The Crossing projects two videos of a man side-by-side on a large screen, and works within a common theme for Viola — transcendence. The man appears from a darkened background and walks forward until he fills the screen. He then stands still and on either side of the screen, one man is engulfed by fire while the other is saturated by water. Once the fire and water subside, the videos return to darkness again and the cycle repeats.
Murray points to the many connections he sees between this work and the concept of the digital baroque, describing in particular the role of the viewer, who must move around the space in order to see both video images in the installation. Through this movement, the viewer is “positioned in the undulating fold of the in-between” (Murray, 2008: 55) — in a temporal place of becoming. And again in the theme of cycles, Murray examines Kuntzel’s digital video installation The Four Seasons (Plus or Minus One) (1993), inspired by Poussin’s series of paintings. Kuntzel’s installation makes use of play with light and body to situate viewers between scenes in a place where they “act out and embody the interval between narrative and affect” (Murray, 2008: 70). What are the potentials of this powerful middle space in terms of immersive cinema?
Murray links Deleuze and Shakespeare in Part II: Digital Deleuze: Baroque Folds of Shakespearean Passage, specifically looking at how the concept of the fold can frame and further enhance works by filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and Peter Greenaway. Murray argues that Godard’s King Lear (1987) shifts audience perspective by throwing them into a gap between the classic and modern versions. The repositioning of the text disrupts the audience point-of-view. Moreover, Greenaway’s Prospero’s Books (1991) — the story of The Tempest — considers the baroque concept of the archive and how our sharing of memories from this archive provides an endless return in what Murray describes as the “baroque crisis of property in the social field” (Murray, 2008: 28). This relates back to Murray’s earlier discussion around cycles which, along with serialization are symptomatic of digital culture.
By amplifying the connections between the baroque and the digital, and encouraging an enfolded approach to interpreting new media art, Murray offers interesting pathways toward understanding and conceptualizing future cinemas. His approach is supported by Munster’s comments on the digital and the baroque, which also apply Deleuze’s theory of the baroque fold to enhance interpretation of the digital. As she explains, “thinking through the baroque as an unfolding ongoing event allows us to see its virtual and actual relations to computational culture and therefore to understand culture according to new modalities” (Munster, 2011: 41). This perception complements Murray’s and further emphasizes the benefits of a paradigm shift toward understanding new media through the concept of the fold.

Tue, October 24 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: kate.womby.browne

Question (s) for Tomorrow’s Class

Reading The Digital Baroque, I was most struck by a passage on Page 218 in which Murray cites an quotation from Antonin Artaud that states “The cinema seems to me to have been made to express matters of thought, the interior of consciousness.”

As such, I was wondering if we could discuss how do other art forms and/or technologies engage us on the level of thought? Similarly, how do other art forms and/or technologies activate memory? Is intellectual stimulation and activation of memory key to making a work of art great?

- Theo X

Tue, October 24 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: theox25

Separating wheat from the chaff

Anthropy’s dream of an egalitarian model of video game production—one where anyone who wants to make video games has access to the tools to do so—promises a glut of games, good and bad, from countless new voices. As she acknowledges, though, most of these games will be “mediocre,” citing YouTube as a similar democratizing resource that made it possible for anyone to make “content” (ugh), even though most of them are “boring, familiar, or unwatchable” (11).

In this model of video gaming scene, is there no role whatsoever for “gatekeepers” of any kind? Who determines the “value” of the games—or identifies and articulates the value different games may have for different players? (This is presuming, of course, that reaching more than a handful of players is the developer’s goal.) Since publishers and developers have too much of a vested interest in making sure certain titles earn back their investment, does an equal-opportunity video game industry as envisioned by Anthropy still require a critical body to ensure worthwhile games find players? Is the existing network of online sites, blogs, and critics sufficient?

Fri, October 20 2017 » Future Cinema, games » No Comments » Author: David

Critical Play Discussion Questions

1. Flanagan calls play a safe space: an inherent aspect of play is that one must feel comfortable before participating. But is this necessarily the case? Are there instances in which play can occur without comfort being offered to the player?
2. Building off of that question, does play inherently result in fun? Can the activist experiences Flanagan cites necessarily be called “fun” by our standards?
3. Play is inherently a performative act. How does that factor into our perception of games as a kind of “future cinema?”

Thu, October 19 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: fiumaraj

Kyoko’s Final Project Proposal

I missed the class time, but here is my proposal.

Future Cinema I / Fall 2017

York University FILM 6507

Proposal for the Final Project

Kyoko Yokoma

Title: Tales of Fukushima

My final project is a multi-screen documentary about the aftermath of Fukushima nuclear disaster. It is an experiment to create an emotionally, intellectually and geographically immersive work in digital media. Using the footage I have filmed in Fukushima since 2014, this work combines some elements of the immersive world described by Scott Lucas –big idea, story, experience, and design –in a simple multi-screen cinema setting. [1]

As seen early in Man with a Camera by Dziga Vertov and followed by many others including Labyrinth Pavillion in Expo 67, multiscreen, montage and split-screen cinema formats have been considered experimental, and therefore, non-narrative. If story is a major factor for creating an immersive world as Lucas said, and if that is what a project aims to be, there should be no reason to avoid it. I will implement stories which the form would expand but would not completely deconstruct.

The multiscreen presentation consists of three screens placed in a U shape. Viewers will be mostly occupied by the narrative on the front screen while the other two long screens show landscapes, creating environment and space that would influence viewers but may not get full attention from them. The 5.1 surround sound will enhance the three-dimensional experience. The goal of the project is to make viewers “feel like a ‘jam’” in the world of music, which “happens as they take everything about the space in and as it begins to act on their eyes and minds.” [2]

[1] Scott Lucas The Immersive World: Designing Theme Parks and Consumer Spaces (New York: Focal Press, 2013).

[2] Ibid., 93.

Wed, October 18 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: kyokoma

game innovation lab @ucs


Welcome to the Game Innovation Lab®

We are the premier center for experimental game design research at USC. Founded in 2004, the lab is directed by Professor Tracy Fullerton. The mission of the lab is to pursue experimental design of games in cultural realms including art, science, politics and learning.
The international success of games that have emerged from the lab, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Cat and the Coup and The Night Journey, have made it a hub for indie and experimental games culture in Los Angeles. Our Playthink Salons attract speakers and participants from across the city and across disciplinary boundaries.
Associated faculty include award winning game designers Richard Lemarchand (Uncharted series) and Peter Brinson (Waco, The Cat and the Coup) as well as pioneering games user researcher Dennis Wixon. Research staff include up and coming game designers Sean Bouchard, Martzi Campos, as well as the talented digital media artists Todd Furmanski and Lucas Peterson. Graduate student researchers in the lab have gone on to stellar careers at Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Zynga and more.
The lab has a strong history of collaboration with cross-disciplinary experts in many fields, including education and technology. Our commitment to an iterative, participatory process brings users, stakeholders and designers into constant dialogue.
Current projects, such as the FutureBound suite of games Walden, a game, and the ChronoCards History games are supported by Microsoft Research, The Gates Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Gilbert Foundation, and The Department of Education.
While there are many areas of game design that the members of the lab community are pursuing, the top-level initiatives of the lab focus on the following areas of investigation:
Experimental game design
Games and learning
Games user research, analysis and metrics
Game aesthetics
Narrative play
Emergent world design
Communities of play
Convergence and cross-media play

Wed, October 18 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Caitlin