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Abstract

A historical drama that can be interpreted at the juncture of theoretical discourses (heritage film, auteur film), genres (historical film, western, road movie) and representational modes (connecting to, but subverting the master narrative of Romanian historical cinema), Radu Jude’s Aferim! (2015) has attracted the attention of the international public by the unique response that it gives to the tradition of representation of the (Romanian) historical past. Its unmatched character even within New Romanian Cinema can be attributed to the fact that it does not focus on tensions of the post-communist condition or their antecedents in the recent communist past; instead, it goes back in history to a much earlier period, to the Romanian ancien régime, after the Ottoman occupation and before the abolition of Gypsy slavery, only to point at the historical roots of current social problems. Through its ingenuous (inter)medial solutions (black-and-white film, with an implied media-archaeological purport; period mise en scène but with an assumed artificiality and constructedness; a simple linear plot infused with a dense dialogue in archaic Romanian, drawn from a multitude of literary and historical sources; a sweeping panorama of 19th-century Wallachian society presented in a succession of tableau compositions), Radu Jude’s ironical-critical collage defetishizes the traditional historical iconography and debunks the mythical national imaginary, unveiling the traumatic history of an ethnic and racial mix.

Abstract

The theatre of Jay Scheib blends theatrical and filmic features, allowing for a theoretical investigation of the manner in which two different media coexist on the same expressive support. How can two distinct media like film and theatre fuse and, at the same time, be apprehended as separate artistic means in a single artifact? The present article uses a theoretical interpretive metaphor that rests on an application of the mechanisms of relationship between two physical systems issued from the quantum mechanical view of reality. From this perspective, the two afore-mentioned media are in an entangled state. Media is understood as “potential materials or forms for future practices,” or “automatisms” (). At the same time, theatrical or cinematic media is apprehended by the audience in a dynamic way, not defined as a static bundle of defining features. Dynamic conceptualization will modulate or “tune” the comprehension of one of the media considered to be a subordinate system in the duplex. The blending of the two media presupposes a local conceptualization unfolding dynamically and an entangled one manifested nonlocal. The distinction between film and theatre is also to be seen as a difference in the cognitive model which posits a detached display (a screen/a scene), an imaginary world (a diegesis) and a spectator (observer). In theatre, the body of the observer is inside the theatrical display setting, while in film, the body of the viewer is conceptualized to be separated from the cinematic display. The notion of threshold, introduced by , renders this shift of attention from one side of the display to the other.

Abstract

This paper inspects the concept of immersion in video games as a gradient category resulting from the degrees of interactivity and immediacy. By factoring in the objective technological affordances of media, as well as the subjective impression that these affordances help create, and the culturally constructed nature of gameplay experience, I argue that high degrees of interactivity and immediacy are not achieved solely by giving the player more freedom of action, and, respectively, by inflecting the content of the narrative as little as possible with the medium’s specific narrative affordances. Quite on the contrary, it is necessary that freedom be limited and content be manipulated for the video game to have high degrees of narrativity and playability, thus ensuring player engagement. In the absence of player engagement, the mediated nature of gaming experience becomes obvious and the level of immersion decreases. In the last section, I explore the relationship between video games and film and point out the consequences the remediation of film has regarding the level of immediacy.

Abstract

The essay offers a brief overview of famous Irish playwright Samuel Beckett’s intermedial practices. By exploring a number of artistic media (drama, theatre, novel, television play, film) the artist tried to get at the essentials of each medium by virtue of his minimalist and media-conscious aesthetics. As a result of this gesture he uncovered certain transmedial properties such as musical rhythm and structure, montage, black and white film and photography aesthetics and tenebrism situated at the core of supposed media-specificity. Moreover, it is argued that Beckettian intermediality has a pronounced meta-referential dimension as defined by Werner Wolf. Most, if not all, of Beckett’s artworks include a medial self-reference of sorts such as the comment on the disembodiment of speech in radio plays or on the formative powers of lighting in theatre and film. What they also do is make the spectator aware of the fact of mediation and of what it entails. Therefore, the essay ultimately aims to show the immense significance of Beckett to intermediality studies not simply as an artist and a case study but as a media and intermediality theorist as well.

Abstract

This paper analyses two recent works by American filmmaker Ken Jacobs that deal with aspects of remediation. The first is A Tom Tom Chaser, in which Jacobs records the telecine process that transforms the classic silent film Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son from chemical into electronic media. The film is riddled with poetic turns inviting the audience to rediscover the medial noise hidden by images. Moreover, Jacobs focuses on the moment of transition from a material medium (the film strip) to the immaterial (the image, the video), so that the noise brings the viewer closer to a perception or brief capture of the medium in itself. Images are both figured and disfigured along this process. The second work is The Guests, an unconventional 3D film in which Jacobs transforms a short take from a Lumière Brothers film by discovering unseen views of the original footage. In his remediation of the 3D technology, Jacobs employs the Pulfrich effect, which allows him to blur the images of the archival film and to create instances of uncertainty between the views coming from the two human eyes. As a result of this procedure, the characters in the film seem to look directly at the audience. The analysis of both films highlights the poetry of the typical manoeuvre by which Jacobs perverts the archival medium, whereupon the viewing mode between media denaturalizes the usual media gaze (framed and representational), focusing on the moment of viewing in itself. This, as a result, favours the medium for what it is and subverts the gaze that expects something representational, discursive, perhaps story-driven.

Abstract

The so-called German Weimar Cinema encompasses a profusion of films that used frame narratives. In the case of Paul Leni’s Waxworks (Das Wachsfigurenkabinett, 1924), as the framing stems from a literary act (the stories are framed by the act of narration), the film proposes the mise-en-abyme technique as a sort of immersion into the intermedial when it deals with notions like speaking, writing, silence, image and cinema. In the case of silent cinema, and especially in Waxworks, the presence of a perverse relation with the medium of writing becomes noticeable (producing a fantasy of writing), since every effort to represent the literary act on film results in an infinite production of silent images, creating a parody effect and even postulating an act of aggression against writing. This confrontational relation between the writing code and the code of the mute image in silent cinema allows us to suggest that there is an inherent inflexibility in the language of silent cinema which does not allow the coexistence of written and spoken word as complementary codes. On the contrary, in silent cinema, the image and the silence of the film seem to work against the word, the spoken word being set forth against silence, and the written word against images.

Abstract

The winner of many prestigious prizes (Oscar for the best foreign language film, Grand Prize of the Cannes Film Festival, and the Golden Globe among them), the Hungarian film, Son of Saul – according to most critics – represents the Holocaust trauma in a completely new and intriguing way. The filmmakers have invented a special form in order to tackle the heroic task of showing the unwatchable, representing the unthinkable. In this essay I analyse the representational strategy of the film from a phenomenological point of view, and position it in the theoretical framework of haptic sensuality formulated by Vivian Sobchack and Laura U. Marks, among others. I mainly focus on the use of sound, in particular the role of sound design in the creation of haptic space. With the help of the analysis of the representation and artistic invocation of the different bodily senses in the film, I demonstrate how traditional artistic formal elements (characteristic of highly artistic, even experimental productions) are combined with high impact effects often present in popular film forms. I argue that the successful combination of these two factors makes the film an example of artistic immersive cinema.

Abstract

It is widely accepted that Abbas Kiarostami’s cinema revolves around the representation of the gaze. Many critics argue that he should be considered a late modernist who repeats the self-reflexive gestures of modernist European cinema decades after they were first introduced. The present paper will contradict this assertion by investigating the problematic of the Kiarostamian gaze and analyzing the perceptual side of the act of looking. I will argue that instead of focusing on the gaze of the spectator directed towards the filmic image, he exposes a gaze that is fully integrated into the reality to be captured on film. The second part of the paper will explain this by linking the concept of gaze to the Lacanian concept of the order of the Real. Finally, I will contextualize all this by discussing the Iranian director’s position between Eastern and Western traditions of representation.

Abstract

In response to Chris Marker and Alain Resnais’s collaborative meditation on art and colonialism in Statues Also Die (1953), Duncan Campbell’s video installation It for Others (2013) takes a complex approach to presenting a Marxist criticism of the commoditization of art and culture. This article considers the intermedial and intertextual properties of It for Others as an example of convergence culture that transcends postmodern quotation and pastiche. While the film is apparently a bricolage of visual artefacts, it is in fact an intricately woven audiovisual essay concerned with the appropriation of not only colonized objects as its narration makes clear, but also of still images, moving images, written texts, sound samples, and the labour that produced them. The article examines how the film troubles notions of documentary realism and truth through its acts of appropriation that reflexively criticize the commercial appropriation and commoditization of artworks and histories. It also reflects on the film’s Marxist approach to related issues around authorship, ownership and access to artworks, particularly in the light of the film’s acknowledgement in prize culture.