Thursday, June 4, 2009
Readers going past the last couple of posts here will note clearly I've gone through various stages of thinking about what this blog discusses.
I started out bemoaning the de-sacredification (new word) of the movie-going experience (such as in Hollywood Ending and Nice Things Destroyed). I was conscious that a new generation wouldn't fall in love with film, and it was a ripe and sitting target close to my heart at the beginning.
As I continue with grad school, there's been a new understanding of what archiving meant, and how the past intersects with the future. What do you save, why do you save it, and for what purpose. Not everything should be saved, even if it's becoming obsolete or out of favor.
An exploration which led to a kind of phenomenological investigation of the indexical qualities of film vs. video. Around December of last year I struggled into an amateur Lacanian discourse about aura and semiotics, while trying not to use those words too much. I'm glad I got that out of my system (in Worked Matter, The Real and the True) but I still believe our cognitive relationship to what's filmed and projected, versus what is captured and streamed, is very different and shapes whether or not we are transported by what we see, or merely amused.
So, I've realized how deeply we're seeped in a new age of spectatorship and reception. By January, I'd accepted the Border between Calm and Catastrophe. New Moguls and Post Modern engage with moving images and films not as objects, not as site-specific performance events (such as a movie theatre) but as hypermodern events, infinitely accessible and duplicatable.
Although importantly, not with the same qualities. The future of moving images is as a stream. That matters in the long run as we figure out what we will be saving, preserving, restoring, and archiving for some mythical future audience: the actual object, a digital version of the analog object (which won't have the stability or long-livedness), an analog copy of the digital object (which won't act in the same interactive, dynamic ways), or merely a proxy that may approximate the look and feel as a faded souvenir.
I've always been aware of the impulse to wanting to fetishize the film object (Fin de Cine) and am guilty of it myself. But more and more moving images will be borne digital and be delivered that way, never enjoying a status as physical object. Without existing in some repository, they will remain around only as long as people copy and share them.
When they stop being used and migrated, they will deteriorate, lost to the past, in a cloud of memory.
This realization of the shift in the quality of moving images will be reflected in where I hope this blog is going.