Experimental Cinema in the Age of Binary Data: The Digital Alternative to the Celluloid Image

Experimental Cinema in the Age of Binary Data: The Digital Alternative to the Celluloid Image

Robert Daniel Flowers

Language: English

Pages: 175

ISBN: 2:00200536

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This dissertation establishes the experimental filmmaker’s currentand future position in a digital environment that continues to grow exponentially. It examines the digital video medium and its encroachment into the terrain of celluloid based cinema. The project questions the validity of experimental filmmakers’ continuing use of traditional technology and explores modern alternatives to the avant-garde’s established and stagnating methods of content creation, manipulation, delivery, and presentation. Perhaps the most importantand controversial of these alternatives to be addressed is DVD video and its repercussions. Experimental cinema is advancing using the most cost effective, and efficient means to express that tradition, whether it is celluloid, digital video, digital cinema, or some obscure format. There is no doubt that digital technology is encompassing all forms of image capture, as did the photochemical medium more than a century before. Just as that ushered in a new avant-garde, so too will today’s electronic and computer-based cinema. This new toolset will arguably modify traditional aesthetics countless and unforeseeable ways, despite its current infancy. Building on a rich history of innovation, yet remaining in obscurity, experimental cinema can now through media such as the
DVD, streaming video, and Blu-ray, evangelize asnever before. At this point in time, the
available options presented by digital video are sovast that one can almost be consumed by the technology. Despite the overwhelming breadth of the medium, the advantages and territory it exposes far outweigh any reasonable dissent. For experimentalcinema the digital video revolution is its saving grace, unencumbered by celluloid’s slow demise and third party relationships, makers are finally un-tethered.

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walls of which will be saturated with dozens of speakers. Sounds will come from every direction… —Morton Heilig, The Cinema of the Future That’s the whole thing about it. You don’t have to deal with the outside businesses. You don’t have to go to the lab with anymore. The whole revolution is all about doing it yourself. —Scott Stark, Interview by Author Experimental filmmakers have struggled with the onslaught of analog video for decades, however in digital form, video has now become deeply

more playful. I think that has to do with expense. When I began working in film it wasn’t as expensive and it 7 The 16mm Bolex records at speeds of: 12, 16, 18, 14, 32, 48, and 64fps. 55 was easier to be more playful, as film got increasingly expensive I think it changed the way I worked (Kirby 2007) Because of motion picture films expense and visual characteristics it tends to be highly prized among its users. In the celluloid world there is still an “original or master” lower quality copies

are….Now it’s essentially routine to get something and at this point, I don’t even want it I am not saying throw them out, but you know they are giveaways. Quite obviously people burn them and give them away. So that’s the major change, is that people don’t expect them back….Of course that would never have been the case beforehand. I think you possibly have many more makers now than you use to have, but I don’t know (Anker 2007). Recalling a memory of the influential experimental filmmaker Bruce

celluloid works. While agreeing that bringing experimental cinema into the living room failed in the past despite the best efforts of Brakhage and Conner, Craig Baldwin is optimistic about the possibilities that modern distribution and media types including the DVD can make it happen: I think there could be a life for experimental film in the home where they really didn’t succeed before. Bruce Conner was also into that, producing cassettes and trying to sell them like a painting. You have a

draw upon. Fourteen and a half were conducted by telephone, and one and a half through email. Not every participant answered or was asked all questions due to time restraints or various other logistical reasons. Sample Inclusion: All participants were recruited based on their experience working with celluloid and digital technologies. Data Collection Data collection began during the summer of 2007 and was completed during mid 2008. Data was collected through in-depth interviews with two

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