Keywords: cinema, contemporary art, video art, curating, exhibition, moving image, digital.
This paper considers the moving image as a defining form of the contemporary age, a form that operates and circulates by constantly evolving and mutating logic. It is a logic that is at once driven by, and embedded in, the prevailing state of technological flux. Rather than settling around the relatively stable formal and ontological parameters of the historical forms of cinema and television, the moving image is now defined by its fragmentation, ubiquity and volatility. That these phenomena are often accompanied by a pervading sense of irrationality and new, barely graspable forms of affect are of primary interest to this investigation. If affect in the contemporary sense has, as Brian Massumi observed, become unqualified and unrecognisable, how then do we approach the possibilities of the contemporary moving image? With this question in this mind I propose to look at the very embeddedness of historical forms within the contemporary moving image-scape. To this end the idea of the ‘cinematic’ is evoked not as a totalising system, but rather as a persistent conceptual and visual presence that informs contemporary moving image production and artistic inquiry. Examining a range of forms, from participatory media platforms like YouTube to installation-based video art, I will consider how the intensification of affect that these forms engender are enabled and activated through fragmented, though none-the-less, cinematic means. In this sense the cinematic itself is to be considered as a trace element, a diffuse presence that permeates the contemporary moving image in diverse and often obscured ways. It should be foregrounded that this paper is not concerned with attempting to redefine the idea of the cinematic (or vis-á-vis the cinema), but rather with examining the contours of its presence. I offer a brief inventory of these ‘cinematic’ traces: spectacle/hallucination spectatorship/identification materiality/immateriality genre narrative performance light.
- Ryszard Dabek, Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, Australia
Full text (PDF) p. 243-246