What was cinema? (slightly nostalgic)
Part 4-9 from ‘The Virtual Life of Film’
4. Film Begets Video Cinema: “the projection of a photographically recorded filmstrip in a theatrical setting” (26) has ceased to exist with the popularity of video and advance of tv/internet, claims Rodowick. The change in the materiality of the medium (chemical to digital) has changed the experience and the cultural status of viewing cinema.
5. The Death of Cinema and the Birth of Film Studies Did the medium of motion-picture change and what effect did it have on the emergence of Film Studies? Digital technology replaced the filmstrip, which made watching film different but more easy, because the other media that distribute film comforted watching. But, does ‘film’ still exist, if the medium is not a filmstrip any longer? Should we use the name moving images to address differently mediated ‘film’?
6. A Medium in All Things What defines and distinguishes the medium of film, if not its physical support and channel of transmission, nor the difference between analog and digital or its materiality? Noel Carroll objects a ‘Doctrine of Medium Specificity, that defines a medium by a criterion of self-identity, aesthetic a prioris, and the injunctive argument: A medium does not define the work’s identity, its use or aesthetic quality. Instead: Film is a hybrid medium, irreducable to one medium. Instead of the ‘medium’, the purpose of a certain art defines its importance: historical and cultural constructions instead of physical specificity. Rodowick somehow underscribes the criteria(blz. 38) with which Carroll distinguishes ‘motion-picture’ from other media, namely by its specific performance. He also blames him a certain insensivity because Carroll denies any cognitive or sensory difference of experience that results from the difference in material.
7.Automatisms and Art The medium of an artform combines material, instrumental and formal components. Not passive, but living, continually in a state of selftransformation’(42) Cavell: media are automatisms: they are the material of aesthetic creation and the result of aesthetic practice (42), out of which new practices might grow. These elements that constitute a certain temporary medium sound very Deleuzian and are defined by Cavell as ‘potentialities’ or virtualities as they do not come into existence before the artistic process starts. But Rodowick argues that this suggests too much freedom for the medium. A medium has a conventional meaning, and its reception and creation stand in a tradition in which that meaning exists: “Creation is never free”(43), but is subject to a certain (formal) identity and physical situation..
8. Automatisms and Photography Rodowick defines photography by its automatic (Cavell) quality. Photography as automatism refers to its mechanical reproducibility ‘without the creative intervention of man’ (47) Analog photography can be defined by its self-actualizing process: the inputs and the outputs of photography are continuous: automatic analogical causation.
9. Succession and the Filmstrip Besides Automatism, Succession also defines analog film. Succession is the movement or ‘animation’ of still images on an edited filmstrip.