Conference Paper

Generative spatial montage with multi-layered screens in "Lost Fragments of Night"

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Lost Fragments of Night' is a poetic documentary film that utilizes an algorithmic generative editing system to preselect shots to be rendered over four screens arranged in layers. The artwork's subject is the chaotic and paradoxical sensation found by night in the city of Seoul. These author themes of disconnected and paradoxical images in urban public spaces resonate with the concepts of the multi-layered screens and generative editing system. The fragmented images are distributed over layers of screens to emphasize a chaotic and simultaneous sense of fragility that nevertheless together forms a whole. Designed for large-scale installation in urban public spaces, our artwork has been prototyped via a physical miniature, projecting by rear diffusion onto four layered screens constructed of grey sheer fabric. The audience can appreciate the montage from different angles and positions in a public space to produce different layering effects not possible in traditional 2D cinema. The generative editing system uses a dynamic Bayesian network constructed according to clips and timeline tagging. Audience members can actively contribute to the direction of the montage through a web interface, so the artwork creates different meanings by embracing the role of the audience in every screening.

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The now-classic Metaphors We Live By changed our understanding of metaphor and its role in language and the mind. Metaphor, the authors explain, is a fundamental mechanism of mind, one that allows us to use what we know about our physical and social experience to provide understanding of countless other subjects. Because such metaphors structure our most basic understandings of our experience, they are "metaphors we live by"--metaphors that can shape our perceptions and actions without our ever noticing them. In this updated edition of Lakoff and Johnson's influential book, the authors supply an afterword surveying how their theory of metaphor has developed within the cognitive sciences to become central to the contemporary understanding of how we think and how we express our thoughts in language.
This book brings together the literature of urban sociology and film studies to explore new analytical and theoretical approaches to the relationship between cinema and the city, and to show how these impact on the realities of life in urban societies.
Immutability is valued by society. There is a desire for a steadfast art that expresses permanence through its own perpetualness. Simultaneously, society has a conflicting predilection for an art that is contemporary and timely, that responds to and reflects its temporal and circumstantial context. And then there is a self-contradicting longing that this fresh spontaneity be protected, made invulnerable to time, in order to assume its place as historical artifact and as concrete evidence of a period's passions and priorities. For the Venice Biennale in 1986, Krzysztof Wodiczko projected a collaged photographic image of a 35mm camera, a gun belt with a grenade, and a large tank for several hours onto the base of the 600-year-old campanile in the Piazza San Marco. Besides providing a critique of tourism and politics, Wodiczko's project offered a potent dialectic on the ambivalent requirements for stability and preservation, and change and temporality.
Koepnick, Lutz. Walter Benjamin and the Aesthetics of Power. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999. 277 pp. $50.00 hardcover. As Lutz Koepnick writes in his book, it is one of the ironies of Benjamin criticism (and scholarship on European fascism) that it has often stripped Benjamin's thesis about the aestheticization of politics of any critical force, developing it into "an unquestioned token of critical discourse," "a valuable academic commodity ... [that has] often helped support arguments that themselves tend to aestheticize" (178). In the last decades, criticism has frequently misunderstood the strengths and shortcomings of Benjamin's thesis, and has consequently also misunderstood the role of the aesthetic both in the Nazi period and in postmodern culture. Koepnick is not the first to call attention to these circumstances, but his book is and will likely remain important for its careful synthesis and analysis of Benjamin's statements on the aestheticization of politics, and for its persistent and imaginative effort to reveal in his writing dialectical patterns of thought that offer a way out of the theoretical dilemmas encountered both by Benjamin himself and by more recent critical traditions informed by his work. Koepnick's work is in large part dedicated to showing that Benjamin's oeuvre in fact yields three versions of the aestheticization thesis. The first, as formulated in Benjamin's work on baroque Trauerspiel, presents aestheticization as a confusion of different forms of representation: the same sixteenth- and seventeenth-century rulers who thought to purge aesthetic concerns from the exercise of power ironically turned political domination into a captivating dramatic spectacle. For the early Benjamin, art itself must disclose the complicity between art and politics. As Koepnick argues, however, Benjamin's later writing shows that this position relies on a transcendental principle of aesthetic autonomy that is historically inflexible, failing to account for the changed roles of the aesthetic in the 19th and 20th centuries. In its second form, as described by Koepnick, Benjamin's aestheticization thesis abandons the concept of the autonomy of the aesthetic as inadequate to the cultural practices of fascism. "Aestheticization" now refers not to an improper imbrication of the aesthetic and the political, but to the false promise of aura (the aura of autonomous art) in a postauratic world of mechanical reproduction. …
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The label "essay film" is encountered with ever-increasing frequency in both film reviews and scholarly writings on the cinema, owing to the recent proliferation of unorthodox, personal, reflexive "new" documentaries. In an article dedicated to the phenomenon that he defines as the "recent onslaught of essay films," Paul Arthur proposes: "Galvanized by the intersection of personal, subjective and social history, the essay has emerged as the leading non-fiction form for both intellectual and artistic innovation."1 Although widely used, the category is under-theorized, even more so than other forms of non-fiction. In spite of the necessary brevity of this contribution, by tracing the birth of the essay in both film theory and film history, and by examining and evaluating existing definitions, a theory of the essay film can be shaped, some order in its intricate field made, and some light shed on this erratic but fascinating and ever more relevant cinematic form. Most of the existing scholarly contributions acknowledge that the definition of essay film is problematic, and suggest it is a hybrid form that crosses boundaries and rests somewhere in between fiction and nonfiction cinema. According to Giannetti, for instance, "an essay is neither fiction nor fact, but a personal investigation involving both the passion and intellect of the author."2 Arthur's framing of such in-betweenness is particularly instructive: "one way to think about the essay film is as a meeting ground for documentary, avant-garde, and art film impulses."3 Nora Alter insists that the essay film is "not a genre, as it strives to be beyond formal, conceptual, and social constraint. Like 'heresy' in the Adornean literary essay, the essay film disrespects traditional boundaries, is transgressive both structurally and conceptually, it is self-reflective and self-reflexive."4 Transgression is a characteristic that the essay film shares with the literary essay, which is also often described as a protean form. The two foremost theorists of the essay are, as is well known, Theodor Adorno and Georg Lukács; both describe it as indeterminate, open, and, ultimately, indefinable. According to Adorno, "the essay's innermost formal law is heresy"5; for Lukács, the essay must manufacture the conditions of its own existence: "the essay has to create from within itself all the preconditions for the effectiveness and solidity of its vision."6 Other theorists and essayists make similar claims: for Jean Starobinski, the essay "does not obey any rules"7; for Aldous Huxley, it "is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything"8; for Snyder, it is a "nongenre."9 As these examples indicate, many existing definitions of both literary and filmic essays are simultaneously vague and sweeping. Indeed, elusiveness and inclusiveness seem to become the only characterizing features of the essayistic; as Renov observes: "the essay form, notable for its tendency towards complication (digression, fragmentation, repetition, and dispersion) rather than composition, has, in its four-hundred-years history, continued to resist the efforts of literary taxonomists, confounding the laws of genre and classification, challenging the very notion of text and textual economy."10 As José Moure argued, the fact that we resort to a literary term such as "essay" points to the difficulty that we experience when attempting to categorize certain, unclassifiable films.11 This observation flags the risk that we accept the current state of under-theorization of the form, and use the term indiscriminately, in order to classify films that escape other labeling, as the following remark appears to endorse: "The essayistic quality becomes the only possibility to designate the cinema that resists against commercial productions."12 The temptation of assigning the label of essay film to all that is non-commercial or experimental or unclassifiable must, however, be resisted, or else the term will cease being epistemologically useful, and we will end up equating very diverse films, as sometimes happens in the critical literature—for instance, works such as Sans Soleil/Sunless (Chris Marker, FR, 1983) and Fahrenheit 9/11 (Michael Moore, US, 2004), which have very little in common aside the extensive voice-over and the fact that they both present problems of classification. Of all the features that are most frequently identified...
The now-classic Metaphors We Live By changed our understanding of metaphor and its role in language and the mind. Metaphor, the authors explain, is a fundamental mechanism of mind, one that allows us to use what we know about our physical and social experience to provide understanding of countless other subjects. Because such metaphors structure our most basic understandings of our experience, they are "metaphors we live by"—metaphors that can shape our perceptions and actions without our ever noticing them. In this updated edition of Lakoff and Johnson's influential book, the authors supply an afterword surveying how their theory of metaphor has developed within the cognitive sciences to become central to the contemporary understanding of how we think and how we express our thoughts in language.
Poetry and the Film: A Symposium
  • Maya Deren
  • A Miller
  • D Thomas
  • P Tyler
Deren, Maya, A. Miller, D. Thomas, and P. Tyler. "Poetry and the Film: A Symposium." Film Culture 29 (1963): 55-63.
Generative Cinema and Dialogue
  • Iain Lobb
Lobb, Iain. "Generative Cinema and Dialogue." University of Plymouth (2003).
The birth of subway as a modern mass media : History of Seoul metro from a mode of communication perspective
  • Jeon Gyu-Chan
Gyu-Chan, Jeon. "The birth of subway as a modern mass media : History of Seoul metro from a mode of communication perspective." Media Society 18, no. 1 (2010): 153-188.
Life and Value 25. Rascaroli, LauraThe essay film: Problems, definitions, textual commitments Nichols, Bill. Introduction to documentaryDocumentary film and the modernist avantgarde
  • Young-Jung
  • Bang
  • Community
Young-Jung, Bang. Community, Life and Value. Kemi Press, 2011. 25. Rascaroli, Laura. "The essay film: Problems, definitions, textual commitments." Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media 49, no. 2 (2008): 24-47. 26. Nichols, Bill. Introduction to documentary. Indiana University Press, 2010. 27. Nichols, Bill. "Documentary film and the modernist avantgarde." Critical Inquiry (2001): 580-610.
One-way street and other writings. Penguin UK
  • Walter Benjamin
Benjamin, Walter. One-way street and other writings. Penguin UK, 2009.
Film Editing: the art of the expressive
  • Valerie Orpen
Orpen, Valerie. Film Editing: the art of the expressive. Vol. 16. Wallflower Press, 2003.
Walter Benjamin and the aesthetics of power
  • Lutz Koepnick
  • Peter
Koepnick, Lutz Peter. Walter Benjamin and the aesthetics of power. U of Nebraska Press, 1999.