Collection:
Author(s) Deborah Levitt

Post-Cinematic Aesthetics

This course interrogates the effects of new media forms and practices—along with the shifts in spaces, times, and modes of experience rendered by the contemporary global media sphere—on cinematic production. The main focus is digital cinema, and its themes and aesthetics are examined in relation to a wide variety of topics—from older screen forms to database aesthetics, virtual and augmented realities, video gaming, interactivity, immersion, and artificial life. Prereqs: at least two introductory courses (or at least one introductory course and one 2000-level course).

About the Creators

Deborah Levitt is Assistant Professor of Culture and Media Studies at The New School. She is the author of The Animatic Apparatus: Animation, Vitality, and the Futures of the Image (Zero Books, 2018), as well as articles on biopolitics, anime, digital cinema, and virtual reality (VR). She is also co-editor of Acting and Performance in Moving Image Culture: Bodies, Screens, and Renderings (Transcript Verlag, 2012). Her current research interrogates how perceptual infrastructures in post-cinema and VR create new configurations of experience.

Digital Light brings together artists, curators, technologists and media archaeologists to study the historical evolution of digital light-based technologies. Digital Light provides a critical account of the capacities and limitations of contemporary digital light-based technologies and techniques by tracing their genealogies and comparing them with their predecessor media. As digital light remediates multiple historical forms (photography, print, film, video, projection, paint), the collection draws from all of these histories, connecting them to the digital present and placing them in dialogue with one another.

West Africa’s Guinea-Bissau declared unilaterally independence in 1973 and was recognized internationally in 1975 along with the other former Portuguese colonies. Luta ca caba inda (The Struggle Is Not Over Yet) is the title of a documentary film on the country’s post-independence left unfinished in 1980. Even in its fragmentary form, it is but one of several testimonies of a decade of militant cinema in the country, as part of the people’s struggle for independence from Portuguese colonialism, between 1963 and 1974, and the subsequent nation-building.

Distribution with Ed Halter.

Based on Daniel F. Galouye’s novel “Simulacron Three” Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 2 part TV production is a science-fiction classic that explores the notion of a computer-generated other world, pre-dating The Matrix by 26 years. Since its original broadcast in 1973 it has rarely been seen and following increasing demand the Fassbinder Foundation have restored this remarkable film. Reader published to coincide with a two-part screening of Welt am Draht / World on a Wire (Parts I and II) directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, (1973) Screening Sunday 31 March 2013

Bad Corgi is a little mindfulness app about refusing to eradicate stress and anxiety, and instead learning to exercise those bad feeling feelings.

You are Bad Corgi, a dwarfish demon pup sometimes possessed by You.

– Undertake impossible herding exercises
– Wreck local biomes
– Lose control of Bad Corgi and learn to love this feeling
– Contemplate both the vulgar and the joyful dimensions of corgi herding life with equanimity
– New exercises added every sometimes

The intimate is one of proximity and familiarity. As a relational category, intimacy is a quality of closeness, attachment, and belongingness. To be intimate with someone or some thing is to have an innermost connection. Intimacy, or intimus, designates interiority or an inward sensation, as in under one’s skin. To intimate is also to commu-nicate with a hint, to imply subtly. is process requires a codified reception, a circle of acknowledgement and recognition. Intimacy not only designates issues pertinent to the discussion of home, sexuality, identity, the slippage between the private and public, but also relationships made out of kinship, friendship, and neighborliness.

Whether it involves remaking an old Hollywood movie, projecting a quiet 16mm film, or constructing a bombastic multi-screen environment, cinema now takes place not just in the movie theatre and the home, but also in the art gallery and the museum. The author of this engaging study takes stock of this development, offering an in-depth inquiry into its genesis, its defining features, and the ramifications it has for art and cinema alike. Through the lens of contemporary art history, she examines cinema studies’ great disciplinary obsession – namely, what cinema was, is, and will become in a digital future.

The Funambulist Pamphlets is published as part of the Documents Initiative imprint of the Center for Transformative Media, Parsons The New School for Design, a transdisciplinary media research initiative bridging design and the social sciences, and dedicated to the exploration of the transformative potential of emerging technologies upon the foundational practices of everyday life across a range of settings.

Antoine Catala: Distant Feel presents a new body of work in sculpture, photography, and video that addresses the way that images provoke emotion, especially as they travel virtual and physical distances via the internet.

Antoine Catala’s work takes an interest in the myriad ways we express feelings, through the very technology that increasingly mediates our daily lives. Catala is developing a new approach to the sentiment of empathy, conceived in collaboration with the New York advertising agency Droga5. This new form of empathy is embodied in both a symbol and the catch phrase “distant feel,” both of which will be employed in the exhibition and online.

Catala shares the campaign, with more information, at distantfeel.com. This project is a co-commission with the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and will be presented on the occasion of the 2015 Triennial:Surround Audience.

Projections convect questions, magnify dreams and illuminate desires. Sarai Reader 09: Projections translates this imperative to act as a transport of illumination to build an axis of central questions…

A projection always involves an incandescent transference, some crossing of a void or darkness to effect luminous landings on a distant surface. Without projections, we would have no cinemas, no city plans, no forecasts, no wagers, no fantasies. Projections convect questions, magnify dreams and illuminate desires. Sarai Reader 09: Projections translates this imperative to act as a transport of illumination to build an axis of central questions…

Projections operates across two surfaces at once: on the printed page of this book (the ninth and final publication in the Sarai Reader series) and within the context of the contemporary art exhibition titled, ‘Sarai Reader 09: The Exhibition’. The exhibition and all the processes that arose within it anticipated the book’s concerns through an occupation of time, space and attention over a nine-month-long duration at the Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon…

The first issue of the journal was dedicated to repositioning art in the landscape of reason. This issue is focused on the fabric of reason itself, and to the ways in which it is currently altered by the emergence of artificial intelligence.

While the capacities of thought are being externalized in machines that increasingly mirror human intelligence, the question of the technical artifactuality of mind and its political ramifications becomes particularly pressing.

For us, far from being limited to the computational instantiation of intelligence, understanding the politics of these developments in artificialintelligence requires acknowledging that mind has always been artifactual.

after.video realizes the world through moving images and reassembles theory after video. Extending the formats of ‘theory’, it reflects a new situation in which world and video have grown together.

This is an edited collection of assembled and annotated video essays living in two instantiations: an online version – located on the web at http://after.video/assemblages, and an offline version – stored on a server inside a VHS (Video Home System) case. This is both a digital and analog object: manifested, in a scholarly gesture, as a ‘video book’.

Dear Kris, first I would like to thank you for participating to Unfold as our third guest curator with The Economy is Spinning, a multi-faceted curatorial project on the language of finance and its irrationality. Your Unfold#3 is in fact connected to the exhibition of the same name you have just curated for Onomatopee in Eindhoven and which, as is the case with all Onomatopee’s projects, will also produce a publication. With Unfold the process of translation and transmigration between the exhibition and the publication expands and takes over the space of the digital folder. Could you describe this three-folded relation between the exhibition, the folder and the book?

Alexander Kluge is best known as a founding member of the New German Cinema. His work, however, spans a diverse range of fields and, over the last fifty years, he has been active as a filmmaker, writer and television producer. This book – the first of its kind in English – comprises a wide selection of texts, including articles and stories by Kluge, television transcripts, critical essays by renowned international scholars, and interviews with Kluge himself. It will be a valuable resource for students and scholars in the fields of film, television, and literary studies, as well as those interested in exploring the intersections between art, politics, and social change.

Every time you connect to the internet, you pass through time, space, and law. Information is sent out from your computer all over the world, and sent back from there. This information is stored and tracked in multiple locations, and used to make decisions about you, and determine your rights. These decisions are made by people, companies, countries and machines, in many countries and legal jurisdictions. Citizen Ex shows you where those places are.

Your Algorithmic Citizenship is how you appear to the internet, as a collection of data extending across many nations, with a different citizenship and different rights in every place. One day perhaps we will all live like we do on the internet. Until then, there’s Citizen Ex.

Suprahuman is the product of a collaboration between William Wiebe and Dr. John Santerre, a computer scientist working on the development of scalable machine learning techniques for use on cancer and antimicrobial resistance.

In the book, Wiebe and Santerre bring aerial surveillance into conversation with research imagery integral to the evolution of cutting-edge deep neural networks, a juxtaposition that recognizes the persistent links between military power and scientific advancement. This relationship is especially relevant to the funding and development of artificial intelligence, which has largely been underwritten by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Our work explores the possibilities of a concealment sited in the unresolvable space opened between the logics of human and computer vision. The book’s text explores natural ambiguities within language as technologies for misleading artificially intelligent natural language processors, and it is written in a font unreadable by optical character recognition.

New technological media such as film, photography and computers have altered the way we perceive possible relations between stillness and motion in the visual arts. Traditionally, cinema theory saw cinema and especially the ‘illusion of motion’ as part of the ideological swindle of the basic cinematic apparatus. This collection of essays by acclaimed international scholars including Tom Gunning, Thomas Elsaesser, Mark B.N. Hansen, George Baker, Ina Blom and Christa Blümlinger, starts out from a different premise to analyse stillness and motion as part of a larger ecology of images and media. They argue that the strategic uses of stillness and motion in art and entertainment since the 1850s illuminate and renegotiate urgent issues within both aesthetics, film, art and media history on the one hand, and, on the other, new perspectives on affects, memories and the contemporary patterns of communication and image circulation.

Jonathan Crary received his Ph.D. from Columbia 1987 having previously graduated with a B.A. from Columbia College, where he was an art history major. He also earned a B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute where he majored in film/photography. He has taught full-time at Columbia since 1989, and has also been a visiting professor at Princeton and Harvard. He has written widely on contemporary art and culture for publications and has also written critical essays for over 25 exhibition catalogs. In 1986 he was one of the founders (and continues to be co-editor) of Zone Books, a press now internationally noted for its publications in intellectual history, art theory, politics, anthropology and philosophy. Amongst other titles, he is the author of Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (1990) which has been translated into eight foreign languages. His book Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle and Modern Culture was published in 2000 and was the winner of the 2001 Lionel Trilling Book Award. Professor Crary has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Getty, Mellon, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. In 2005, his teaching and mentoring were recognized with a Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award.

For An Oil Free Future is a mini-series of protest videos against fossil fuel prospection and extraction (oil and natural gas) off the Portuguese coast (offshore) and in land (onshore) through fracking.

Synopsis: In a dystopian future in which oil extraction has become a catastrophic reality in Portugal, a citizen-journalist looks back and questions how it was possible to go ahead with such plans.

Over the last few years, and particularly in 2015 under the former PSD/CDS-PP right-wing government, several contracts were signed between the Portuguese State and major oil companies (Galp, Partex, Repsol, Eni, Australis, Cosmos and the controversial Portfuel). The matter is of major national interest, given its environmental impact, rupture with Portugal’s international climate agreements, and the redefinition of the country’s energy plan. Furthermore, these contracts were signed without any public consultation. In the meantime, the Socialist Party came to power in late 2015, but has avoided making a clear declaration about the situation, and, from the little we know, appears to agree with the plans.

Realeyes is a commercial platform that performs real-time measurement of emotional responses to video stimuli through facial recognition AI modeling. Using (with consent, for now) the intake of webcam feeds, the platform records and analyzes the shape of facial responses while a subject watches a video, telling advertisers and marketers how to more effectively reach a consumer’s core sense of decision-making. Founded at Oxford University in 2007, Realeyes shares some traits with the now-famous Cambridge Analytica company, deriving actionable (and expensive) data from the aggregated emotional reactions of thousands of users. This stunningly benign-seeming white paper lays out the psychological and neural-network background for the company’s commercial services. Triteness may make the cliché, but here the video is watching you back, and it is recording every fractional twinge of facial muscle and every squint of the eye, parsing your confusion from your deflation, your enthusiasm from your eagerness. The better it knows you, the better it knows how to make you want things, and the better it helps others to sell them to you.

Two unknown men speak on the phone. They discuss their involvements in military operations in eastern Ukraine, accompanied by images of a chaotic stroll through a nightly, Russian forest.A plane passes through the moonlit night sky, and a voice recites a poem by Anna Akhmatova, while a woman, in near darkness, looks at herself in the black mirror of her computer screen. Then, she looks at us. Enter the strange and deceptive world of “The Sprawl,” Metahaven’s feature debut film.Silent sword fighters stare at us. Silent actors look at us. They gaze at their screens, and at the deepest corners of YouTube. Strange and colorful interfaces overlay their appearance until medium and message become one. Together with master cinematographer Remko Schnorr and electronic musician Kuedo, Metahaven in “The Sprawl” create a new visual world for the internet’s geopolitical agitprop.Nowadays, films live in a thousand and one forms on the internet. As short trailers, fragments, cloud-based copies of copies, endangered data, self-hosted vaults, and so on. Viewing cinema on a laptop screen is only possible when remembering that such an experience has little to do with cinema itself. As a hybrid, episodic documentary, “The Sprawl”‘s story isn’t linear. The film lends itself to be seen as a succession of impressions—a trailer, forever unfinished; the duration of each of those video pieces, or “shards,” is attuned to an attention span that is less cinema, and more internet.sprawl.space is the online interface for The Sprawl, where the viewer can see the “shards” that make up the full version of the film. The website has been shaped by the interface design of Metahaven and the viewing algorithms of YouTube.

Styrofoam seagulls, replicant owls, and explosive donkeys casually amble through this visual primer on some aesthetics, histories, and cinematic legacies of artificial animals. Comprising three commissioned essays and a pool of visual research tracing hidden overlaps between technical and natural forms, Scrim Sinews connects DARPA robotics with the HUAC testimony of Bertolt Brecht, and the chronophotographic gun to the high realism of Pinnochio. Convened and edited by Benjamin Tiven and Per-Oskar Leu on the occasion of their joint exhibition at 1/9unosunove gallery in Rome, Nov. 2014-Jan. 2015. Includes commissioned essays by Homay King, Philip Glahn, and Jonah Westerman. Design by Lucas Quigley using TNT Donkey, a derivation of Times New Roman.

This conversation was recorded in October 2013 with Camille Lacadée a moment before she filmed the installation she designed with François Roche for the Retrospective Pierre Huyghe at the Pompidou Center. The particularity of this podcast is that the editing was kindly made by Camille herself who ‘saved’ it from the atmospheric noise that surrounded us when recording it. This conversation constitutes a casual account of the creative process that she and her partner, François Roche, use in order to create works at the intersection of cinema and architecture. The recurrent element of these films (see below) could be seen in the (re)creation of mythological narratives that challenge our perception of space, as well as its modes of production.

Since the coming of image technologies (and particularly with photography, video, and the Web) contemporary culture has lost control over images, which became more and more independent from their author. Luca Panaro formulates his thesis by reinterpreting the works of theorists (Susan Sontag, Walter Benjamin, Vilém Flusser), writers (Luigi Pirandello, Italo Calvino, Penelope Lively), even film directors (Buster Keaton, Michelangelo Antonioni, Wayne Wang), and finally contemporary artists (Franco Vaccari, Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno, Wolfgang Staehle, Roberto Cuoghi, Carlo Zanni, Eva and Franco Mattes).

Since the coming of image technologies (and particularly with photography, video, and the Web) contemporary culture has lost control over images, which became more and more independent from their author. Luca Panaro formulates his thesis by reinterpreting the works of theorists (Susan Sontag, Walter Benjamin, Vilém Flusser), writers (Luigi Pirandello, Italo Calvino, Penelope Lively), even film directors (Buster Keaton, Michelangelo Antonioni, Wayne Wang), and finally contemporary artists (Franco Vaccari, Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno, Wolfgang Staehle, Roberto Cuoghi, Carlo Zanni, Eva and Franco Mattes).

KATHRIN (JUNE 20, 2008): I watched your film Loboda and listened to the sound piece His Living Voice over and over again and marveled at the mysteriousness of the two works. If I remember correctly, you exhibited them in a hut-like setting along with maps. Can you say something about the background of these two works?

ANDREAS (JUNE 23): Both pieces are part of the installation May the Circle Remain Unbroken, which—as you mentioned—also consists of a series of altered maps and an altered print. All these elements are centered around issues connected to back-to-nature movements, like self-sustaining, anarchic freedom, self-awareness, and a fundamental criticism of industrial society. Loboda was, somehow, the starting point for this installation. The film portrays a solitary hut from different angles that I found during a holiday in Poland in 2005. It had something of the ideal place out in the country about it, beautiful, romantic, and calm, but there was also something disturbing. It was as if you could imagine that something really bad might have happened in there. There was no way to have a proper look at the inside, just a peek through a tiny slot between the window shutters that didn’t really reveal anything. So the film somehow reflects this ambivalence. It can be seen as an amateur holiday film, a documentation of some sort of crime scene, or of an historical place…

Our second issue features Marcus Kürten’s interview with the passionate phonographer Walter Tilgner, the second and final part of Stefan Militzer’sessay about “Tones, Sounds and Noises,” a collection of old Chinese texts regarding silence and noise – compiled by sound artist Lin Chi-Wei –, anecdotes by Yannick Dauby regarding his recording and hearing experiences with frogs as well as thoughts and reports based on Gabi Schaffner’s personal experiences with accidentally deleted or never recorded sounds from Finland. The magazine closes with an essay of the componist and sound artist Andreas Bick regarding the construction of meaningful correlations when listening – “listening is making sense.”

Posthumous Introduction to the First Edition:

Writing the introduction after finishing the rest of the book, my memory is coming back to me, and so at present I can give some indication in what context to place it.

Why write on vampires in 1992? It is precisely because vampire films and novels are back in fashion (Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula …) that one should ask: why on vampires now, by what coincidence? How come what functions in the too-late and too-early mode is being written about now, when it has become fashionable? But isn’t it characteristic of telepathy that it reaches the present of fashion by a too late of the too early or a too early of the too late?

In his short story, ‘Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote’ Jorge Luis Borges’ eponymous author rewrites Cervantes’ original line by line. Yet, as Borges insists, this is no mere copy. Rather, ‘His admirable intention was to produce a few pages which would coincide – word for word and line for line – with those of Miguel de Cervantes.’ Thus, the author can claim a space of contingency in the procedure of writing the Quixote for he writes it only as Pierre Menard would and could at each step write it differently, even if he does not. It is this ambiguous figure of Pierre Menard which French philosopher and former trader, Elie Ayache, relates to the dense and abstract space of high-frequency financial trading. In high-frequency trading, the powerful and complex modelling enabled by computed trades produces a field of possibilities already predicted and predictable. According to Ayache, the trader, much like the writer Pierre Menard, moves through this space and time as on a solid sea and produces difference not out of probability, but out of a highly determined state by allowing himself, the body of the trader/writer, to be ‘traversed by contingency’.

Ana Janevski is currently Associate Curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. From 2007 to 2011 she held the position of curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Poland, where she curated, among many other projects, the large-scale exhibition As Soon As I Open My Eyes I See a Film on the topic of Yugoslav experimental film and art from the sixties and seventies. She also edited a book with the same title. Janevski has also co-curated with Pierre Bal-Blanc the performance exhibition The Living Currency and the first extensive show about experimental film in Yugoslavia This is All Film! Experimental Film in Former Yugoslavia 1951- 1991 at the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana in 2010.

Can capital be seen? Cartographies of the Absolute surveys the disparate answers to this question offered by artists, film-makers, writers and theorists over the past few decades. It zones in on the crises of representation that have accompanied the enduring crisis of capitalism, foregrounding the production of new visions and artifacts that wrestle with the vastness, invisibility and complexity of the abstractions that rule our lives.

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