Concentric Relocation

I will attend the conference Networking Images. Approches Interdisciplinaires de la notion de réseaux, held at the Institut de recherche sur le cinéma et l’audiovisuel (IRCAV) of the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 on March 17th-18th. In my paper Stream Flux Flow. Concentric relocation of the film experience I will argue that a film can be watched in various places, in various individual and interpersonal contexts, and by means of various devices and screens. However, this process does not simply concern the locations where films are viewed, nor the aesthetic or textual characteristics of films, nor the technical platforms of film delivery. Rather, relocation is the “displacement” of the experience (Francesco Casetti): a corpus of social and cultural needs, rules and pleasures that arose with the advent of cinema, developed as it evolved, and are still present today in the “expanded cinematic practices”. Assuming this perspective, the fundamental idea of my paper is that disappearing media specificity reveals ex-post a series of core features that are inherited in the various transitions from the “primordial” form of the experience to its derivatives. Whereas in “networks of remediation” (Bolter-Grusin) media are in a conflictual relationship, and whereas convergence (Henry Jenkins) depicts a process of indistinct merging, I propose a “co-operative diverging” approach to the clash of film media. Moreover, I widen the notion of relocation to those cases in which the displacement of the film experience develops through multiple and progressive stages, e.g. a streaming film video experience that relocates a television film experience that relocates a theatrical film experience (a stream of a flux of a flow, where the three synonymic terms mean the semantic variations of a similar experience). I will argue that the multiple relocation of the film experience is the result of the manifold embodiment of environmental, textual, technological and experiential frames. At each step, only some of the properties of the primordial (theatrical) experience are preserved and passed on. Nevertheless, throughout this extension, the film experience suffers a loss of intensity (e.g. in physical and psychological immersivity; in the public, ritual and collective dimensions; and in terms of technical and aesthetic quality). In order to balance this loss, the relocated film experience frames the primordial experience, emulating its distinctive traits (e.g. with a wide and luminescent screen, high image and sound quality, and an Internet-based network of sociality).

In order to investigate the inverse relation between the extension and intension of a multiply relocated film experience and the compensation strategies, I will analyse the project Parallel Lines promoted by Philips in 2010 for the launch of the “Cinema 21:9” LCD television. The advertising agency DDB London collaborated with Ridley Scott Associates to create a series of short films that aim to emphasise the cinematic qualities of the product. All the films were “broadcast” in high-definition at the internet portal philips.com/cinema. As part of the campaign, viewers were invited to make their own films, resulting in an enormous grassroots movement. In viewing these films, the users/spectators watch a computer monitor in which a streaming video interface is framed into a television screen that emulates the features of a cinematic screen. These concentric screens will be analysed in respect of the relocated experiences to which they refer.

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