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Future Cinema: The Cinematic Imaginary After Film

Future Cinema: The Cinematic Imaginary After Film
Future Cinema: The Cinematic Imaginary After Film. - Under the direction of Jeffrey Shaw and Peter Weibel. - Karlsruhe : ZKM/Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe; Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003. - 635 p. - English text. - ISBN 0262692864.

Catalogue published for the exhibition Future Cinema: The Cinematic Imaginary After Film, ZKM/Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany, November 16, 2002 - March 30, 2003 [itinerary: Kiasma: Nykytaiteen Museo, Helsinki, Finland, June 28 - September 7, 2003]. - Curators: Jeffrey Shaw and Peter Weibel

ZKM/Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe received funding from the Daniel Langlois Foundation to put together Future Cinema.

Exhibiting artists who also received funding from the Foundation:
- Jim Campbell
- Luc Courchesne
- Toni Dove
- Lynn Hershman Leeson
- Bill Seaman

Daniel Langlois Foundation projects presented within Future Cinema: Digital Snow [DVD-ROM]. - Montreal: Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology, 2002. - (Anarchive; 2). - French and English text. - ISBN 0968469310.

This exhibition assesses the impact of new production technologies on the conventions of cinema language. Here, the term "cinema" extends to any practice in which the projection of images plays a vital role, regardless of the media used (film, videotape, digital code). The curators Peter Weibel and Jeffrey Shaw bring together video and DVD installations, immersive environments as well as works designed for the Internet that reinvent projection devices and reconfigure narrative assumptions while stressing the reflexive dimension of the images.

The publication is a crucial tool for appreciating the works in light of a broader context that takes into account the history of these contemporary practices in the art of the sixties and seventies.

An introduction by curator Jeffrey Shaw presents the exhibition's overall concept and paves the way for 13 chapters that group the works by key concepts (the chapters are numbered backwards but presented here in normal order for easier reading). These chapters contain texts by authors on works by the exhibiting artists. Also featured are photo reproductions of the works as well as theoretical texts that delve into the issues explored by each chapter.

The first three chapters, devoted mainly to the historical background of the exhibited works, examine the particularities of how films have been produced and screened since cinema's invention. "The Cinematic Imaginary", the first chapter, focuses on metaphors and stylistic devices used by 20th-century avant-garde movements to define cinema as a phantasmagorical experience. The second chapter, "Screenings," spotlights key moments in the development of how moving images have been presented since the fifties. This section looks beyond the conventions of traditional Hollywood movies. The third chapter, "Theaters," considers the architectural spaces that have hosted cinema since its invention and suggests ways to subvert these spaces exemplified by installation practices emerging in the sixties and seventies.

The fourth chapter, "Codes," differentiates the indexical regime of film from electronic signal and digital code. "Remapping," the fifth chapter, provides a rereading of the conventions of the language and standard devices of cinema and video. The sixth chapter, "Transcriptive," explores artist projects that rely on new interactive platforms and modular devices for presenting works that test the linearity of cinema narrative. Linking other issues to this concept of non-linear narrative, the seventh chapter, "Recombinatory," presents works in which participants access the narrative content through databases and complex interfaces that recombine occurrences of memorized sequences. "Navigable," the eighth chapter, centres on a series of works containing virtual spaces that enable a kind of random exploration of their content. In these interactive platforms, the user's interaction with space-time parameters affects how image clusters are understood.

The ninth chapter, "Interpolated," examines research that, in a digital world, compares once incompatible notions by way of formal or media categories (factual, fictional, actual, virtual). In particular, the projects in this chapter measure the impact of spatial data on temporal parameters.

The 10th chapter, "Immersive," brings together environments where virtual space stands in for the physical space occupied by the user. The 11th chapter, "Calculated," zeroes in on works that feature abstract or narrative models generated by algorithms and abandon images captured by an optical device. Although the representation of these systems occurs in a simulated environment, a few projects make use of real data.

The 12th chapter, "Networked," comments on works whose content is disseminated through networks and on-line. The final chapter, "Screenless," proposes a series of projects using models of visualization that rethink the foundations of image projection by proposing the theory of a passageway between the body and data coming from a computer system.

Vincent Bonin © 2003 FDL