What if videotapes were considered as either waste or commodity – to be forgotten, or sold and reused and re-recorded? This is the question raised by this text, which gives an account of a multi-sited ethnographic project that follows the human and material circulation of amateur analogue video technologies in Romania since the mid-1980s. At the intersection of anthropology and media archaeology, this text aims to show how videotapes have been an important part of a post-socialist Romanian media infrastructure, that distributed pirated media, home movies, and local television productions.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2021-06-08 19:37:562021-06-14 11:08:42Shot and never seen again: Videotapes as waste and merchandise in post-socialist Romania
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2021-05-24 09:12:432021-06-09 09:18:26Gentrification by genre? The Berlin rom-com
Over the past few decades, there has been a significant uptick in the number of people relocating to Berlin. This influx is most often viewed as a response to rebranding the reunified German capital as a creative city – a tactic that foregrounded Berlin’s longstanding reputation for cheap rent, liberal attitudes, artistic culture, and vibrant nightlife. The housing market responded as vacancies plummeted while rent prices skyrocketed. Alongside the widely lamented changing face of the reunified capital, the spike in rent prices is one tangible outcome of Berlin’s rapid gentrification. This essay examines the aesthetics of gentrifying Berlin through an examination of a genre commonly associated with the imperatives of gentrification: the romantic comedy. Unlike other cinema traditions associated with urban space, the romcom is commonly understood as a genre that frames the city as a site of aspirational affluence and consumerism. This framing has, to date, overwhelmingly referred to romcoms produced in the American context. Through analyses of three romcoms set in Berlin – Germany’s highest grossing romcom to date Keinohrhasen (‘Rabbit Without Ears’, Schweiger, 2007); the 2019 installment in Emmanuel Benbihy’s ‘City of Love’ anthology film series, Berlin, I Love You; and Doris Dörrie’s Glück (‘Bliss’, 2012) this essay interrogates whether romcoms set in Berlin can be, as has been claimed of their US counterparts, understood as a genre of gentrification.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2021-05-23 17:18:522021-06-09 09:18:21Workshop of Potential Scholarship: Manifesto for a parametric videographic criticism
This article sets out the rationale for a videographic scholarship (the audiovisual study of screen media) that adopts constraint-based or ‘parametric’ procedures, and concludes with a short manifesto composed according to the simple constraint of division into ten equal segments of 50 words each. The article situates a parametric practice in relation to OuLiPo (a group founded in the early 1960s to explore constraint-based approaches to writing), to pataphysics (an absurdist branch of knowledge concerned with what eludes understanding by conventional means), to themes in the digital humanities, and to the posthuman. And it issues a call to forge an ‘agonistic society’ of videographic scholars who goad each other to greater achievement through the conspicuous and wasteful expenditure of resources of knowledge.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2021-05-16 16:21:042021-06-10 18:36:12Desktop documentary: From artefact to artist(ic) emotions
One of the most distinguishing characteristics of desktop documentaries is their affordance of making and presenting a video at the same time: i.e., collapsing boundaries between revealing their thinking and tinkering research process (as unfolding, step-by-step, in front of our eyes) and the presentation of the outcomes of such ‘t(h)inkering’ (arriving at results and, thereby, justifying the presented research methods). They are ‘exploratory’ and ‘explanatorily argumentative’ in one. There is a particular effect that emerges from such transparent, credible, and effortless performativity – a relaxed and seemingly spontaneous presentation of an unfolding argument in an environment (software on desktop) and through methods (typing, dragging, opening files) that is familiar and rather natural to all viewers. In this paper, I aim to take a closer look at these fundamental qualities – ‘transparency’, ‘credibility’, ‘effortlessness’, and ‘performativity’ – respectively, and reveal their distinct as well as joint effects, ultimately resulting in what I will call, ‘artist(ic) emotions’.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2021-05-16 14:45:422021-06-09 09:19:13Narrating the ‘Eternal City’ in ‘La Dolce Vita’ (1960) and ‘La Grande Bellezza’ (2013)
by Temenuga Trifonova Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of the city and the moving image to the modern urban imaginary: one need only recall Anne Friedberg’s illuminating account, in Window Shopping: Cinema and the Postmodern (1994), of the ways in which 19th century visual experiences like photography, urban strolling, panoramas, and dioramas anticipated cinema, […]
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2021-05-16 13:26:532021-06-09 09:19:09Tokyo drifters: The negotiation and regulation of generational precarity in ‘Terrace House’
As reality television has shifted steadily in the direction of scandal, drama, and high-stakes emotionality, the Japanese reality series Terrace House is notable precisely because of the ordinariness of its content; hinging on the observation of young working individuals as they live together and get to know one another. This article aims to explore the significance of this series, particularly in terms of the growing precarity of younger generations in Japan, demonstrating how Terrace House cultivates a neoliberal subjecthood whose aim is to master the art of precarious living – both for the sake of the individual and the nation.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2020-12-12 15:15:032020-12-14 05:24:49Adaptive images: Practices and aesthetics of situative digital imaging
Digital images increasingly determine the way people interact with physical space. Combined imaging and sensing technologies register, process, and transmit information about the physical world in real time and make it possible to continuously adapt such images to specific spatio-temporal settings and in relation to motion and perspective. With the ability to integrate situative and customised information in media, like digital maps or virtual reality applications, images also gain in importance for perception and interpretation. Such integration of image, action, and space heralds a new type of visual media described as adaptive images. Based on cases from industrial production, medicine, and psychotherapy as well as from sports and entertainment, the paper addresses their aesthetic, spatial, and operational conditions, and provides a typological survey of adaptive images as a phenomenon, including their respective challenges and implications for image and media theory.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2020-12-12 11:40:422020-12-17 14:31:27Documentary’s longue durée: Beginnings, formations, genealogies
We have tended to think of the documentary as emerging in the early 1920s within the framework of cinema. Yet the documentary tradition possesses a much longer historical trajectory, beginning with public lectures that were illustrated with models and scientific experiments. Appearing in the English-speaking colonies of North America as early as the 1730s, these were a crucial component of the American Enlightenment. The key term was ‘lecture’. Religious groups had used the church-based lecture to communicate the truth of God using the bible as the basis for understanding the world. Appearing in secular venues, these public presentations offered new kinds of truths determined through observation, science, reason and analysis. Creating a new dispositif, they used an increasingly diverse array of illustrative materials – models, charts, demonstrations, paintings, panoramas, reenactments, quotations from literary or musical sources, and even very occasional lantern slides. The term ‘illustrated lecture’ emerged gradually in the 1840s but went through a radical redefinition in the 1870s as the mode merged with the popular but distinct stereopticon exhibition that used photographic lantern slides. By the 1890s and 1900s these illustrated lectures gradually incorporated motion pictures, until many only showed films. When the lecture was replaced by intertitles in the late 1910s, the label ‘illustrated lecture’ became anachronistic and the term ‘documentary’ eventually filled the void.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2020-12-01 09:59:092020-12-14 05:26:33A conversation with Henry Jenkins
In this interview, Henry Jenkins (University of Southern California) discusses with Doron Galili the origins and the reception of his landmark book Convergence Culture, as well as the initial effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on media practices and Jenkins’s most recent work on comic books.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2020-07-06 12:20:272020-07-14 14:24:01New perspectives on an imperfect cinema: Smartphones, spectatorship, and screen culture 2.0
This paper discusses smartphone spectatorship with a focus on user participation, interactivity, and the fusion of digital media and moving images. In the renaissance of mobile filmmaking and participatory culture, there is no longer a definite difference in the quality of cinema and mobile media tools. Instead, users’ embodied and social presences define the framework of viewing and production. By reflecting on the sovereignty of smartphone film culture, this paper highlights the behavioural and cultural trajectories of mobile movie consumption, where content access merges with content production.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2020-07-06 12:01:452020-07-06 12:01:45Film studies, feminism, and film curating in Germany: An interview with Heide Schlüpmann and Karola Gramann
by Julia Leyda and Chris Tedjasukmana This interview arose out of a shared desire to document some of the unwritten, anecdotal history of film studies and the cultures of cinema more broadly. In a conversation with Karola Gramann and Heide Schlüpmann, film and media scholars Julia Leyda and Chris Tedjasukmana encouraged them to narrate some […]
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2020-06-15 10:28:512020-07-29 10:54:29From ‘video essay’ to ‘video monograph’?: Indy Vinyl as academic book
Sarah Barrow argues that the video essay provides a ‘viable alternative to the academic book’. This article explores that claim, considering how a video essay-based project can pursue a single topic in the manner of a monograph. The case study is Indy Vinyl, my collection of video essays and writing about vinyl records in American Independent Cinema. I argue that an approach informed by traditional scholarly values should be augmented by more exploratory thinking, when moving from written to practice-based forms of film criticism.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2020-06-14 17:50:582020-07-06 12:31:06The play of iconicity in Lars von Trier’s The House That Jack Built
This article studies the function of the iconic sign and the operation of diagram-icons in Lars von Trier’s The House That Jack Built (2018), a film about a serial killer Jack (Matt Dillon) who builds a house of corpses before being escorted to hell. What is remarkable in this film is von Trier’s specific use of filmic iconicity in probing the value of Western icons in art and architecture. In voiceover digressions from the narrative action following Jack’s serial killing, a comparison is made between the iconic power of murder on a grand scale (specified as genocides throughout history) and culturally valuated icons of art and architecture. The article focuses on the audiovisual icons in the film that invites the audience to diagrammatic readings and fabulation throughout and beyond the film’s narrative content. After a short introduction to the iconic sign and the diagram-icon respectively, the exploration of the film takes its starting point in how Jean-Luc Godard used the iconic force of the color red in Pierrot le Fou (1965). Even though the significant use of red throughout The House That Jack Built is justified within the context of serial killing, its many reiterations also qualifies ‘red’ as a diagrammatic feature combining iconic elements transversally. This diagrammatic feature foregrounds the film’s fabulatory and haptic levels beyond its strictly narrative content, making way for the wider philosophical comments expounded ‘in the film’ by the figure of Verge (Bruno Ganz). His extradiegetic voice becomes intradiegetic in the last part of the film as his body appears, acting as a guide for Jack into a version of Dante’s hell.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2019-12-21 17:08:222019-12-21 17:08:22Iconomy of the derivative image: Effacing the visual currency in Société Réaliste’s ‘The Fountainhead’
by Calum Watt Introduction: Société Réaliste This article discusses an experimental film, The Fountainhead (2010), by Société Réaliste, a cooperative of two Paris-based artists, the Hungarian artist Ferenc Gróf and the French artist Jean-Baptiste Naudy, founded in 2004 and dissolved a decade later. ‘Empire, State, Building’ was their first major exhibition, held at Jeu de […]
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2019-12-21 17:07:262019-12-21 17:07:26Mid-twentieth century radio art: The ontological insecurity of the radio text
by Pedro Querido It is often sourly remarked about our time, with its brisk pace and information overload, that it is characterised by impermanence. For an example of what prompts such distraught musings, we need not look much further than the staggering success enjoyed by messaging services like Snapchat, which elevate ephemerality to the level […]