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   avant-garde movies, motion graphics, and theory
 
 
Theory
 

These posts are concerned with fragments and excerpts from my current theory projects. Many of these fragments become part of later publications.

The Digital has more on agnotology, digital capitalism, automated/immaterial labor, land my most recent published articles and other research on the political economy of digital capitalism. You might also want to look at these publications:

  • The Critique of Digital Capitalism published by Punctum Books

  • CTheory articles on digital capitalism and media theory

  • from Hz Journal, no. 19, July 2014: "Critical Glitches and Glitch Art"
  • More articles and translations into Spanish, Portuguese and Greek are posted on MichaelBetancourt.com


     



    On Cultural Authority

    story © Michael Betancourt | published April 14, 2015 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



    Theory

    Cultural authority seems a nebulous concept. At the same time it is easily understoodwe recognize it immediately when reading the program for any festival, screening, exhibitioneven though the force it exerts remains hidden within the curatorial choices on displayas the specific form these choices present.




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    "Beyond Spatial Montage" part 6 of 6

    story © Michael Betancourt | published November 30, 2014 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



    Theory

    This theory work will be published as a book-length monograph Beyond Spatial Montage: Windowing, or, the Cinematic Displacement of Time, Motion, and Space by Focal Press.

    Part 6 of a 6 Part series proposing an expanded theorization of spatial montage, excerpted from a current book project.

    Afterword

    The potential of on-screen structures that appear as displacement is at once a deeply under theorized, but at the same time over-determined. The same series of structures are shared by both the avant-garde and commercial media worlds. The failure of existing theorizations originates with those theories demand that the displaced structures of windowing be essentially critical, ignoring the alternative uses that are apparent within commercial media production. The uniformity of this morphology that allows both collage/montage-like juxtapositions and seamless constructions of realist continuity demonstrates the independence of these structures meaning from their formal organization: these on-screen structures function at a more basic level than that posed by the interpretations of narrative or the combinatory potentials of montage-like forms. Developing a conceptual map to accommodate this range of forms thus becomes a necessary prerequisite for any hermeneutic critical assessment.




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    "Beyond Spatial Montage" part 5 of 6

    story © Michael Betancourt | published November 25, 2014 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



    Theory

    This theory work will be published as a book-length monograph Beyond Spatial Montage: Windowing, or, the Cinematic Displacement of Time, Motion, and Space by Focal Press.

    Part 5 of a 6 Part series proposing an expanded theorization of spatial montage, excerpted from a current book project.

    TimeMotionSpace Displacement

    Displacements of TimeMotionSpace are predicted by this taxonomy, but do not appear in the historical record. These are single image works constructed around the fragmentation and reorganization of one shot (the long take) transformed into a multiple image composition that may not contain affective juxtapositions. The three variations of this displacement reflect affective priorities in the form that the resulting composites take within the larger morphology of TimeMotionSpace displacement. Both temporal and spatial elements are crucial to these visual structures; they differ from spatial montage in the singular nature of the screen-image. There are three variants distinguished by their affective character: within the fundamentally continuous, singular image the shifts have a distinct valence that is more closely aligned with one of the three elements (Time, Motion and Space).




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    "Beyond Spatial Montage" part 4 of 6

    story © Michael Betancourt | published November 20, 2014 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



    Theory

    This theory work will be published as a book-length monograph Beyond Spatial Montage: Windowing, or, the Cinematic Displacement of Time, Motion, and Space by Focal Press.

    Part 4 of a 6 Part series proposing an expanded theorization of spatial montage, excerpted from a current book project.

    MotionSpace Displacement (Mirroring)

    The most easily identified variety of MotionSpace displacement, a tessellated array of (typically) triangular images, is immediately recognizable as being kaleidoscopic. However, any mirroring, even a simple vertical reflection on screen creating a symmetrical pattern would qualify as a MotionSpace displacement. These simple forms are the most common: mirroring is the earliest form of windowing to be developed since the visual structure happens continuously in real time since it does not require the motion picture as technological supportas a result, the first examples of this displacement are pre-cinematic. They appear in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as developments in kineto-optical devices (both photography and the motion picture are also examples of these scientific concerns). While a simple split screen (two images) would not be an example of this technique, if it were instead a mirroring of the frame (so long as it was not a superimposition of the frame flipped horizontally or vertically) it would qualify as the simplest variety of MotionSpace displacement. Complex versions with multiple reflections, often resembling a kaleidoscope, are more readily identified versions of this visual displacement.




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    "Beyond Spatial Montage" part 3 of 6

    story © Michael Betancourt | published November 15, 2014 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



    Theory

    This theory work will be published as a book-length monograph Beyond Spatial Montage: Windowing, or, the Cinematic Displacement of Time, Motion, and Space by Focal Press.

    Part 3 of a 6 Part series proposing an expanded theorization of spatial montage, excerpted from a current book project.

    TimeMotion Displacement (Step Printing)

    TimeMotion displacement is part of the foundational history of motion pictures. This type of sequential photograph, the chronophotograph, invented by the French scientist Etienne-Jules Marey, is immediately recognizable as representing a temporal shift where an identical, multiple-yet-singular formal structure of displacement is created entirely within a singular full-frame image. This displacement achieves a distinct juxtaposition and fragmentation of time and motion that is different in character and degree from spatial montagethe spatial element extending across the screen, is incidental to the organization as it is motion that characterizes these repetitions. This displacement of the duration across the screen as the individual motion echoes violates the continuous long take in precisely the same way that editing and other forms of montage do, but without breaching the integrity of the individual shot. Superimpositions produced with an optical printer (or using video/digital processing) can produce a visual displacement called step printing that transforms the chronophotograph into a motion picture.




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