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   theory: GLITCH & POSTDIGITAL
   theory: working notes

 

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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: working notes

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: working notes

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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"Beyond Spatial Montage" part 2 of 6

story © Michael Betancourt | published November 10, 2014 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



theory: working notes

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

​The technologies of compositing and image combination directly contribute to the development of juxtaposed imagery. While the production of composite imagery is evident in the history of motion pictures since the first Trik films were made in the 1890s, the relative rarity of these imageseven within the Trik filmremained relatively constant due to the difficulties of their production. The greatly reduced costs, coupled with relative ease of production with digital video has made the integration of live action, animation and graphic design via compositing a common feature of motion graphics and commercials even though it remains relatively unusual in narrative production.

​The distinction between different potentials within the range of these forms is a function of the on-screen affect of the materials combined. For narratives with live actors and edited sequences of shots, these potentials have a more limited application. The apparent division and fragmentation of the screen into smaller, discrete units in narrative works remains unusual even as similar forms appear more frequently in the commercials and title sequences accompanying these realist fictions.




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"Beyond Spatial Montage" part 1 of 6

story © Michael Betancourt | published November 4, 2014 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



theory: working notes

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

Foundations

Links Between Time, Motion, and Space

​The typical cinematic image (either in long take or montage form) appears in the absence of additional constraints: the pure form of Motion is the long take (undisplaced movement contained by the long take); montage/editing are each a pure form of Temporal displacement, apparent through the ruptures created by the cut; the pure form of Spatial displacement lies with the use of multiple projectiona use that forms a range lying between apparently discrete screens and the composite screen produced by aligning the edges of one projector with another as in cinemascope or Able Gances Napoleon. Distinguishing between time, motion, and space in a theoretically precise manner allows for a more robust theorization of windowing: the distinction between one dimension and another is instantly apparent in the affect resulting from watching the motion picture itself. Each of these dimensions can be readily distinguished from the others through our encounter with it on screen: the affect it has determines its location within this taxonomy.




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Abstraction and Digital Production

story © Michael Betancourt | published December 8, 2013 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print



theory: working notes

The reductive abstraction common to the twentieth century, from the form is function of reductive formalismboth Adolph Loos and Clement Greenbergmirrors the demands of early capitalism for efficiency and speed of manufacture by unskilled labor. The elimination of features dependent on personal training and their replacement by the industrial assembly line (by Andy Warhol as much as Donald Judd) demonstrates how abstraction embraced the deskilling common to capitalism first noted by historian John Ruskin in the nineteenth century. With the development of digital technology, and the shift from production to replication, the formal protocols of earlier abstraction (especially the geometric formalist work of the 1920s and 1930s) were embedded within the digital itself. The digital automation foregrounded in the more contemporary work of Roxy Paines Painting Manufacture Unit makes the link between contemporary industrial production and abstract art into a subject of the work: instead of challenging capitalist processes and demands, abstract art instead acts to affirm them through the adoption of forms that are deskilled (i.e. not requiring human agency); at the same time, digital technology collapses the assumed distinctions between the abstract and the not-abstract, a factor that becomes apparent in Wade Guytons digitally produced works. This elision of distinctions is a feature of digital capitalismvia the serial generation of commodity formswhere permutation ignores all differences, enabling the valorization of what were historically contradictory domains under the rubric of novelty; the elision of distinctions reflects this protocols dominance. Abstraction is thus simultaneously symptomatic and descriptive when confronting digital technology, a duality that is reflective of how both forms have historically emerged within capitalism. The problem both pose is therefore identical: engaging the contradictory demands of this historical foundation.