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1 LANGUAGE AGAINST ONTOLOGY: THE FALLACIES OF MEDIA ESSENCE By CHAD SIMS A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DE GREE OF MASTER OF ARTS U NIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010
2 2010 Chad Sims
3 For my grandmother Caroline Sitek
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my mother, father, sister, and brother for all their support over the years. Also, I would like to thank Terry Harpold and Robert Ray for all their help throughout this process. Finally, I would like to thank my grandmother Caroline Sitek and I wish she were still here to share this with me.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................. 4 page LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................ 6 LIST OF FIGURES .......................................................................................................... 7 ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................... 8 CHAPTER 1 MEDIA AS LANGAGE .............................................................................................. 9 2 FILM OR TELEVISION? ......................................................................................... 19 3 DIGITAL LOGIC CELLULOID FIL M ........................................................................ 34 4 LOLA IS MEDIA LANGUAGE ................................................................................. 53 5 CONCLUSION ........................................................................................................ 61 LIST OF REFEREN CES ............................................................................................... 62 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................................................................ 64
6 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 Television/Cinema compar ison ........................................................................... 28
7 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3 1 Enlarging the photo in Call Northside 777 .......................................................... 35 3 2 Enlarging the photo in Blow Up .......................................................................... 39 3 3 Photographic manipulation in Blade Runner ...................................................... 40 3 4 The matrix code .................................................................................................. 46 3 5 The loading program .......................................................................................... 47 3 6 Bullet time ........................................................................................................... 48 3 7 The Fast and the Furious gear s hift .................................................................... 51 3 8 Bullet goes through Joeys window ..................................................................... 52 4 1 Run Lola Run flash forward ................................................................................ 56
8 Abstract o f Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of English LANGUAGE AGAINST ONTOLOGY: THE FALLACIES OF MEDIA ESSENCE By Chad Sims August 2010 Cha ir: Terry Harpold Member : Robert Ray Major: English This study addresses the influence of digital media on film through the lens of Lacanian psychoanalytic language theory. In an attempt to better understand how one media can influence another, this study also includes a look at some of the more developed scholarship surrounding the influence of television on cinema. These contemporary mediums interact with one another in ways that are not immediately apparent, and we vitally need new paths of inquiry in order to make progress towards understanding these interactions. One such path suggested in this study is tracing the ways in which various media have been represented through film ultimately leading to the adoption of the logics of that m edia in film. Examples of this method are given for still photography and digital media. The study culminates in a study of the film Run Lola Run which is a prime example of the influence of digital language on film. This project is intend ed as a beginning of a new approach to, not a conclusion to, a vast and complicated issue.
9 CHAPTER 1 MEDIA AS LANGAGE This project began as an investigation into how one medium (digital computer technologies) affects another (film). I w as not so much interested in tec hnical aspects of their relation, but i n what I consider the specific logics of digital and cinematic representationand how they influence one another. For instance, how is the increasing use of hyperlink logic, a trait that has come to mainstream awareness from digital media, affecting practices of film making and viewing? It is hard to watch many film s made since the advent of digital editing and CGI ( Computer Generated Images), and not notice differences in post CGI films from those that preceded these technologies. These differences can be obvious like the inclusion of computer generated monsters or subtle like an increased frequency of edits facilitated by digital editing.1 My hypothesis was not only were new technologies directly influencing film s, but exposure to digital media was changing what we desired to see and how filmmakers perceived of presentation. Crucial aspects of f ilms such as Tron (Steven Lisberger 1982) Run Lola Run2 1 Quick and f requent edits are possible using analog editing techniques, but the labor required to edit in this manner almost always limits their usage. (Tom Tykwer 1998) The Matrix (The Wachochski Brothers 1999), eXi stenZ (David Chronenberg 1999), The Fast and the Furious (Rob Cohen 2001), and Running Scared (Wayne Kramer 2006) all se em to be shaped by something like a digital ethos, as distinct from (but not unrelated to) digital filmmaking techniques including CGI, digital photography, and digital editing Both The Matrix and eXistenZ directly deal with the integration of digital technologies into the analog world, while the others see m to make use of characteristically digital logics (hyperlink, simulation, 2 The English title for the German Lola rennt lit. Lola Runs.
10 graphic user interface, aggregation) to elucidate events occurring in the analog world in which the films events take place We are surrounded by the digital. Our work, play, organization, communication, and countless other daily activities are now facili tate d and engaged with operations of computers, so why would these technologies not also influence film? We know that digital computing is used in a number of ways in the contemporary moment of film production, but how does the logic of digital computing effect the production and reception of cinema indirectly. In other words, how has our interaction with computers (and their inherent logic) changed how film is conceived, produced, and recei ved? Of course other popular media such as television are not immune to these influences. Digital logic has become prominent on news, sports, and informational programming; whether it is computerized graphics on the news, a computer generated analysis of a basketball players ability to dunk a basketball, or a wireframe r endering of the musculature of a great white shark. In all of these examples we see evidence of hyperlink logic. Having access to most any information we desire on the World Wide Web, we now have begun to expect more from our information sources; there m ust always be more content lurking just below the surface. The ability to click on a link and gain access to more information is something we now take for granted. A better understanding of this interplay of digital technologies and media works is vital. There had to be a better way to think about this convergence than simply they influence oneanother. While initially researching this topic, I frequently encountered the term language where I had been anticipating the word, which I had been using, l ogic. At first, it
11 seemed a case of slightly different idioms for the same concept, but my response changed when I started thinking about the specific manner in which Jacques Lacan employs the term language. Could media be an extension of language? As the astute reader may have noticed, the title of this section utilizes the French langage in place of language. French has two words for the English term language: langage and langue. In Lacans work, these terms serve distinctive purposes. According t o Dylan Evans, in Lacans thought langue usually refers to a specific language, such as French or English, whereas langage refers to the system of language in general, abstracting from all partic ular languages (96). Lacans use of langage in this regard is reflected perhaps his most famous of psychoanalytic dictum the unconscious is structured like a language (S 11, 20) This dual conception of language -as specific national tongue, with associated histories and idioms and as a system of representation, with its own histories and idioms -is intriguing, and the idea that all language is characterized by a founding structure is more so. What if we thought of individual media as languages ( langues ), while thinking of all media, in all varieties as an extension of language ( langage), in Lacans sense of this term? At first, this for mulation may seem like a misappropriation of Lacanian theory; however, why would we not structure our forms of cultural communication in some ways homologous to stru ctures of innate communication? This is not to say that all media are equivalent in all respects; it is clear that they and their effects differ, as established traditions of film and m edia studies have already shown. But what I propose is that many comm only held differences may be illusory and not in fact essential to media as systems or representation. This brings us to another area of Lacans thought that will
12 be helpful and perhaps necessary to my analysis; his three orders of human experience the re al the symbolic and the imaginary We will begin with the real For Lacan, the real is the order of the human condition that is not addressable by language: the real whatever upheaval we subject it to, is always and in every case in its place; it carries its place stuck to the sole of its shoe, there being nothing that can exile it from it. (Ec 25) The upheaval is the mutability to which language is subject. Words are used and received in various ways. The real is something that is unchanging; w h ereas words can have a variety of significances as we see in tropes like m etaphor and metonymy. Dylan Evans explains, the real also has connotations of matter, implying a material substrate underlying the imaginary and the symbolic (160). While working with these orders we begin to run into a problem of ontology. In this model, the real seems like the only possible site of essence, because the other orders are orders of language as we will see. Lacans real presents a problem for investigations of m edia ontologies because it would seem to limit us to physical properties of media or the conditions of their reception. In the order of the real, the physical basis of the various media would certainly be linked to its ontology. The physical attributes and material substance of the media are unchanging and set limits on what is possible to represent with them Therefore the ontology of film is bound to attributes of celluloid, tele visual is bound to the attributes of electronic video, and new media is bound to the attributes of digital computing (which of consists of a number of apparatuses working in tandem: hard drive, processor, RAM, display, network technologies, etc). As I will demonstrate throughout the rest of this project, all of the aspects th at define the foundational logic of a particular
13 media are actually quite fluid and change over time. This view may seem like a reduction that limits possibilities in media scholarship, but I would say the contrary is true; that this conception will open new avenues of scholarship that hopefully will become palpable as we examine the other Lacanian orders. The imaginary and the symbolic are very closely intertwined, and this is where my formulation gains strength, for these are the orders of human language For Lacan, the imaginary is associated with alienation from our animal state. He writes, In man, the imaginary relation has deviated, in so far as that is where the gap is produced whereby death makes itself (S2 210). In other words, the imaginary the order of resemblance -is what separates us from animals, because we can conceive of our own death, the very limit of resemblance The imaginary order is somewhat difficult to understand without the symbolic with which it is inextricably bound. Lacan formulates the symbolic as the order of difference, founded on the difference of signifiers. The death instinct is only the mask of the symbolic order (S2 326) that is, the fatal nec essity figured in Freuds concept of the death instinct is in fact the necessity of the system of signifiers. If I am reading Lacan correctly, a signifying system is essential for the articulation of abstract thought. Therefore, signifiers (the symbolic ) shape -in their differences -what we can conceive (the imagin ary ) in its resemblances We are able to communicate what we imagine through the field of speech, into which we were born, the rules of which we must accept as the cost of entering into the social relations of linguistic subjectivity How then do these or ders help us with new conceptions of media s tudy, and specifically the analysis of digital medias influence on the structure of cinema? Just as,
14 for Lacan we are necessarily speaking subjects, born into speech and subjected to its structure we are also born into medial conditions, which have associated with them systems of thought. The vital facet of film, and later media language, is that we know implicitly, the history of the development of that language, or at least we have a competence in its use that determined its history. We can only guess about the origins of verbal language. As Lacan points out: We imagine that there must have been a time when people on this earth began to speak. So we admit of an emergence. But from the moment that the spec ific structure of this emergence is grasped, we find it absolutely impossible to speculate on what preceded it other than by symbols which were always applicable. (S2, 5) Of course film emerged out of media practices particular of the late 19th century, s o I am not trying to argue that cinema could have had a pure beginning. What media studies using this particular conception of language could gain are new ways to perceive of both media and ourselves. Furthermore, the proliferation of media languages off ers multiple opportunities for new forms of media specific inquiry. The goal of this project will be to look at how media language affects the production and reception of individual media, by attempting to unravel the symbolic and the imaginary components of the specific language ( langue) of each with the aim of establishing some of the traits of an underlying language of media ( language) This project is hardly finis hed, but describes a useful starting point from which to examine film, television, and di gital media in new relations to one another Before we proceed further I must, of course, mention other psychoanalytic ally informed theories of media. Since Laura Mulveys infamous essay, film studies have
15 been scarred by psychoanalysis. 3The gaze is in trouble. After enjoying many years as one of the most influential concepts in film theory, it now seems to suffer repeated efforts to extend, reverse, or simply debunk its scope of explanation. Its common formulaic presentation as men gaze at women has provoked one theorist (Norman Bryson) to extend the notion to include men gaze at men. Its equation with sadistic activity has opened the way for another theorist (Gaylyn Studiar) to propose a masochistic aesthetic. Its close associations with criture feminine have left it open to charges of biological essentialism by cultural contextualists (for example, David Rodowick, Teresa de Lauretis). Yet, in all this hacking and bandaging, one mig ht forget to ponder the obvious: why did theorists import (Lacanian) psychoanalytic concepts (suture, gaze, jouissance, and so forth) to discuss media? They wanted to explain how Hollywood films hid the sociopolitical context of production (33). The problem i s that Mulveys essay was an overly simplistic and many would argue, plain misreading of Lacanian psychoanalysis. I am hardly the first person to take issue with this essay, as we see from the opening of Craig Sapers essay A Nervous Theory: The Troubli ng Gaze of Psychoanalysis in Media Studies: After r eviewing the theorys history, Saper goes on to elucidate what he terms nervous theory. This theory yet again extends gaze theory. For Saper, this concept of the gaze is too consistent. He argues that given other elements of Lacans work we must ac cou nt for inconsistencies that are fundamental to Lacans concept of the gaze. In his conclusion he states, old notions of predictability and statistical analysis no longer adequately deal with anomalies. Instead, to understand what might happen when we look at films a question of predictability we need a different way of looking (Saper 51). While accounting for anomalies seems to be a step forward, the basis of much contemporary media theory (and in particular, film theory) in gaze theory is still pr oblematic. In the formulation of media as language, inconsistencies are accounted for 3 Visual Pleasure and The Narrative Cinema 1975
16 by the fluidity of language. We see in Lacans own work (chiefly in his early discussions of metaphor and metonymy) an understanding that signifiers have value in relat ion only to other signifiers. The other chief advantage of my proposed approach is that it synthesizes object and theory based modes of criticism. Where gaze theory, wanted to explain how Hollywood films hid the sociopolitical context of production, I would argue that sociopolitical context already figures in both the imaginary and symbolic orders of medial language, though it may at times be necessary to derive that context by acts of analysis. The difference lies in looking for, versus accounting fo r, orders of the sociopolitical. As an example, Mulveys version of the gaze argues that Hollywood film, in its portrayal of women, men, and their relations, figures and perpetuates patriarchy. In the language--based view, patriarchy is an aspect of the imaginary order supported by and in concert with other conditions of the imaginary order: political, social, financial. All of these elements look like solid ideologies, but in fact are made up of multiple, interconnected, essentially symbolic influences Were and are there Hollywood films that support an unapologetic patriarchy and the subjection of women to a specifically male, heteronormative mode of invasive vision? Yes, however, this is not necessarily an essential ideological component of Hollywood, as Mulvey asserts This distinction will hopefully become evident in the following chapter s of this essay. Chapter 2, Film or Television? will deal primarily with some of the critical literature regarding differences between and similarities of fil m and television. This is a good place to start. These media resemble each other in certain; obvious respects, many authors have already commented on this resemblance. These authors have
17 already started my project for me. At times, they mistakenly assum e certain imaginary qualities of film and television are in some way essential to their operations; such an approach is more productive when framed through the lens of language ( langage). This chapter begins with some thoughts on David Thomsons recent bo ok The Moment of Psycho: How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder Thomson observes that Hitchcocks celebrated film may not have been possible without television. The chapter continues with a discussion of David Bordwells theory of intensific ation, as described in his book The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies The chapter concludes with a look at some of the essays collected in Thomas Elsaesser and Kay Hoffmans Cinema Futures: Cain, Abel, or Cable The Screen Arts in t he Digital Age The essays in this book are especially useful for articulating media language theory in relation to film and television. Chapter 3, Digital Logic Celluloid Film is devoted to material and formal interactions of digital media and film (th e original impetus for this project). This chapter begins with the stuff of cinema itself; film, and proceeds to follow its representation in cinema starting in Call Northside 777 (Henry Hathaway 1948), progressing to Blow Up (Michelangelo Antonioni 1966) and ending in the imagined (not to be confused with the Lacanian imaginary) future of digital photography in Blade Runner (Ridley Scott 1982). Next, I will discuss Lev Manovichs theory of cultural interface (from his book The Language of New Media) and how it can be employed to understand how media apparatuses shape our perception. Cultural interface will not be placed in opposition to the language formulation; instead my formulation offers a mechanism by which Manovichs theory could function within t he language model. This section resumes the
18 discussion of some films mentioned earlier; Tron The Matrix eXistenZ The Fast and the Furious and Running Scarred. In light of media language theory and Manovichs cultural interface theory, how do these fi lms represent digital media and digital logics? While most of these films are hardly works of great cinema and are lack ing in notable aesthetic innovation; they do include vital examples of the model I present here. Clearly, these films are not the only films displaying the mark of the digital, but they are a representative cross sampling of average expression of this mark. Chapter 4, Lola is Media Language, is a case study of Run Lola Run. This film is a perfect example of the convergence of what we normally think of as cinematic, televisual, and dig ital languages. In this chapter scholarship on the film will be examined, and the implications for media language theory will be discussed regarding these preexisting analyses. Media language theory does not reduce discrete media to a continuous, undifferentiated mass There are decisive differences between media, but they are all predicated upon the underlying logic of languageas system. D ifferences in media occur within the imaginary realm which cut s acr oss our real, which has an effect on how we see and experience the human world. What I aim to criticize the notion of a metaphysical ontology of film, television and/or digital media, and in this regard to open new ways of imagining possibilities of media and media scholarship.
19 CHAPTER 2 FILM OR TELEVISION? In his 2009 book The Moment of Psycho: How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder David Thomson describes Hitchcocks 1960 film Psycho as a turning point in American cinema, after which the depiction and reception of sex and violence became far more acceptable to audiences: Anyone with a sense of film knew not just that Psycho changed cinema but that now the subversive secret was out truly this medium was prepared for an outrage in which sex and violence were no longer games but were in fact everything. But the deeper lesson was that the audience in its self inflicted experiment with danger might be crazy, too (23). Thomson observes that Hitchcock had already been toying with these them es: in films like Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, and Vertigo, he had been pursuing the issue of moral responsibility in voyeurism and the larger question of why decent people were so interested in visions of crime and violence and sex that they woul d watch in apparent safety or immunity (7). Throughout the book, Thomsons close reading of Psycho is interspersed with commentary on cultural factors, outside film, that may have played a part in the reception and transformation of cinema, for which Psycho he argues, is the most prominent example. These cultural forces are what I would define as aspects of the imaginary order of film; seeing them in this light will help support my theory of media language. Another recurring argument of Moment of Psycho is television as agent of cinematic change. We should remember, by the time Hitchcock made Psycho television had become an ing rained part of American culture, as the numbers make clear: In 1958 American box office dropped below $1 billion a year, a figur e it had held since the early 1940s. In the same year, the average weekly attendance at the movies fell to 35 million; it had been 82 million in 1946.
20 Another statistic helped explain that decline. In the 50s, the number of American households with tel evision went from about 4 million to about 48 million. There wasnt any question about Americas, or the worlds, delight in moving picture stories. But staying at home with them felt easier, cheaper, and more natural. No matter how big or spectacular H ollywood made the movies, the audience took the smaller version (45). In the 60s things only got worse for the movies, Attendance in American theaters dropped from 30 million in 1960 to 18 million in 1969. In the same year the percentage of American h ouseholds with television increased from 87 to 95 (147). These numbers clearly demonstrate that America had embraced television, and with his show Alfred Hitchcock Presents (195562) Hitchcock had as well. While producing Alfred Hitchcock Presents Hitchcock had learned much about making moving picture stories more economically. This new frugality proved useful when he began to shoot Psycho The film had such a controversial script that the studios wanted nothing to do with it. Inorder to get Par amount to finance the film, Hitch offered to do it like one of his TV shows cut price, very fast, without color or big stars. In return, Hitch would own 60 percent of the picture himself (18). These cheaper working methods had a direct influence on t he look of one of the most iconic films in cinema history; they not only got the film made, they also made Hitchcock a very rich man. Notably, the trailer of the film was also influenced by practices Hitchcock had developed for Alfred Hitchcock Presents Hitchcock was by then widely known for the poker faced intros to his television show. So he employed the same method on a rather grander scale for his new movie. Now he was a kind of realtor showing off the Bates Motel for prospective buyers. So he was dry and dusty, and then struck by how much it had been tidied up sincesince the blood, and then for an instant you were into the shower mayhem and that crude but effective dare that still gets people to the movies: Can you stand to see this? (95).
21 H itchcock was playing off a character with which his American audience had become familiar. That character the televisual Hitchcock was beamed into their homes on a weekly basis and had become, paradoxically, a familiar voice of the uncanny. The films ef fect on audiences was thus shaped by these two paratexts; the trailer and Hitchcocks Presents persona. Here we see a direct connection of constructs within the imaginary order. The opening to chapter 7, Noir Society is the final element of Thomsons book that is immediately helpful for the purposes of the project at hand. He writes brilliantly of the changes television wrought on cultural perception: Television was a medium that could cut instantaneously and without sentiment or irony from the lavishl y engraved stylization of commercials to the rawest of documentary footage of an automobile disaster, the scene of a murder, or the trail of warfare. In the 60s, television taste yielded to increasingly graphic violence from Vietnam, Biafra, and so many other places and put them in its own dramas. The world became a montage, or a collage, easily perceived as madness even though a piece of ordinary furniture kept it in place. There was no way that television could pretend to be in control, or protecting us. The old Hollywood had been dead long enough for its code of security and happiness to be not just ruined but mocked (138). Th omson draws our attention to interrelations of film and television; television had installed a new mode of visual discourse which embraced rapid juxtaposition of seemingly incongruent images, and this new mode would be taken up by cinematic discourse in a number of ways that would change elements of cinemas system If we use the language model to investigate Thomsons claim a number of parallels become evident. What has been traditionally studied as forms of television and film are largely, if not entirely, of the imaginary order. The aspects that form what we think of as cinematic and televisual are determined by factors o utside themselves and are in no way essential. The vocabulary of film became more complicated over
22 time and evolved into a form that seemed very controlled. The model that shaped television was derived from radio which is its own imaginary system, but the content could have been presented in the same fashion as film had this order not existed. Symbolically, the exact same things can be depicted in both cinema and television, but the presentation was shaped largely by external stimuli. Both the imaginary and symbolic are however shaping the real of television and film. Had television been invented before film the old code of Hollywood may never have existed, and film may have always been more like television. A good place to turn now would be to someone whose work focuses on effects of technical innovation on film aesthetics, David Bordwell. In his book The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies he argues a theory of intensified continuity which he breaks further into what he calls four dimensions. The first dimension is Picking Up the Pace (1214). Bordwell explains that the average shot length (ASL) has changed over time. In the 1920s, Hollywood films were cut quite fast, four to six seconds per shot, but the arrival of sound put on the brakes (Bordwell 121). Assumedly, character dialog allowed the camera to linger on a single shot for a longer period of time. The pace of films stayed at a more leisurely pace until the 1960s when ASL began to speed up, however some films continued to use longer shots until the 1980s when [d]oubledigit ASLs still found during the 1970s, virtually vanished from massentertainment cinema (122). Bordwells second dimension is entitled Going to Extremes (1249). He describes changes in lens size throughout cinema history. Early films commonly used lenses with a focal length of 50mm (124). While closeups were typically shot with
23 [l]onger lenses, from 100mm to 500mm (124). As time has gone by filmmakers have turned to even wider angle lenses. These lenses force a perspective and direct the viewers attention towards the most important point of the frame. This forced perspective also discourages the viewers eye from wandering about the frame. The third dimension is Closer and Closer (12934), which describes Hollywoods increasing use of close ups throughout its history This is especially true for dialog driven scenes. Bordwell observes most modern directors feelings about framing dialog scenes, [a]ny style that treats conversations in a sustained, fixed shot must be a perverse, boring minimalism (129). The final dimension is The Prowling Camera (1343 8). As the title would suggest this dimension entails increased and increasingly noticeable camera movement: When w e do find longer takes and fuller framings, the camera is usually in motion. Camera movement became standard in most films during the last years of silent cinema. With the coming of sound, filmmakers began to rely on the flamboyant tracking or crane shot s, especially in opening scenes, and on those slight reframing that keep the compositions balanced. Todays camera movements are ostentatious extensions of the camera mobility that came to prominence during the 1930s. (134) Through all the dimensions, Bordwell argues that the choices available to filmmakers have narrowed since the studio era (121). While I do not entirely agree with this sentiment, one of the avenues that Bordwell suggests as a cause does offer this projec t an opportunity for closer scrutiny Bordwell is known for his view that technology drives many aesthetic changes in film. He writes, [a] demand on one front produces a change on another, and this affects yet another (147). An example can be derived from the second dimension G oing to Extremes. If we agree with Bordwell we might say something like the use of
24 wider angle lenses caused set design to be less focused on fine details and instead on major details like color or large shapes. This would be because theoretically the audience would not be looking at small details and would instead be focused, for instance, on the actors delivering dialog. We could go a step further and say perhaps new lighting gels were developed for a larger palette of possible colors with which to p aint the scene. This is a purely hypothetical scenario, and it is only being used to demonstrate a typical Bordwellian argument. While it is hard to argue with the basic elements of his logic he does seem to ignore that audiences may be capricious; they embrace certain practices and styles but reject others. In other words, technology certainly has an effect on film aesthetics, but Bordwell often overstates the direct technological drive of film aesthetics. Bordwell does, however, suggest television a s a possible source for many of films aesthetic changes. He argues that a variety of beliefs about television and what will properly screen on televisi on have shaped filmmaking practices Change seems ine vitable for certain aspects of film, when anticipating their potential rebroadcast on television. For example, a film shot in a widescreen format was likely to be cropped for television, due to broadcasters reluct[ance] to letterbox films because the image degraded when fewer scan lines were devoted to it (148). Filmmakers would now have to consider framing more carefully if their films would screen well on television. Of course this example becomes less relevant as widescreen televisions become more common. Another stylistic change that Bordwel l attributes to television is the decreasing duration of ASLs. Television, people argued, is usually watched in a distracted
25 environment, so it needs to hold attention by a constantly changing visual display (14950). To me this claim seems doubtful af ter all even older Hollywood films rarely linger on a completely static shot for very long. Bordwell does not appear to consider that the distracted manner in which many viewers watch television may not be attributable to the viewing environment (during dinner, in a living room, etc.) alone, but may be a function of other factors, such as the need (in American television) to break the broadcast on a regular basis for commercials. In other words, daily exposure to rapidly changing visual media may have i ncreased viewers ability to quickly comprehend rapidly changing images. Bordwell continues his argument in a way that supports this reading. Before the 1960s many filmed TV programs had ASLs of 10 seconds or more, but in the decades since then I can fi nd no ASLs averaging more than 7.5 seconds (150). He goes on to add, [p]erhaps cutting rates accelerated independently in the two media, or perhaps a feedback loop developed (150). This statement still does not account for the possibility that success ive generations of television viewers may have become more comfortable with, and more desiring of, quicker paced visual media. I n earlier film eras, most film patrons could not view films as often as could the emerging television audience. It is possible that viewers internalized the rhythms of film and television and became bored with slower visual narratives gravitating to these intensified productions To propose that technology is not capable of driving innovation and change in film and other medi a would be absurd, but to say that technology is the primary cause of change in contemporary visual media seems overly simplistic. While offering an exhaustive history of technical development, Bordwell does seem to want to rely almost
26 exclusively on his theories of technology. His propositions regarding television appear especially tenuous. A counterargument could be made because of the proliferation of large, widescreen HD televisions. With the adoption of widescreen television, films no longer have to be cut to fit a square screen (or at least cut a negli gible amount) Increased resolution shows detail comparable to film, and larger size televisions no longer make extreme closeups as necessary or perhaps even desirable. As these trends continue I would guess that film will not return to the studio era style. If Bordwell were correct, then the technological attributes of modern televisions would create a demand for content more akin to classic Hollywood with a somewhat slower pace allowing the vie wers eye to wander the frame. This scenario seems unlikely, because viewers have adapted to these intensified production techniques and accept them as the norm. Of course, Bordwell does offer other technological explanations for why film has changed, bu t most of them fall outside the scope of this project. Suffice it to say that most of his explanations occur along the lines of his views on televisions influence. The value of Bordwells work, for my purposes, is that he attempts to posit his mod el of media change on a material basis. His work makes us think about the influence of technologies, including television, on other media, notably film. Other authors, however, have attempted to write about the connections between television and film but have missed the mark. Instead of looking for similarities they look for difference. If we look at this method through the prism of media language ( langage), we begin to see problems of these formulations more clearly. Elements of the medial imaginary begin t o be taken as concrete facts. Some may argue that what I am proposing is merely theoretical and not grounded in any specific practice of film. This
27 statement may be true depending on your aims. If the goal is simply to describe a phenomenon then current practices are acceptable. If we want to more fully understand media and our relationship to it we must begin to think of media in other terms such as those of psychoanalytic language. An example of the older mode of critical thought to which I have been alluding is something like the recent collection Cinema Futures: Cain, Abel or Cable?: The Screen Arts in the Digital Age, edited by Thomas Elsaesser and Kay Hoffman. (The title of the collection refers to the Jean Luc Goddard film Sauve Qui Peut (La Vie) (1980) in which a character writes on a chalkboard, vido et cinma = Cain et Abel). 4 The essays in this collection explore the mutual interactions and influences of cinema and television. Two important facts about this collection will become important as I continue. First, the book was published in Amsterdam with a principally European audience in mind. Second, the year of publication was 1998, so the full effect of certain digital technologies were not yet realized (I suppose they still are not).5 The first article from Cinema Futures I wish to examine is Conrad Schoeffers Scanning the Horizon: A Film is a Film is a Film. Schoeffer makes a case for subtle but characteristic differences of film versus television. After citing several exampl es in support of his claims, the piece culminates in Table 21. I am not going to repeat Schoeffers examples here. Instead I would like to c onsider the conclusions laid out in this table, insofar as they specify characteristics or tendencies of cinema and television. These categories of c inematic and televisual are aspects of the imaginary order. They 4 Video and Cinema = Cain and Abel 5 I originally approached this book because of its reference to the digital, but the articles on television and cinema proved more useful for my purposes.
28 give us a model by w hich to establish resemblances of objects. The terms within the categories are signifiers which are part of the symbolic order. Her e we see how these two orders are intrinsically bound to each other The signifiers only have meaning for us as far as they engage the imaginary order, but now they are being placed in new contexts which generate new significances. Table 21. Television/ Cinema comparison Television Cinema Daily Habit Event Low budget High production values Local Escape Fact based Fictional Dialogue oriented Visual Viewed Experience Modular Dramatic arc My purpose here is not to quibble over terms or turn my ar gument into a structuralist discourse on media, but to envision media in new ways already accepted by audiences. Let me give the example of the popular television show Lost This show hardly appears to possess many of the characteristics of television as Schoeffer has outlined them; i t seems to fall in line with characteristics of cinematic. In comparison to film Lost may not have as large a budget but the production aesthetic of the show has a very cinematic quality. While the episodes are modular ove rall the show does have a dramatic arc The show was often promoted as an event which th e audience had to experience for fear of being left out of loop. It was filmed on a tropical island; the very definition of escape for many people. This show is har dly the exception, there are many HBO, Cinemax, and other network shows that have been trending this way in recent years.
29 As mentioned previously, Schoeffers essay appears in a book published in 1998. Based on the movies mentioned in the essay it couldnt have been written too long beforehand. Looking back, television and cinema still seeme d far more rigidly differentiated in the 1990s than in the second decade of the 21st century. Why do the norms of television and cinema seem less rigid today? Is it just a case of one medium influencing remediating the other or is there another, more complex relationship at work here?6 6 Bolter, Jay David and Richard Grusin. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1999. One possible explanation is the rise of the World Wide Web. While we were already using the Web in the late 90s, it had not yet become as ingrained in the general publics daily life. This was where I first noticed the fissure in media that became this project With the advancement of digital technologies the rigid boundaries of media become less apparent. We can now stream tel evision, cinema, and specifically digital content all within the same apparatuses. In some of this digital content (specifically cut up style art) we can even encounter combinations of all three media. The digitization of media has made it all the more difficult to see where one begins and the next ends. For example, I can stream an episode of Lost (television) or the Seventh Seal (film) from my laptop. Not only can I watch earlier media which has been converted to a digital format, I can also view medi a that was intended for viewing on a computer like a video game, interactive digital fiction, or digital art. Bertolt Brecht had signaled a similar problem with radio as far back as 1932. Brecht writes, there was a moment when technology was advanced enough to produce the radio and society was not yet advanced enough to accept it (51). He goes onto suggest that radio should be twoway communication and perhaps this would remedy problems associated
30 with it. The Internet is a two medium, so if Brecht was correct maybe this will help us with some of these problems. The next article from the collection that may be helpful is Pierre Sorlins Television and the Closeup: Interference of Correspondence. As may be gleaned from the title, this essay is abo ut the use of the closeup in television. In the same vein as Bordwell, Sorlin attributes the use of closeups in television to the distracted manner in which television is viewed in contemporary households. Television is a domestic appliance. People c ome in, switch on their television and then go somewhere else. Television creates a permanent presence in their home (121). This notion of presence I find intriguing and it may link forward into characteristics of digital media that have had some infl uence on the operations of modern cinema If we accept Sorlins assumption that televisions function in the contemporary cultural imaginary is partly to provide a presence in our homes, then similar assumptions may be made about subsequent broadcast/representational technologies. New media and digital technologies seem to provide presence in a far more comprehensive m anner than television can. A larger and larger portion of the population carries cell phones and PDAs that keep them in constant contact with others through the digital world. Social networking sites have become places of constant contact, where you can read a friends t houghts that hang in stasis for hours or seconds Much like the fears that television would rot our minds, there are now fears that we are becoming less effective at tasks that require sustained attention because of digital technologies and the multitasking they encourage. The imaginary of television
31 has reshaped who and what we are, like the cinema before that and now digital technologies will as well The final selection from Cinema Future which I wish to discuss is John Ellis Cinema and Television: Laios and Oedipus. It seems almost requisite that I mention this text, because of its address of Freudian psychoanalysis. Out of all the essays in this collection this one seems the closest to my project; however, Ellis is far more interested than I in keeping film and television distinct from one another. Rather than work from the Cain and Abel of the collections t itle, Ellis decides to use Laios and Oedipus as a metaphor for film. He does not descend into a particularly detailed psychoanalytic reading of film and television, foun ded on the myths characters; i nstead, the basic premise of conflict between father and son is at the heart of this reading. This works very well as far as a reading of media as psychoanalytic language is concerned; after all the Nameof the Father is the originary signifier.7 For Ellis, television has increased the visual sophistication of viewing audiences. He observes of modern viewers: Ellis gives examples of the give and take between television and film to further flesh out the metaphor. Then he decides to abandon the metaphor. H ere things become interesting. The general level of audiovisual literacy in Western culture is much higher than it was even twenty years ago. Ordinary people know how images are created; they have some idea of how images are selected, and how they can (in the common view) distort things. They are well used to sophisticated media in jokes. They can deal with elliptical narratives, ambiguous characters, leaps and discontinuities that would have puzzled the cinema audience of years ago. And it is cinema that profits from this audiovisual literacy (1301) 7 For Lacan, the Nameof theFather is the fundamental signifier from which all signification stems.
32 A problem that I see with this statement is that films engaged in all the media operations he mentions many years before the dominance of television. These operations were adopted by the cultural language of media if not by the general public, certa inly by educated people who are now producing television. The difference, for Ellis, seems to be the aims of television and film. Here he returns to the myth claiming that Laios [is] the decisive; Oedipus [is] the obsessive repeater (132). Again, we see a problem of historical context in this article. While film sequels were certainly not uncommon at the time this essay was written and television shows had even been made into movies (and vice versa, e.g. MASH ), Ellis was not privy to the onslaught of thes e kinds of crossing of film and television or film and other media such as comic books and video games which have since become a norm of big budget films It seems as if Hollywood has become the obsessive repeater with countless sequels, remakes, and licensed properties that have proliferated in the last 10 to 15 years .8 8 Meaning licensed from another media not rights bought from a screen writer. The best guess for this situation is the stratospheric investment in production and promotion of current films; failing is far too costly so directors and producers repeat prior success that are familiar to audiences Ellis characterizes the television aesthetic as, [that] of ordinary, mundane human existence, rather than of special moments, of epiphanies, of separated realm of the senses (133). Here I would reiterate my objecti on to Schoeffers essay: the depth possible on contemporary television has turned these ordinary, mundane human existence[s] into something approaching an epiphany. Film s are having a harder time creating strong character connections that television appears better able to establish over years of viewing. In a n
33 hour and half to three hours run time, it is difficult to generate sympathy for characters when audiences are now accustomed to spending an hour a week (sometimes more) with a character over mult iple seasons spread across a number of years. The goal of this section was to look at a sample of the existing criticism of the televisual/filmic media These two fields of media are obvious choices for comparison because of their dependence on visualiz ation. One thing I want to make clear is that I am not saying that there is no difference between the two. Going back to the earlier explanation of my theory, the different media are like different spoken languages. Just as we would say that German and French are not the same language; film and television are not the same media language. We do, however, recognize that both German and French operate in fairly similar manners despite being from different languag e families. In the next chapter I will exa mine the connections between film and digital media.
34 CHAPTER 3 DIGITAL LOGIC CELLUL OID FILM In the classic noir drama Call Northside 777, reporter P. J. McNeal (James Stewart) attempts to free Frank Wiecek (Richard Conte); a man, McNeal believes was wrong convicted of murder. One of the films central plot points revolves around a photograph of Wiecek and eyewitness Wanda Skutnick (Betty Garde) walking into a police station. Skutnick claims that the only time she had ever seen Wiecek, before she identifi ed him to the police was while he was in the act of committing the crime. McNeal does not believe Skutnick, and other evidence suggests that Wiecek is innocent. If McNeal can discredit Skutnick, he can save Wiecek. After seeing a news story about poli ce blowing up a si gnature to reveal a forgery a thought occurs to McNeal. He quickly glances at the photo of both Wiecek and Skutnick entering the police station. It had been assumed that the photo was taken on the 23rd of December the same day that Sku tnick identified Wiecek. If this photo was taken before that day it would prove that Skutnick had seen Wiecek at a time before the lineup, and her identification would be severely compromised. McNeal quickly goes to see the police worker who had done th e photo work on the forgery case; luckily the man i s sympathetic. McNeal asks him to blow up a section of the photo containing a newsboy standing in the background holding the daily paper. McNeal hurries to the Wiecek hearing without time to see the final blown up photo; he relies on the A.P. wire to get it to him in time. He shows the judge and other members of the hearing committee the original photo (F ig ure 31 A), one blown up 100X (Figure 3 1 B ), and one blownup 140X (Figure 31 C ). Finally, he tak es the lawyers
35 and hearing committee to a nearby news office to see the final enlargement (Figure 31 D ). They all see that the date the two were seen together was December 22nd, Skutnick is discredited, and Wiecek goes free. A B C D Figure 31. Enlarging the photo in Call Northside 777 What is fascinating about this film is that it based on a true story. Joseph M. Majczek was convicted of a murder based partially on the testimony of one Vera Walush. As in the film Majczeks mother placed an ad in the newspaper asking for help and a reporter did fight to get the conviction overturned. The key addition to the plot of the film is the photograph that discredits the witness Instead, lawyer Walker Butler successfully sought a pardon for Majczek from Illinois G overnor Dwight H. Green a close personal friend of Butler .9 Luck ily for Majczek the lawyer hired to defend him did not rely on the method depicted in Northside As anyone with even a little knowledge of photography will quickly grasp when watching the film, the process as it is performed is nearly 9 Northwestern Law Bluhm Legal Clinic
36 impossible. Yes, we can blow up pictures, but an improbably high resolution lens and camera would have been required in order t o capture the detail evident in the final enlargement Wo rse still the photo in Figure 31 C is already distorted; there would be no way to increase the resolution. One of the oft discussed aspects of this film is that, to increase its realism, it was shot primarily on location. During the studio era this was not a normal practice. It is odd then that in a film, where visual realism was such a concern, there would be such a glaring technical inaccuracy regarding photography. Also, why would they change the storys end in this way? Yes, it is hardly heroic for a lawy er to use his connections to get a man out of jail, but there could have been another way to end the tale. Perhaps o ne reason was that by 1948 ( Northsides release year) photography had become an increasing important part of our culture. Photography had been around for over 100 years and cinema only a short time less. The culture had embraced photography, and I would argue that people were becoming more personally interested in pictures. It doesnt seem like a coincidence that this was also the year in which Kodak introduced their first instant camera. Suddenly, cameras were more available, more affordable, and easier to use than ever before. With a minimal investment anyone could now be a photographer. Also, photographic development was no longer a dark art practiced somewhere in secret; it was now something that happened in front of every person with access to an instant camera. Despite consumer interest in photography, it is doubtful that the average perso n had considered the resolution limit of ce lluloid. As far as Northside is concerned, it seems that the film makers used the growing familiarity with the development of the photographic image made tangible and everyday by the
37 instant camera as way to justify the films deus ex machina. The imp ortant point is that language ( langue) of photographic development was becoming part of the larger cultural language ( langage). Northside would not be the last film to use photographic enlargement as a cent ral plot point, while extending and refining the langue of photography in the cultural imaginary. Moving forward, Michelangelo Antonionis 1966 masterpiece Blow Up uses the imaginary of photographic enlargement in a related form As we shall see, since the time of Northside the langue of photography has more fully integrated into langage and can now be used in a more sophisticated manner. The overall story of the film is fairly simple. A self absorbed photographer (David Hemmings) known only as Thomas is taking random pictures in Maryon Park (London) when a woman (Vanessa Redgrave) whom he had photographed demands that he give her the fi lm. Thomas refuses, only to be confronted by the woman again at his loft. He pretends to give in to her demands, but substitutes a different roll of film. After dev e loping the images from the park he notices something does not seem right. On the photograph, he traces t he womans lines of sight (Figure 32 A ). After blowing up the photo there appears what could be a face of someone standing in the bushes (Figure 3 2 B ). Further enlarging the same area reveals what could be a gun in the hand of the hidden person (Figure 32 C ). Finally, he zooms in on the woman while she appears to be looking at something on the ground (Figure 32 D ). T homas decides that he has captured the image of a murder and calls his editor to tell him about it. Later he goes back to the park and sees a corpse lying in the position from the photo. There is a little more to the story, but this is enough for my purposes.
38 This film is clearly as king us to question the reliability of photography. Unlike in Northside, here film is not infallible. The shape in Figure 32 B could be anything, yet in Figure 32 C th ere seems to be a gun. In Figure 32 D there appears to be a corpse and later in the park w e see a corpse. If we compare B and C the gun appears from nowhere. When Thomas returns to the park, we see the corpse as it appeared in the enlargement. Like in Northside, is this a case of film suddenly being able to reproduce detail that cannot be justified to appear in the image? I would say not. Throughout the film we are confronted with images of things which are not what they seem (most notably near the films end, the game of mimes playing tennis with an imaginary ball). Thomas decides that he has seen a murder (we know from the phone call), and now that is all he can see. The film is, more or less, told from his point of view so we see what he sees. Of course, others have already exhaustively made these observations, so lets move on. What is of interest to me is the increased level of sophistication with the regard for photographic enlargement that is signaled in the passage from Northside to Blow Up It must be true that the viewing audience was familiar with photography than at the time of Northside (the previously mentioned instant camera had been allowing everyone to take quick and easy photos for 18 years). Yes, this was an art film, by a director known for his challenging method and technical experimentation, so it may be expected to be more sophisticated in its approach to the photographic image than a mainstream Hollywood film. Had Antonioni (or anyone else) attempted to make Blow Up in 1948 even most of the target audience may have been unprepared for these ideas. Blow Up
39 is concerned with the limitation of both photography and perception. We see that the fluency of media language has increased in the interim years. A B C D Figure 32. Enlarging the photo in Blow Up The final film in which I would like to tra ce t he representation of photographic enlargement is Ridley Scotts Blade Runner (1982) The plot of this film is film is relatively simple. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) hunts rogue human clones called replicants; while doing so, he begins to suspect tha t he too may be a replicants.10 While on the trail of the escaped replicants, Deckard searches for clues in a photograph (Figure 33 A ). He places this photo into some sort of scanner and begins manipulating the image. At first this manipulation is confined to practices like zoom ing and enhancing. Then he begins to zoom into the reflection of a mirror (Figure 33 B ). Next there is an extreme zoom into one of the mirrors details (Figure 33 C ). F inally, Of course much more happens along the way, but unlike the last two films, a detailed plot synopsis is not as important because the scene we will be looking at is not as intrinsically linked to the meaning or outcome of the f ilm. 10 Sorry if that was a spoiler but this film premiered in 1982.
40 there is a fantastic movement in which the computer seems to look around an object that was obscuring what he is trying to look at (Figure 33 D ). A B C D Figure 33. Photographic manipulation in Blade Runner It seems as if we are back to where we were with Northside. A new technology of which the audience is currently enamored is used, in a n improbable manner, as a device to capture the viewers attention by showing more than can possibly be seen. This time it is not solely photography, but also digital computin g that is being employed to effect this new perspective on this image Now, digital technologies capably use algorithms to enhance photos, but they cannot break the laws of physics related to matter and light In Northside, an impossibly precise image seems probable, given the lack of knowledge concerning photog raphic resolution and the limits of enlargement. I n Blade Runner a similar sort of magic was is effected, perhaps on the basis of the audiences misunderstandi ng of a computers capabilities, even in the (then) distant future of 2019. Of course, more re alistic example of digital enhanceme nt technologies are encountered on any number of current police and courtroom television programs. And like Blow Up these dramas are more openly
41 confront ing the issue of verisimilitude of what we see. An algorithm is nothing but a computers educat ed guess as to what the image might be, similar to Thomas s conjectures in Blow Up (well perhaps without the human bias). The interesting thing in these three films is that the langue of still photography is depicted within the langue of moving pictures. Of course, movies are a form of photography taken at 24 images per second, so the langue of still photography is always at work in film whether the audience realizes it or not. For this reason, we never notice the merging of these two langues because one was built on the other from the beginning. This is perhaps why visual media as language ( langage) has been so difficult to conceptualize, because thus far the dominant visual media have been mor e closely related to each o ther For instance, in the discussion of television and cinema we saw that these two media are rather similar. Both mediums capture individual images and replay them sequentially to give the illusion of motion. The two media are associated with cultural discourses which have shaped them and generated certain convention of production and reception, which we often view as essential to them As marks of digital culture have evolved in film, the differences in the two langues have been easier to detect, bec ause the langues are so noticeably distinct from one another. I will give filmic examples of this distinction, but first I must mention Manovichs theory of the cultural interface which has provided much of the inspiration for this project. As I mentione d earlier, the term language is often us ed in discussions of media. A prime example of this use woul d be Lev Manovichs seminal 2001 study The Language of New Media. From the very title we know that Manovich will be employing the term. Language is used in various manners throughout the book, but one instance
42 that proved important for this project was in his discuss ion of The Language of Cultural Interface. In this section, Manovich claims that: During the 1990s, the identity of the computer changed. In the beginning of the decade, the computer was still largely thought of as a simulation of a typewriter, paintbrush or drafting ruler in other words, as a tool used to produce cultural content that, once created, would be stored and distributed in th e appropriate mediaprinted page, film, photographic print, electronic recording. By the end of the decade, as the Internet use became commonplace, the computers public image was no longer solely that of a tool but also a universal media machine, which c ould be used not only to author, but also to store, distribute, and access all media (69). He goes on to say, We are no longer interfacing to a computer but to culture encoded in digital form (69 70). Basically, Manovich is arguing that the digital computer is now the general condition in which most of society experiences cu ltural production. Previous to this condition, of cultural interface, we experienced culture largely through cinema and the printed word. For Manovich: Cinema thus includes the m obile camera, representations of space, editing techniques, narrative conventions, spectator activity in short, different elements of cinematic perception, language, and reception. Their presence is not limited to the twentiethcentury institution of fict ion film; they can be found already in panoramas, magic lantern slides, theater, and other nineteenthcentury cultural forms; similarly, since the middle of the twentieth century, they have been present not only in films but also in television and video pr ograms (71). This conception of c inema is in accord with my own. Mainly, the differences betw een these various visual media, Manovich mentions, are (as I mentioned in the Film or Television? chapter) incidental. As far as printed word is concerned, M anovich is referring to a set of conventions that have developed over many centuries (some even before the invention of print) and that today are shared by numerous forms of printed matter, from magazines to instruction manuals (71). Of course, there is a general
43 trend in modern society toward presenting more and more information in the form of time based audiovisual moving image sequences, rather than as text (78). Manovichs description of the cultural interface seems apt enough, yet he offers lit tle in the way of a description of the mechanism by which it functions. This problem of mechanism is where media language theory as I am outlining it, becomes a useful explanatory device. As we begin to become accusto med to an emerging medium, we grow m ore accustomed to its idioms and system its language and begin to have expectations of finding that medium within other media. As Manovich mentions, the trendtowardtimebased audiovisual moving image sequences seems driven by what we now consider limitations of text. Furthermore, as we have become more habituated to the possibilities of the digital cultural int erface, the cinematic has come to seem somewhat limited in comparison. As an example of the cinematic shift towards the digital, I will no w demonstrate how film has progressed from representations of digital technologies (like the photographic examples from the beginning of this section) to using the very logics of digital technologies. This implementation of digital logics is quite differe nt from the examples of photographic enlargement I have citied because film has always had an underlying photographic logic. The analyses will not be readings of the entire film, instead they are meant to demonstrate the evolution of the digital in film f rom representation to logic. The first film I will be looking at is Disneys Tron (1982). The film tells the story of a computer programmer named Flynn (Jeff Bridges) who is pulled into his computer and must fight malfunctioning computer programs. The i nterior of the computer is envisioned mostly as multicolored, glowing lines on a black background. Most of the
44 effects are achieved not through digital means but instead by existing film practices (optical printing and the like). The conception of how this computer works is purely fantastic. My reading of this film is analogous to my reading of Call Northside 777 In Northside viewers were drawn in by a technology (photography) with which they were rapidly becoming more personally involved with, and the same can be said of Tron albeit with a different technology (digital computing). Trons release in 1982 was at a time when home personal computers were rapidly becoming for many less a matter of science fiction and more a commodity of everyday life. Des pite the newfound access to personal computers that was now possible for the average person, the vast majority of the film going populace was unaware of the capabilities or possibilities of digital computers. Tron, like Northside, depicts a fantastic vers ion of a technology that, at the time of relea se, was captivating the culture. ( B oth technologies however, had already entered the popular consciousness before the respective films releases ). The appropriations of technology characteristic of the nex t two films ( The Matrix and eXistenZ 1999, 1999) I will cite as examples of the cinematic digital evolution are in some respects analogous to those of Blow Up Before I discuss these two films a brief excerpt from N. Katherine Hayles may clarify what I am attempting to accomplish. In the final chapter of Hayles s book Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary she writes, So essential is digitality to contemporary processes of composition, storage, and production that print should properly be considered a particular form of output for digital files rather than a medium separate from digital instantiation (159). I would assert tha t the same could be said of a great many modern theatrically released films. As a matter of fact, if we agree wit h Hayle s, then most of these films exhibit multiple
45 levels of digitality. First, most of them were probably conceived using digital technologies This conception could be anything from writing and revising the script, to preproduction renderings, to any number of preproduction organizational tasks. Second, many current films are shot on digital cameras. Third, almost all mainstream films, whether shot digitally or on traditional film, are now edited using nonlinear digital editing systems. Fourth, pos t production effects ranging from simple color correction to complicated computer generated images are produced using digital computing. Clearly, modern films are touched by the digital. Both The Matrix and eXistenZ demonstrate these digital touches, but they also represent digital technologies as foundational elements of the story worlds they depict. I felt compelled to include The Matrix (even though I do not think very hig hly of it as a film), because of its commercial significance, both financially and aesthetically. My chief complaint with The Matrix is that, it is a rather mindless Hollywood action blockbuster coated with a thin veneer of pseudophilosophical dialog leading many viewers to believe to imagine that it is saying digital culture, perc eption, or the relation of digital culture to the real Yet, d espi te my opinion of the film, it marks something of a turning point for the role of digital logics in popular film. The plot of The Matrix is simple. A group of freedom fighters attempt to f ree humankind from enslavement by nefarious robots. The robots use humans as living batteries and keep them pacified through a digital ly constructed, illusory world known as the M atr ix. The freedom fighters rescue from the Matrix a man named Tom Anderson (Keanu Reeves) aka Neo (his hacker name), who m they believe to be some sort of messiah (the One) According to prophesy, Neo alone is capable of defeating the
46 machines for good and freeing humankind from the illusions of the Matrix ( Of course, we dont see Neo defeat ing the machines in the first film of the trilogy; that would make it more difficult to produce sequels. I will only be discussing the first film of the franchise ) As Call Northside 777 and Blow Up involve representations of photographic enlargement, The Matrixs plot involves representations of digital technologies. While the digital technologies of The Matrix are as equally fantastic as those of Tron the latter film demonstrates a fuller understanding of how digital computers actual ly function. For instanc e, after Neo is freed from the Matrix he becomes capable of seeing the Matrixs source code (Figure 34 ). When plugged into the M atrix a person sees a visual representation of this code; just as most of us dont see the programming code of a computer in our everyday use. Like a computer scr een the M atrix creates sense data that possesses value for the human user. Fig ure 34. The matrix code Next, we should look at the scene introducing the construct. In the film, the const ruct is described as a loading program that allows the freedom fighters to access anything they may need in order to fight the machines in the matrix (guns, clot hes, phones, etc) (Figure 35 A and B ). The name is not common to computer discourse, but the concept is similar to a plug in. A plug in is a program that interacts with another
47 preexisting program and gives the preexisting program new capabilities. In this instance it gives the user (the freedom fighters) access to objects they would not oth erw ise have in the matrix. In Figure 35 A and B we see guns being loaded in the construct prior to the final showdown of the film. A B Figure 35. The loading program The final example from The Matrix I wish to cite is what has become unfor tunately its most prolific contribution to contemporary film aesthetics, bullet time Bullet time is the term commonly given to slow motion shots in which the camera moves about a character or object to highl ight complex action which would be otherwise indiscernible. In The Matrix these shots are primarily of characters dodging bullets, which leave distinctive trails of, presumably, disturbed air behind as they pass (Figure 3 6 ). Perhaps The Matrix was not the first film to use this or similar techniq ues, but it was most certainly the film that popularized it s use in the mainstream. Countless films and video games have since used this technique to t he point that even parodies of the technique have become clich. This technique does, however, link to a digital logic of its own, 3 D digital graphics. Digital 3 D graphics computer programs allow the user to model an object and then inspect it from any angle or distance they choose. These capabilities were a major step forward in digital computing with profound influence on contemporary filmmaking As we remember from the 1990s, a major promise of the
48 I nternet was the capability to travel places anywhere in the world from the safety and comfort of your own home, and it would be just like being there. T he Matrix took this capability and put a dystopic spin on it. Now instead of traveling to far off art museums from our home computers, we would be fooled into thinking that a computer generated world is reality. Figure 36. Bullet time A film that I find far more interesting yet was completely overshadow ed by the enormous commercial success of The Matrix was David C ronenbergs eXistenZ Both films were released in 1999, but eXistenZ was released just about a month later. Owing to its low advertising budget (in fact I dont recall seeing any advertisements for it) and the unfortunate timing; eXistenZ was lost in the shuffle. Despite its relative box office failure, it is a fascinating film which deals with philosophical issues of perception distinctive of life in the digital age. eXistenZ tells the story of Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a computer game designer, and Ted Pikul (Jude Law), a PR person for a computer game manufacturer, as they run from anti game radicals who attempt to assass inate Geller at a testing of her new game. The film does not attempt to deal with any sort of technical issues of digital representation; instead, it focuses on issues of perception in a post digital world. As the two main characters evade the anti game radicals they play
49 Gellers game. The game is so realistic that eventually they realize that they cannot be certain if they are in the game world or not. The blurring o f game and reality is sufficient that there is nowhere in the film to which we can point and say this event or object is conclusively in or out of the gameworld. Obviously, this is a very literal presentation of these issues of perception, but this is very similar to the point that Hayles made. Until we stop and think about it (as Hayl es points out using literature as an example), where does the digital world end and ours begin? I will now conclude this section with brief readings of one sequence drawn from The Fast and the Furious (2001) and one from Running Scared (2006). Through th e use of digital animations these sequences demonstrate how fully previously distinctive digital langue has been integrated into our medial langage. They are not particularly important to the films as a whole; in fact, they could be replaced with more traditional shots or removed entirely and the films would be largely the same. The difference between these films and The Matrix is that they dont represent a digital world. This point is crucial because it demonstrates the integration of the digital langue into the representation of an ostensibly nondigital storyworld. In The Matrix a plausibl e reason had to be given for effects like bullet time In other words, at the time of The Matrixs release, the use of such effects had to be justified by element s of the world in which they are used, in such a way that they should appear natural to that world. The examples I will cite from The Fast and the Furious and Running Scared occur, ostensibly, in a world which functions similarly to our own. The audience accepts these elements of digital langue because they have been fully integrated into a general langage of media representation and seem thus no more unusual than, for example,
50 photographic enlargement even though they are capable of depicting things and events that are, literally, not able to be seen. The Fast and the Furious is a predictable adventure film about an undercover detective named Brian OConnor (Paul Walker) who infiltrates a gang of Southern California import street racers. This film is ultimately a disposable entry in youth racing films, but it does demonstrate in one notable way the integration of digital langue. During the race scenes, an initial cl ose up of the gear shift (Figure 3 7 A ) quickly cuts to the internals of the transm ission and engine (Figure 37 B ), rendered in digital 3D. Unlike in the digitally generated fantasy world of The Matrix this race is, presumably, happening in the audiences reality with all of the laws of physics characteristic of that world in place. Yet, with the aid of digital animation the audience is able to see the inter workings of an enclosed transmission and engine. This would clearly not be possible without the use of animation, but the more important point is that audience is meant to accept these images as those of things that can, reasonably, take place I assert that audiences, having become more comfortable with digital langue in contemporary cinema, now accept images such as these, because they function like hyperlinks. As a consequenc e of users familiarity with navigation on the World Wide Web, we have become conditioned to expect more information than what can be immediately seen When the camera focuses the audienc es attention on the gear shift, the audience is conditioned to expect more than just the visible movement of the shifter. Also, unlike in Blow Up or Blade Runner the audience is never meant to question the validity of these images; they are meant to accept them as accurate depictions of what is actually occurring.
51 A B Figure 37. The Fast and the Furious gear shift The final film I will discuss in this section is Running Scared.11 The film is about a low level mobster named Joey Gazelle (Paul Walker) who is charged with getting rid of weapons that have been use d in mob hits.12 11 I am discussing the 2006 Wayne Kramer film and should not be confused with the 1986 Peter Hyams film. One of the weapons, used to kill a dirty police officer, goes missing before Joey is able to disposes of it, and he must race to find the gun befo re any of his superiors learn of his gaffe. The weapon is discovered missing after a stray bullet flies through Joeys dining room window while his family eats dinner. Joey immediately suspects his suspicious neighbor, Anzor (Karel Roden), and takes another gun to confront him. When Joey arrives next door he finds Anzor shot. Anzor claims it was his own son Oleg who had shot him. The camera immediately breaks into a crime recreation style similar to those used in many television 12 It is purely coincidental that Paul Walker happens to star in both this film and The Fast and the Furious The only connection that may seem pertinent to this discussion is that both films were intended for a somewhat younger audience. A younger audience may theoretically more quickly adopt emerging media trends. Something that is also odd about these two films is they are very similar in other ways which currently I cannot connect to this project. Joeys character is actually an undercover police officer like Walkers roll in The Fast and the Furious Also, both films have a som ewhat racist subtext. I do not wish to explore these subtexts in the main body of the text, because they are outside the parameters of this project. Interesting questions are, however, raised about if connects between target audiences (presumably affluent audiences who have already adopted and integrated digital technologies) and cultural beliefs. These are obviously massive questions which would be hard to prove and clearly beyond the scope of this project.
52 police and courtroom dramas. This sequence culminates with a shot from the bullets perspective as it travels through Joeys dining room ( Figure 38 A and B ). A B Figure 38 Bullet goes through Joeys window Again, this sequence owes much to television; but, I would argue, that the television langue has already adopted this shot from the digital langue. First, this shot has been made with heavy use of digital compositing. Second, the way the camera moves through and around things in a manner similar to the way we examine 3D objects online (if you arent sure what I mean think about the retail websites that all ow you to examine objects in 3D before purchase). This shot also seems to be something of a fulfillment of the Blade Runner scene which I had discussed previously. While you still cannot see around objects that obscure other objects in photographs, the fantasy of being able to do so is alive and well.
53 CHAPTER 4 LOLA IS MEDIA LANGUAGE Thus far, I have lain out the fundamentals of this media language theory. I will conclude with a somewhat more in depth examination of the film Run Lola Run ( Lola Rennt 1998), and determine how it functions using many elements of digital langue The film is structured in three main segments each of which begins as a slight variation on the same sequence of events The segments are separated by brief interludes in whic h the two main protagonists Lola (Franka Potente) and her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) discuss the meaning of love and death The primary action of the movie is set off by Manni, a small time criminal looking to move up in the eyes of his criminal f riends, who loses a bag containing 100,000 German Marks during a job and fears the repercussions when his boss finds out. Desperate, Manni calls Lola begging her for help. Realizing Mannis peril, Lola promises to help him find a solution and bolts out o f her house, with only 20 minutes before Manni will undertake a mostly likely doomed robbery in an effort to recoup the lost money Each time the story repeats Lola hatches a slightly different pl an which results in a dramatically different outcome. Many critics have already commented on this film, and most of them seem to beli eve that it is a characteristically post modern film While I do not completely disagree that Lola demonstrates some aspects of what could be called post modernism, I believe this f ilm to truly be a product of the digital age. I am not the first to notice the influence of digital systems on this film, but often the digital is cited as being just a small aspect of this films composition. For example, Robert Lauer writes: One also has a film imitating a new technology the internet that has compressed time and which continues to become more intricate and exciting in the new millennium; a new technology where everything is
54 possible upon returning to a previous icon that enables on e to access others potentially available previously uninvoked routes [Paragraph 20]. Lauer touches here upon the concept of the computer icon which is what I originally noticed in Lola and caused me to begin this project. I have two small problems with Lauers reading. First, he claims t hat the film is imitating the I nternet. I would argue that the film is using internet langue specifically, the element of the hyperlink and not imitating it. In Lola, The language of film and the I nternet h ave formed a pidgin language. Second, Lauer makes this comparison in a single paragraph. This is clearly a small objection but it is as if Lauer added this comparison as an afterthought. Lauer is making an argument about Lola as a work of post modernism and as such he presents a pastiche of influences. For me, this undervalues t he importance of the digital in the system of Lola. A somewhat closer, yet still not entirely satisfactory, take would be Ingeborg Majer OSickeys reading of both Lola and Bandits (Katja von Garnier 1997): [Y]ouger audiences, practiced in video gaming, have different demands of realism than audience before video gaming. Such viewers do not ask cinema to provide realistic images as a match between sign and referent, but rat her to understand visual culture as a bricolage of realities (127). Like Lauer, this is not the focus of OSickeys argument, but she does capture the reception side of what I have been arguing here. Of course, I would argue this even further and say that the production side has been influenced by the digital, not just by video games, but by a whole range of technologies that support its distinctive language. There are at least three particular digital logics which I believe are at work in Run Lola Run: i con, simulation, and aggr egation. There are perhaps others, but these three should be sufficient to demonstrate Lolas digital idiom The intentionality of the
55 filmmakers is inconsequential as far as if they thought about these concepts in relation to th e film. What is important is that these logics are the langue of the digital As previously mentioned, what originally fascinated me about Lola is the way certain shots function almost as computer icons, in a fashion similar to the example from The Fast and the Furious While running to meet Manni, Lola passes, and in some cases, bumps into various people along her path. In some of these encounters, the camera focuses in on the particular individual and a rapid succ ession of images follow These images tell a flash forward story of the character s future after Lola has passed. The individual stories matter little to the main story, and appear to function chiefly as additional signifiers of the films basic premise that every event in ones life entails a bifurcation that could lead to a different outcome. Sometimes the character s situation progresses positively or negatively. In the still shots shown below (Figure 41 ), we see the flashforward story of one of the bank workers whom Lola encounter s th e first time she goes to her fathers place of business in search of his help. Figure 41 A acts as the icon; we see the bank worker and the cinematic hyper link opens to her story. Figure 4 1 B we see that she has an accident. Figure 41 C presumably, comes from a surgery following the accident. Figure 41 D is the woman after her surgery. Finally, we assume that Figure 41 E is the woman committing suicide perhaps in response to her paralyzing injuries. The second time Lola comes to the bank that is, in the second iteration of the films basic story a ver y different outcome follows. T he bank worker falls in love with a teller (who is instrumental in Lolas robbery of the bank) they marry, and live happily ever after in a mutually satisfying sa domasochistic relationship.
56 A B C D E Figure 41. Run Lola Run flash forward These icon based sequences are essential to fully comprehending Lola and its application of digital logic The fact that these sequences have no influence on the greater narrative, ironically, key s the viewer to their exemplary character Why else wou ld the filmmaker go out of his way to include thes e sequences? They seem intended to induce the audience to compare these sequences with other elements of visual cul ture they have experienced specifically, the icons and other elements of the graphic user interface (GUI) In his book Ex foliations: Reading Machines and the Upgrade Path, Terry Harpold describes the implementation of icons thusly:
57 [T]he screens of the GUI in the present cultural moment sustain an imaginary of unbroken reference and saturated connectivity, and have bound them in popular consciousness to seeming analog correlates, stripped of their mechanical and operational complexities (235). Put simpl y, icons are intended to offer the user a familiar object to execute a task that is actually rather complicated within the technical system of the computer In Lola, These flash forwards of potential futures of these minor characters, operate in a similar manner and stand in this way for the overall pattern of the film and Lola and Mannis potential futures in each of the three variants of their story At the moments of the flashforward the film switches from full motion to a series of still s hots. Each of these shots is accompanied by the sound of a shutter clicking or a flash bulb, reinforcing the idea that these are individual snapshots ( that is, an analog correlate to the digitally discrete sequences ). If we accept that these sequences are based on discrete and compact points of departure akinat least formally to the icons of the GUI, then what are the mechanical and operational complexities which are hidden away? The answer is clearly simulation. In the flashforward sequences, we are lead to believe that slight variations of Lolas actions lead to completely different outcomes for not only herself and Manni, but also for the characters she encounters. Wendy Everett attributes this to chaos theory: [T]he difference of a fraction of a second, causing Lola either to bump into someone or narrowly to miss doing so, may have a significant impact not only on her own future but on that of the unknown individuals concerned who may, as a result, discover love and happiness or kill themselves in despair may win the lottery or be diagnosed with cancer. Always, the outcomes seem out of proportion with the initial incident (butterfly/plane crash) (166).
58 The only problem that I see with Everetts reading is that she limits the possibilities to only what is on screen. If we are to accept the relevance of chaos theory to Lola then we must also accept the unlimited and unforeseeable possibilities that could be generated by even the slightest change in initial conditions (a moments hesitation or interruption when Lola sets off on her run). The final example of digital logic I wish to investigate is aggregation. Aggregation is not a strictly digital logic, but it has become highly visible and influential on media practices because of its presence on the Wor ld Wide Web. Search engines and media aggregators sites are the two most common examples. Search engines allow us to somewhat more effectively sift through the massive amounts of information on the web by grouping relevant sites by similar text and keywords. This is clearly a gross oversimplification of how a search engine operates but is at least provisionally acceptable for my current purposes. In Lola simulation logic works because of the aggregate logic we also see at work. We most clearly se e the aggregate logic at work when Lola and Manni are robbing the groce ry store in the first iteration of the main story. In this version, Lola wields the gun of the stores security guard she has just dis armed, but Manni must instruct her on how to release the safety catch. In the second occurrence of this story, Lola, before she has met up with Manni, takes the gun from the banks security guard. This time she knows how to work the weapons safety. In the end, however, both of these simulations prove unsucc essful despite Lolas new found knowledge of weapons, as each ends with the death of Lola or Manni
59 The desired outcome is not achieved until the third simulation. Perhaps she has learned that her best option is using no weapon. I argue that part of what makes this an example of aggregate logic is the very fact that we dont know exactly how Lola learns these things. Our ignorance is similar to the popular ignorance of aggregate search engine operations. Again, like Harpolds description of the GUI, t he mechanical and operational complexities are not visible but we see the outcome. The observation by Wendy Everett I cited earlier is drawn from her essay Fractal Films and the Ar chitecture of Complexity. In this essay Everett claims that Run Lola R un is a Fractal Film which she describes as a new filmic trend that takes issue with theories of chance, chaos, and networks (160). This sentiment is simi lar to those provided by many of the critics who have wri tten on this film. Most insist that the film is about chaos, post modernism, or randomness. While I mos t certainly agree that this context of the film was intended by the filmmakers, I do not agree that this was the final result or that it is the best way in which to understand the film In the last version of the main story, Lola is attempting to attain the money by gambling, a game of roulette (synonymous with chance). Yet, this game of chance is influenced by Lolas piercing scream at the moment the ball comes to rest Lolas influence s uggests simulation. A simulation can include any factors the programmer wishes. Also, a simulation can be run until the desired result is achieved. The final version of the main story seems to be the desired result of mainstream cinema Manni finds the money, Lola wins even more money, neither is harmed; they live happily ever after. Not only is this ending correct by conventional standards but the film is highl y structured and hardly random. Here we
60 see the full unavoidability of language. Despite the filmmakers intent to make a film about chaos the langue of t he digital had already influenced the greater langage.
61 CHAPTER 5 C ONCLUSION As mentioned near the beginning of this piece, this work is not intended as the end of a topic. The influence that digital and other media have on film and vice versa is not as simple as it may seem on first inspection. The way we interact with and experience media has multiple levels which are analogous to Lacans orders of the Symbolic and Imaginary In this study, I have proposed that many of the systems that have previously been used in media criticism (including film) have been misled by mistaking media for something other than an extension of language. A more appropriate approach would be to conceive of media a s Lacan conceived of language, which would mean language as having two different meaning langage and langue Langage is the entirety, and langue are individual languages. I have shown how individual media languages are represented and influence with exa mples from still photography, television, and digital media. Photography was demonstrated in the examples from Blow Up Call Northside 777, and Blade Runner I traced representations of the digital from Tron through to newer film like The Fast and the Furious and Running Scared that adopt digital logics intrinsically. Finally, I examined Run Lola Run which I see as something of a turning point for the adoption of digital logics in film. All of these films are just examples which I have selected because they seemed relevant to what I am trying to illustrate. There are other films that certainly containing aspects of the concepts I have discussed here, and perhaps there are examples that are better than those provided. Again, this work was meant as a beginning not an end and I hope to detail these concepts further in the future.
62 LIST OF REFERENCES Blade Runner Dir. Ridley Scott. Perf. Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young. Warner Bros, 2007. DVD. Blow Up Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni. Perf. Vanessa Redgrave, David Hemmings, Sarah Miles. Warner Bros, 2004. DVD. Bordwell, David. The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies Berkeley, CA : University of California Press, 2006. Print. Brecht, Bortolt. The Radio as Apparatus of C ommunication. Brecht on Theatre. Ed. John Willet. Trans. John Willet. New York: Hill and Wang, 1957. 513. Print. Call Northside 777. Dir. Henry Hathaway. Perf. James Stewar t, Lee J. Cobb, Richard Comte. 20th Century Fox, 2004. DVD. Ellis, John. Cinema and Television: Laios and Oedipus. Elsaesser and Hoffman 127136. Print. Elsaesser, Thomas and Kay Hoffman, Eds. Cinema Futures: Cain, Abel or Cable? The Screen Arts in the Digital Age Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1998. Print. Ev ans, Dylan. An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis New York: Routledge, 1996. Print. Everett, Wendy. Fractal Films and the Architecture of Complexity. Studies in European Cinema Volume 2 Number 3 (2005): 159171. Electonic. eXistenZ Dir. David Chronenberg. Perf. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law, Williem Defoe. Dimension, 1999. DVD. The Fast and the Furious Dir. Rob Cohen. Perf. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker. Universal, 2001. DVD. Harpold, Terry. Ex foliations: Reading Machines and the Upgrade Path. Minneapolis MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. Print. Hayles, Katherine. Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008. Print. Lacan, Jacques. crits: First Comple te Edition in English 1966. Trans. Bruce Fink. New York: Norton, 2002. Print. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book II: The Ego in Freuds Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis 1954 1955. 1978. Ed. Jacques Alain Miller. Trans. S ylvana Tomaselli. New York: Norton, 1991. Print.
63 Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan Book XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. 1973. Ed. Jacques Alain Miller. Tr ans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Norton, 1981. Print. Lauer, Robert. Run Lola Run at the Dawn of Postmodernity. Studies in Media & Information Literacy Education Volume 3 Issue 1 (2003). Electronic. Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2001. Print. The Matrix Dir. Andy and Lana Wachowski. Perf. Ke anu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne. Warner Bros, 2007. DVD. OSickey, Majer. Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets (Or Does She?): Time and Desire in Tom Tykwers Run Lola Run. Quarterly Review of Film and Video Volume 19 (2002): 123131. Electronic. Run Lola Run Dir. Tom Tykwer. Perf. Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu. Sony, 2005. DVD. Running Scared. Dir. Wayne Kramer. Perf. Paul Walker, Ca meron Bright. New Line, 2006. DVD. Saper, Craig. A Nervous Theory: The Troubling Gaze of Psychoanalysis In Media Studies. Diacritics Volume 21 Number 4 (1991): 3352. Electronic. Schoeffter, Conrad. Scanning The Horizon: A Film is a Film is a Film. Elsaesser and Hoffman 105118. Print. Sorlin, Pierre. Television and the Closeup: I nterference or Correspondence? Elsaesser and Hoffman 119 126. Print. Thomson, David. The Moment of Psycho: How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder New York: Basic Books, 2009. Print. Tron Dir. Steven Lisberger. Perf. Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner. Disney, 2002. DVD.
64 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Chad Sims was born in Plantation, Florida. He graduated from Pope John Paul II High School in 1999. After attending the University of Central Florida for a year, he decided to go into au dio engineering. He received an Associate of Science in recording arts from Fullsail University in Orlando, Florida. In 2001, Chad moved to Gainesville to pursue a career as an audio engineer. Eventually, He decided to return to school, and earned his B achelor of A rts in English from the University of Florida in 2008. This thesis is part of the work towards his English M aster of A rts with a focus in film and media studies. Chad will be continuing his academic career at Temple University.