SCMS Panel Proposal

I just submitted the following panel proposal for the upcoming Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference in Atlanta in March 2003. If anyone is interested in submitting an abstract, feel free to contact me by email. Other proposed panels are available here.

This panel explores how digitization transforms our understanding of moving images, producing what Lev Manovich refers to as a “‘crisis’ of cinema’s identity.” Possible questions may include: How does digitization transform cinematic montage? How does the apparent malleability of the digital image transform cinematic perception? How has cinema’s “identity crisis” been displaced onto the “identity crisis” associated with discussions of the “posthuman?”


  1. kenrufo Said,

    July 15, 2003 @ 10:25 am

    Interesting. One question of clarification though: by digitization are your referring to the technological transference (the difference between an analog production and a digital, binary construction) or are you also including the means of production for digitization? I’m in Athens, so I’ve been thinking about SCMS for a bit, but this is the first panel proposal that I’ve seen that really intrigues me, and I didn’t want to seem too off topic.

    Out of curiousity, have you seen Wenders’ Million Dollar Hotel? There’s a scene in which the computer manufactures a “between-frame” slow motion shot that looks particularly and purposefully awkward and Wenders, who has much to say about digital film in general, is very keen – almost giddy – about that moment during the DVD’s commentary track.

    One other aside: I’ve wondered of late if the crisis of the digital isn’t so much a crisis of cinema as it is a crisis within a particular understanding of cinema – Metz’s imaginary signifier and other prominent psychoanalytic readings – where ways of seeing or scoping hold such a high degree of importance.

    Hmm, maybe these two random notes (Wenders and anti-Metz) are related? I’ll need to think about why the one followed the other in my brain. Anyway, your thoughts?

  2. chuck Said,

    July 15, 2003 @ 12:01 pm

    Thanks for your interest in my panel (and for giving me room to elaborate on what I have in mind). I’d be interested in either version of digitization–technological transference or means of production, and I’ll go ahead and say that SCMS is usually quite good, with audiences who are fairly responsive.

    I haven’t seen “Million Dollar Hotel,” in part because it was so thoroughly criticized, but your descritpion here is enticing, and I normally find Wenders’ meditations on the cinematic fascinating.

    It also illustrates well the “moments” that I find interesting and that inspired me to propose this panel. In particular, I’ve been interested in “awkward” uses of digital effects, such as in Dark City’s “tuning” sequences and in Donnie Darko’s “pre-visions” where the hero sees the pathways that the partygoers are about to follow. In both cases, the digital seems to be an intrusion into the safely solid world of the analog image.

    I think I’d also agree with you about the digital being simply a crisis in a particular type of cinema, and most psychoanalytical readings *do* seem to have reached their point of crisis–whether this is due to what Garrett Stewart calls a film’s “strategically failing to suppress” its construction [possibly via digitization], or the exhautsion of the psychoanalytic paradigm, or even an initial misreading of Lacan [as Todd Macgowan argues], I’m not sure.

    I’m only on my second cup of coffee so this response may feel a little disjointed. At any rate, I’d definitely enjoy seeing an abstract if you’re still interested.

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