Download PDF — Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film

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I am pleased to announce that Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film, which I co-edited with Julia Leyda, is now available for download in PDF format.

The open-access book, which has been available in an online HTML version since earlier this year, weighs in at a whopping 990 pages (!) and can now be downloaded for offline reading in two versions (9mb or a higher-quality 13mb version).

There are also two new endorsements for the book. First, from Tanya Horeck at Anglia Ruskin University:

Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film is an intellectually exciting and important book. Editors Shane Denson and Julia Leyda have assembled an extraordinary range of notable contributors with the aim to open up a critical conversation on the very notion of the post-cinematic – something they achieve in a most novel and engaging way. Through essays and roundtable discussions, Post-Cinema formulates fresh and nuanced questions about the consumption and spectatorship of post-millennial film and other media as they circulate through contemporary digital media ecologies. As is fitting given its subject matter of changing media formats, the design and layout of this book – with its open access digitality and its collaborative dialogues – is as relevant and pioneering as its content. Inviting us to rethink received ideas about how 21st-century media reshape “new forms of sensibility,” Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film is critically imperative reading for anyone interested in ongoing vital transformations in moving image media.

– Tanya Horeck, Reader in Film, Media, and Culture, Anglia Ruskin University

And also an endorsement from Michael Lawrence at University of Sussex:

The essays and discussions that have been assembled in Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st–Century Film provide the reader with a remarkably comprehensive and compelling survey of the diverse critical and theoretical responses to the formal, technological, affective, political and ecological dimensions of our contemporary post-cinematic landscape. That landscape now has an authoritative and inspirational field guide: by gathering together foundational interventions alongside the most recent contributions this collection will prove indispensable to anyone wishing to take these conversations forward.

– Michael Lawrence, Reader in Film Studies, University of Sussex

More info and an official announcement can be found here.

Post-Cinema as a Generative Media Regime — Shane Denson

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My abstract for the panel “Generativity and Creative Agency in Post-Cinematic Media” at SLSA 2016 in Atlanta:

Post-Cinema as a Generative Media Regime

Shane Denson, Stanford University

This presentation examines recent theories and approaches to post-cinema, understood broadly as the informatically informed audio-visual media regime that follows in the wake of electronic and digital media’s absorption and re-tooling of cinematic technologies and modes of representation. Taking cues from Steven Shaviro’s Post-Cinematic Affect (2010) and the diverse contributions to the collection Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film (2016, co-edited by Shane Denson and Julia Leyda), among others, I aim in particular to foreground the ways in which what has often been conceived in terms of loss (e.g. the loss of indexicality, the demise of celluloid, or the death of cinema as an institution or context for collective reception) inevitably also involves an additive or generative moment—a moment of technical and cultural creation informed by the microtemporal and computational processes that displace and transform the photographic ontology of cinema. Such generativity has been glimpsed in a variety of critical and theoretical statements, such as Lev Manovich’s argument that digital processes render all images “animation,” Steven Shaviro’s focus on “affect” as the pre-perceptual site of these images’ registration, or Vivian Sobchack’s recent meditations on the emergence of a new spatiotemporal dimension within the “screen-sphere” that now encompasses all of human life. As of yet, however, these approaches have not been synthesized into a more general, comprehensive framework of post-cinematic generativity. This talk aims to make a step in this direction by identifying the technical, phenomenological, and pre-personal foundations of the post-cinematic media regime and its particular mechanisms of creative agency.

Indexicality as “Shadow Archive” in Post-Cinema — Ozgun Eylul Iscen

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Ozgun Eylul Iscen’s abstract for the panel “Generativity and Creative Agency in Post-Cinematic Media” at SLSA 2016 in Atlanta:

Indexicality as “Shadow Archive” in Post-Cinema

Ozgun Eylul Iscen, Duke University

If technical infrastructures are no longer homogenous with surface appearances in the era of computerized and networked media, how can we reach out to the structures that are not available to us immediately but that underlie the very constitution of the digital image itself? Can a digital image become an index of its own mediation? In this paper, I draw upon Akira Mazuta Lippit’s notion of the “shadow archive” (as inspired by Derrida); the concept underlines an accumulation of accidental recollections and enfolded traces at the edge of visibility, thus taking the form of “avisuality.” I propose that the notion of shadow archive could play a key role in mapping out the diverse layers of digital processes that act while remaining invisible. This raises questions about whether it is possible to trace back those layers, what kind of aesthetics would be called for, and what the political significance would be. For instance, glitch, as an error within a digital image, can be indexical of an ‘accident’ in hardware or in the material infrastructure (e.g. electricity). While the visibility of a digital image deteriorates, the invisible but constitutive elements of the image come to the surface. Thus, glitch reminds us of digital information’s analog roots, confronts the apparent perfectness of the digital, and reveals both the materiality and the ideology that digital media are built on. I argue that this understanding of indexicality as a shadow archive underscores digital imagery’s analog roots and its processual and immanent nature.

Between Information and Fabulation: Cinema After Drones — Mark B. N. Hansen

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Mark Hansen’s abstract for the panel “Generativity and Creative Agency in Post-Cinematic Media” at SLSA 2016 in Atlanta:

Between Information and Fabulation: Cinema After Drones

Mark Hansen, Duke University

This talk focuses on the use of high speed digital video cameras onboard Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or military drones to gather “intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance” (ISR).  In order to address the key “aesthetic” issue involved here—the question of whether such ISR can be said to operate through the register of the visible, and thus the question of where to locate its cinematic dimension—I shall approach the images generated by drone reconnaissance on two planes: as a source of information that can only be analyzed by computers and as a “vision machine” that renders visibility asymmetrical in order to identify it with power.  My talk will think with and through Israeli artist Omer Fast’s 2011 video 5000 Feet is the Best in order to explore: 1) the decoupling of “cinema” from human perception that is at issue in ISR images; and 2) how a cinematic aesthetic can create an indirect perceptual interface onto the imperceptible, informational domain “machinically-presentified” by and through these images.