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Soft Cinema

Soft Cinema, the project of media theorist Lev Manovich and designer Andreas Kratky is, in a way, completely different from all of the traditional media forms I was talking about earlier. If the history of the classical cinema can be seen as linear, traditional, analogous, the creation of Soft Cinema can perhaps be seen as it’s counterpart; digital, nonlinear and postmodern.

Soft Cinema cannot be seen as a production in fordistic terms, but nevertheless, it builds upon the notion of mass production, but organic and individualized production. Maybe an example should be made:

If I consider A Modern Times to be a paradigm of fordistic and repetitive discourse that can only be seen as creative through slapstick and other forms of movie representations Modern Times, Chaplin, 1936

maybe the best example for the new style of production should be something among the modern dystopian films like The Island. Here, the production of babies should be something individualized, adjusted for any type of person. Of course, it is a Hollywood sci-fi big budget movie, and the matrix of bad people, big fight and happy end through the fulfillment of heterosexual relationship must be accomplished.

The Island

Nevertheless,  the idea stands. We, as a spectators need something more. Many of us doesn’t want to be passive anymore (YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook to name just a few indicators). Soft Cinema is a project that should provide us with some autonomy over the process of creation. Not only that, it is a metaphor of our everyday lives. Life that is not only influenced, but more often manipulated by the networked culture we are emerged into (or more exactly,  that we created, as emergence bears a passive element, which would suggest we are just a puppets in a techno-deterministic world of electronic horror).

The idea continues on the negative notion of speed that Paul Virilio introduced, but adopts it for better’s sake. Today we have the ability to manipulate and sort any work of art directly on the Web, without the need for institutionalized recognition. Thus, with the help of tags, user recommendations and computer algorithms we may experience art directly, without the serum called art history. We can combine it, take something from it, delete the rest, recommend and proceed further. Soft cinema is like YouTube; when you enter, you never know when will you get out.  And just like Elsseasser asserts in his Constructive Instability essay, it is a thin line between waste of time and creative linking, adopting, referencing and modulating. But then again, it has always been a thin line to draw in arts. But it’s a line that we must draw ourselves, from the center of things, rhizomatic in Deleuzian terms. And Soft Cinema, like many software/hardware based algorithms/art projects/sites enables us just that.

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April 5, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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