Post-Cinema? The Dissolution of Limits in Film

(Dr. Volker Pantenburg und Simon Rothöhler, M.A.)

Film-theoretical analyses of »post-cinematographic« constellations usually tend to render their rhetoric of rupture plausible through references to film’s double detachment:

(1) from its historically-developed performance apparatus (cinema space, projection, establishment of a specific form of publicity with a defined set of social practices and rituals);

(2) from its photographic supporting material (celluloid, indexical image registration). According to this argument, the contemporary »cinema without walls« is not least the product of a movement of boundary dissolution which has undermined the privileged significance of the institution of the »cinema« in favor of the audiovisual complex known as »film.«

This development corresponds to a process of differentiation of the forms of experience of the filmic, one that has been reorganized, on the one hand, in multimedia screening windows (video iPod, computer, cellphone, home cinema), and on the other, has been increasingly and paratextually connected with a diversity of non-filmic media commodities. Both processes have replaced film as a »self-contained commodity« (its commodity form at the end of the period of early cinema), and successively transformed it into an fundamentally less stable »intertextual commodity.«

In light of these multiple screens and in light of economically and socially reconfigured modes of reception, but also in light of the numerous projected images found today in museums and galleries, the question poses itself of the status of the displacements and multiplications of cinematographic apparatuses and the qualitative novelty of the aesthetic practices associated with them. At the same time, this analysis must integrate »post-cinematographic« relativizations, and the continuities involved must be emphasized. This entails, for example, the generally questionable nature of an ontological break between photographic and digital forms of film. This project will explore the poles and dimensions of the diversification of the cinematic apparatus and will, with reference to both filmic art installations and contemporary commercial blockbusters, investigate the ways in which concrete filmic practices render these transformational aspects aesthetically productive.

»Post-Cinema? Entgrenzungen des Films« is part of the sub-project B3 of the Collaborative Research Center 626 »Aesthetic Experience and the Dissolution of Artistic Limits« at the Freie Universität Berlin headed by Prof. Dr. Gertrud Koch.

Link to the CRC-Webpage. | Hier klicken für die deutsche Fassung.