Monday, November 28, 2011
After 2+ years of working on this blog, I feel an argument or two has been made. Or at least alluded to.
In fact it's possible I never quite got to the bottom or the end of a thought, owing to the nature of blogging and that it is a continuous and personal series of entries closer to a journal than to journalism. I started this project as a way to investigate and track my own troubled relationship with film moving to a digital world. Online, virtual and without the physical, noisy and organic charms I grew up with. Yes, I'm talking about scratches and that vinegar smell.
I, along with much of the world, was conflicted and anxious about the loss of the indexical link between a performance and the photo-chemical artifact that ran through the projector, one at a time, once at a time and in order. In a rush to look forward we seemed to be more interested, as a culture and as an industry, in ease of delivery and portability, abandoning the hardship and commitment that discreet objects forced us to go through in the past.
Digital ubiquity translates into wider exposure for many new (and some archival) works, but when something is available so easily, doesn't it lose some kind of value? Being scarce is the benefit of physical objects, existing in only one place and as sacred as they are unique. Streams in the cloud, infinitely duplicatable and perfect, aren't anywhere at all.
These discussions are familiar to those who followed this blog, particularly from its inception around mid-2008 to early 2010. That span started with the rise of 3-D and film projectors being replaced in many multi-plexes to the triumph of "Avatar" and Netflix as a primarily streaming service.
I was studying archiving at UCLA and questions about the physicality of actual film, for preservation purposes, shifted to questions about the quality of engagement with digital audio-visual images, for cultural concerns.
Things moved fast in the last 36 months. And I graduated with a master's degree pointing towards some kind of library discipline. While I wrote about other topics such as history and teenagers, this blog has to a certain extent served its purpose, and as a way to draw a line around the initial motivation and close a chapter that remains very much open and part of an ongoing debate, I have chosen 64 of the earlier posts that follow and fill in the thread above.
Is digital the end of cinema, or just the end of film?
These ramblings, with a minimum of editing, have been arranged into a book self-published and available on Amazon, here. I deline* the fall of analog in movie theatres, the rise of digital, reporting on the discussion in the news of the day, dropping occasional topical digressions but including all philosophical musings on ruins, reception studies, and Ken Russell as it relates to archiving and librarianship, as appropriate and at a whim.
The collection, a curated distillation of what has appeared already here online, is printed on demand by the experts at Amazon, and is not yet available for your e-reader.
I thank you all for reading and for the support over the last couple years.
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*the active plu-perfect tense of "delination."