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July 2005, Week 4


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David Weininger <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 27 Jul 2005 09:43:48 -0400
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Hi all:

I thought readers of Screen-L might be interested in this DVD. For more 
information, please visit  Thanks!

Soft Cinema
Navigating the Database
Lev Manovich and Andreas Kratky

What kind of cinema is appropriate for the age of Palm Pilot and Google? 
Automatic surveillance and self-guided missiles? Consumer profiling and 
CNN? To investigate this question, Lev Manovich, one of today's most 
influential thinkers in the fields of media arts and digital culture, 
joined with award-winning new media artist and designer Andreas Kratky. 
They also invited contributions from leaders in other cultural fields: DJ 
Spooky, Scanner, George Lewis, and Jˇhann Jˇhannsson (music), servo 
(architecture), Schoenerwissen/OfCD (information visualization), and Ross 
Cooper Studios (media design).

The results of their three-year explorations are the three "films" 
presented on this DVD. Although the films resemble the familiar genres of 
cinema, the process by which they were created demonstrates the 
possibilities of soft(ware) cinema. A "cinema," that is, in which human 
subjectivity and the variable choices made by custom software combine to 
create films that can run infinitely without ever exactly repeating the 
same image sequences, screen layouts and narratives.

Mission to Earth, a science fiction allegory of the immigrant experience, 
adopts the variable choices and multi-frame layout of the Soft Cinema 
system to represent "variable identity." Absences is a lyrical black and 
white narrative that relies on algorithms normally deployed in military and 
civilian surveillance applications to determine the editing of video and 
audio. Texas, a "database narrative," assembles its visuals, sounds, 
narratives, and even the identities of its characters, from multiple 
databases. The DVD was designed so that every viewing of each film 
generates a different version.

Lev Manovich is Professor of Visual Arts, University of California, San 
Diego. His book The Language of New Media (MIT Press, 2001) has been hailed 
as "the most suggestive and broad ranging media history since Marshall 

DVD-video with 40-page color booklet, ISBN 0-262-13456-X

David Weininger
Associate Publicist
MIT Press
55 Hayward Street
Cambridge, MA 02142-1315
617.253.1709 fax
[log in to unmask]  

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