Sørenssen, Sobchack, (Bought to you by the letter S)

Sam, writing about the Sørenssen essay, wonders about the democratisation of democracy, and the key question of whether all our access to making and distributing has realised Astruc’s vision. It’s a good question, and the idea that if you can use data to work out what people want then provide it, while one option, is also a risk to create sameness, homogeneity and repetition.

Zoe writes about the Sobchack essay and how QuickTime movies are likened to Cornell boxes. I also think this (Cornell boxes) is a very useful way to think about many Korsakow films, and as Zoe notes, perhaps your own computer is a sort of Cornell box too? Gina loves Astruc because it is about film making in itself. I agree. It isn’t about film making in the service of some master (action, narrative, audience, money) but trying to find a way to think it for itself. Respect, as Ali G would say.

Edward uses Sørenssen to think about the relation of technology to cinema, speculating about possible futures. Imogen like others notes the three main points of changes to making and access, more egalitarianism in media, and possible new forms. And his example of this is the elderly man on YouTube (which is a very interesting case study from the point of view of what video now is becoming). Laura also summarises the essay well, picking a very good quote: “there will be several cinemas”, that’s a nice way to think of this subject, it’s one variety of these several cinemas that we’re trying to invent. Koston has a nice overview of the rise of the digital camera and its impact on making, in terms of access but also that we can now see it (how easily we have forgotten what once was).

Bec has excellent dot point summary of the Sørenssen, wondering if the rise of amateur making is such a good thing. Mia recognises that the essay is from 2008 so was written before the smart phone + mobile internet + (Instagram video, Vine, etc) exploded, and so thinks about using a mobile phone to make documentaries. Astruc I would have expected to have been all over this, as this is surely (along with GoPro’s and their ilk) a camera stylo? Kylie discusses Astruc and Sørenssen in terms of the changes wrought by technological shifts. Miguel looks at Sørenssen and concludes that ‘true filmmakers’ posses ‘true power’, perhaps, but what work is ‘true’ doing here? (It is key to the argument but not actually defined.)

Nadya, taking some advice, wants to know if democratisation of media making also means the loss of film form, of I think she means informed, crafted, reflexive, self aware media making. It’s a great question.

Astruc and Sørenssen

Mia picks up the three things that have changed as a result of digital technology and the differences these are making (this was also discussed a lot last year, and will appear again this year, it is the decline of scarcity that we argued around in network media which applies to education/university, know what versus know how, and media practice). So we seem to be in a position to realise Astruc’s vision, though the aesthetic side of this I think is lacking. Sharona notes Astruc’s prescience, and picks up the quote about a new aesthetics, I’d like to think we’re helping build that this year. Natalie has a great over view of the Astruc reading (well done!), particularly noting how the ideas was that we’d use video/film to tell things that weren’t just fictional stories. Hell yeah. Vine is perhaps the most significant intervention in that space since, well, the turn of last century (seriously). Brenton offers a thumbnail over view of the Sørenssen, and I like that for Astruc it’s an epiphany, that gives it more force than just an idea. Daniel uses the Astruc ideas and Sørenssen’s working of them to think about Malick, philosophy and expression, be cautious of generalisations, but a good example of the sort of other cinema that Astruc alludes to. Zoe has a long post picking up ideas about what it might mean to treat the camera as a pen, or more usefully as functional/useful as a pen. Habermas gets a look in too, which might get touched on in Monday’s symposium.