Manovich’s basic idea of spatial montage is that “In general, spatial montage would involve a number of images, potentially of different sizes and proportions, appearing on the screen at the same time.” (Manovich 2002)
However, as he continues, "This by itself of course does not result in montage; it up to the filmmaker to construct a logic which drives which images appear together, when they appear and what kind of relationships they enter with each other," it gets a bit more complicated. There are several types of spatial montage that I'll aim to clarify in this summery blog post.
Manovich's definition of Spatial Montage: "spatial montage means meaningful juxtaposition of more than one image stream within a single screen."
Bordwell, D. and K. Thompson. 2007. Film Art: An Introduction, 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Manovich, L. September 2002.The Archeology of Windows and Spatial Montage.
Branco, Sergio. 2008,“The Mosaic-Screen: Explanation and Definition” Refractory: a Journal of Entertainment Media, vol. 14, no.2
“We don’t know, this is one of the problems of technology- and that is that the pictures advance the facts.”
CBS Eyewitness News anchor reporting live on the September 11th terrorist attacks, commenting on the immediacy of modern media and its dangerous ability to broadcast and disseminate images before they can be analyzed and contextualized.
This is a chronological time-graph montage of the news reports during the 911 week around the world:
SCORE!! This is by far the best example of 'New Media' I've found so far! THIS IS SOME NEXT LEVEL SPATIAL MONTAGE!!
The Wilderness Downtown is a groundbreaking 'Google Chrome Experiment' that showcased explicitly the capability of modern-day New Cinema technology, contextualising Manovich's 'Spatial Montage' and 'Interactive Cinema' theories. This will undeniably be one of his primary example of New Cinema, if he were writing the 'New Language of Cinema' today!
Google chrome adapted several utilities such as "Choreographed windows, interactive flocking, custom rendered maps, real-time compositing, procedural drawing, 3D canvas rendering" to enhance its spectators involvement while watching Arcade Fire's music video on computer. Watching music video on computer suddenly become a 'LIVE' in which as audiences, we no longer are just watching an ordinary music video, but be invited to participate in performing the music video.
Bare in mind that although this is an interactive spatial montage, it still fell shot to demonstrate Manovich's concept of 'multi stream audio visual' and 'non-linear narrative'. There is still a clear narrative that is driven by Arcade Fire's song 'We Used to Wait'. However, this is still a remarkable a step forward for the development of New Media that I believe in a few years time may well change the way we view digital cinema on computers. Perhaps, this will be a new marketing strategy for the music industry that can potentially be the solution to the constant declining record sales as each album may provide a specific code that allows its owner to explore more about the album or songs on the net! The future is bright