Although throughout my research, most of the examples and analysis that I've done had been primary focus on the many ways that spatial montage is being presented/adapted in cinema industry; nevertheless, at the end of the day we are studying 'Networking' not 'Cinema.' Beside from the fact that the extract we are examining is titled 'The new age of CINEMA' I believe that it is easier for me to grasp the idea of the extract through the lenses of a 'cinema perspective' which I'm most comfortable with. Overall, as I write more about cinema, I began to really see and acknowledge the interwoven connection between cinema and networking in terms of the concept of spatial montage!
In my hypertext essay, I aim to create a hypertext essay that's both aesthetically engaging and interactive! Instead of a text-filled html webpage, I wish to use images and videos to signify the conceptual ideas that Lev Manovich talked about in his book. Stay tune to my future works
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."
Split Screen: "Is usually used as a synonym of multiple-image or multi-frame compositions." (Branco 2008) David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson also state in a wider aspect, “In this process, two or more different images, each with its own frame dimensions and shape, appear within the larger frame” (2007, 187)
Suspense (1913 - one of the earliest example of using split screens as a way to draw narrative)
3 Words (An interesting integration of digital editing and split screen)
Mosaic-screen is also similar technique that presents fragments on screen to produce similar effect to the split screen. "The mosaic-screen arranges diverse images normally with distinct aesthetic properties: colour, scale, framing, and especially shape and size, which are somehow independent from the encompassing dimensions of the screen that are divided by the split screen." (Branco 2008)
The notion of 'interactive narrative' mentioned in Manovich's 'The New Language of Cinema' is an interesting concept that the film industry has long been experiment with. In this post, I aim to look through some of the examples dated back in the 60s and compare them to the examples that we have today.
One of the element of New Media is explained by Manovich is that is it interactive.
" New media is interactive. In contrast to traditional media where the order of presentation was fixed, the user can now interact with a media object. In the process of interaction the user can choose which elements to display or which paths to follow, thus generating a unique work. Thus the user becomes the co-author of the work." (Manovich, 2001)
An early example of an 'Interactive' Cinema can be traced back in 1967, 'Kinoautomat' directed by Raduz Cincera (Czech director)isthe first interactive film that is filmed and screened in a cinema. The film aimed to break the linear-narrative structure of a traditional film by stopping the film at 9 particular points to let the audiences decide between two options that would lead to a different storyline, hence, non-linear narrative. However, this supposedly 'interactive' cinema is flawed in a way that it breaks the fundamental rule of cinema outlined by film theorist, David Bordwell.
" The stability of syuzhet processes and stylistic configurations should not make us treat the spectator as passive material for a totalling machine." (David Bordwell 1986)
As a result, the sudden interruptions alienates its spectators instead of evolving them.
In my opinion, the concept of New Media introduced by Manovich has a lot of potential OUTSIDE the margin of traditional single stream cinema due to the fact that single stream cinema is still one of the biggest film industry that had proven its dominance by constantly producing blockbuster hits like Avatar, Harry Potter..etc. It is still the most popular type of film. Personally, I myself enjoys one large single streamed cinema more because it allows us to focus on the simplicity of the linear narrative. Instead of constantly being interrupted and coerced to make choices just so the film can row on; I much prefer when everything is laid out thoroughly by the director himself who has total control over the flow of the narrative.
Although, the concept of 'interactive' cinema doesn't favour traditional cinema, its lights shine on other forms of media, providing a richer and more abundant experience to the spectators.
"Most discussions of cinema in the computer age have focused on the possibilities of interactive narrative. It is not hard to understand why: since the majority of viewers and critics equate cinema with storytelling, computer media is understood as something which will let cinema tell its stories in a new way." Lev Manovich (1996) 'The New Language of Cinema - What is Digital Cinema?'
An current example can be drawn from world's largest video-sharing website YOUTUBE where interactive narrative is presented in short video stories. Instead of making decisions while watching intense full length movies, we can now enjoy a more casual and engaging way of entertaining by watching short videos on youtube with ability to have some control over the narration on our computer or technology devices.
Bare in mind that the use of this type of 'interactive narration' may potentially decontextualise the character of 'interactive video' making it more like a 'game' rather than a 'video'. By giving us the golden key to have the opportunities to participate in the narrative, we as speculator became the participant in the story that helps to drive the narrative. Consequently, we no longer are 'watching' a video but 'participating' on the hero's quest to achieve a particular goal in the narrative. Thus, the boundary that separate between a typical RPG games and an interactive video clip become increasingly ambiguous. However, both are good form of entertainment that 'interact' and 'engage' us.
Zombie Interactive Video Zombie RPG
Perhaps a hybrid of both interactive film and gaming in the future will be EPIC!!!
Manovich, L, 2001, The Language of New Media, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, America
Bordwell, D, 1986, Narrational Principles and Procedures in Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Theory Reader.
Manovich, L, 1996, 'What is Digital Cinema?' Massachusetts Institute of Technology, America
" This new cinematic aesthetics of density seems to be highly appropriate for our age. If we are surrounded by highly dense information surfaces, from city streets to Web pages, it is appropriate to expect from cinema a similar logic. In similar fashion, we may think of spatial montage as reflecting another contemporary daily experience – working with a number of different applications on a stream of traditional cinema."
After reading this, it's very clear that the best way to demonstrate its concept and "IDEA" is to draw a GRAPH!!
Basically, Manovich's argument aims to suggest a new form of cinema that is 'appropriate for our age,' an age where we are constantly exposed to 'highly dense' and techno-savvy contents. Instead of concentrating on doing one particular task at a time, we find it more gratifying by 'MULTITASKING': switching our attention from the TV screen in front of us to a computer screen, to another computer window, to the multiple-tabs within the window, to music, to our phone, texting, facebooking, web surfing, video chatting...ALL AT THE SAME TIME! Manovich relates our 'contemporary daily experience' and suggests that perhaps a new revolution of cinema should take place to 'adapt' and become more up-to-date with the society. He believes that the single stream and linear narrative cinema form is too outdated; in order to advance the experience of the audience, we should present them with multiple-streams of audio-visual information simultaneously. (Because we are capable of processing multifaceted simultaneous contents in our everyday life.... the new interactive cinema is a better option and more satisfying than the traditional one.)
" Spatial montage represents an alternative to traditional cinematic temporal montage, replacing its traditional sequential mode with a spatial one"
Let the battle between 'Traditional Cinema' and 'New Cinema' Begin!!
Cinema, Entertainment, Web design, Product development, Advertising....Technology Evolution!
I also checked his Facebook page and found out that he has 4936 friends!!! so beloved...lol Maybe I can be his #4937 friend!
Anyway from his facebook, I found this quite outta the space but interesting studies about 'How to compare image sets and follow their evolution' It's actually pretty amazing to see how he statistically ordered Van Gogh's paintings all together in a image according to the locations that they were painted in. WOW...This brings 'the study of the style evolution of an Artist' to a new extreme!!
Paris ↔ Arles
We studied Van Gogh's style evolution from his 'potato period' to his time in Paris and eventually to self destruction/accidental death, but these is nowhere near the study Manovich had done!! But the way he examine the artwork makes me think of fundamentally, what are we looking for or seek for when we study an Aritst's art evolution? Are we looking for things to draw connection to? or are we seeking the personality of the artist behind these masterpieces, looking for the reason why the artist painted the painting? or are we looking deep to figure out the technique and skilled behind the making of the the masterpieces? (Perhaps even the artist is totally un-selfconcious about them.) For me, this shows the distinction between Artist and Scientist!
"Artist sees then understood, sometimes be inspired! Scientists see then research, sometimes they discover!"
That's as far as I'm going to go in this post.... facebook is distracting me!! When is Manovich going to add me?