Old and New Media

Laura Mulvey’s work addresses the imposition of a periodization onto cinema and different forms of media with the introduction of the digital. The problem that Mulvey tackles is that media has been subject to distinctions of old and new, before and after, and then and now. These distinctions, however, do not illuminate how film as a medium works or how time is constructed or mediated within cinema, especially when it is confronted by digital technologies. What can be made of cinema and any sort of “old” medium when some theorists “pronounce cinema ‘dead’” (72)? At this juncture, Mulvey interjects with inter-media. What happens when “old” and “new” media collide, like in the case of digital film?
She explains that the ability to stop and start cinema, to slow it down or speed it up, or to skip or repeat sequences show that, “A movie’s linearity, its apparent dependence on a horizontal narrative structure, can mutate.” In other words, the ways in which we can manipulate time in a film is further facilitated by celluloid’s encounter with different technologies, like DVDs and video. And so, through this encounter, the old and new is not about opposition, but the two forms mutually work together to bring out more details. It is not a ‘great divide’ is the central problem of media, but that different forms of media coalesce and work together to shed light on the topic in different ways. A question that emerged for me in light of Mulvey’s article was whether or not this applied to criticism videos?
I  viewed, “Videographic Criticism and Documentary Modes” by Drew Morton in {in}Transition.
This piece to me seemed more linear in its argumentation with its voice overs by the author and the sequences of clips that play according to what the voice over is dictating. At times, there are intertitles of the quotation of Adaptation or an important quote from Mikhail Iampolski about how anomalies function in relation to cinema and intertextuality. We can start, stop, and replay because it is in a digital form at our fingertips, but the crux of the video is linear. Time is linear in this piece. We can start and stop, but time isn’t necessarily disrupted or mutated. The linear imperative of the video makes its seem like modes of scholarship like expository writing. While we may pick up on smaller details, the narrative and sense of time that Morton covers does not transform in the same way.
“A Thrilla in ManiLA” by Geoffrey V. Carter, however, struck me in a very different way.
Already the lack of a voice over and the way that it is composed diverges from Morton’s video essay. Time and pacing in the video is different, but rather than telling viewer that it is different, Carter’s work shows that it is different and can be mutated. From the images and footage of Ali, Fraser, and Stallone, the contention at hand is clear. Memory is at the center and how we remember through monuments seems to be the highlight of this piece. Yet, this is not set from the get-go by Carter, it is shown through the juxtaposition of Fraser’s speech, Ali’s poetry, and Rocky played by Stallone as a monument and the overall composition of the piece. With the repeating punching sequence, our sense of time has already shifted. Our memory is brought into question (had we seen this before? Is it a repeated sequence?). Nuances of the argument, especially about race, is also present in subtle ways. The argument is not linear, and the way in which the viewer could manipulate the video by skipping, stopping, or repeating specific sections could potentially put together different meanings or shed light on specific topics in different ways.
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