SCREEN THOUGHT: <SCREENS< SEQUELS< MEMES<MOCAP Volume 4, Number 1, 2020

Robert Lewis, Dominique Sweeney,  Andrew Hagan: Actor Training for the Zero Wall of Motion Capture

Keywords: Motion capture, MoCap, actor training, 

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Actor training incorporating digital technologies acts as a portal for actors to go beyond the physical world. Imagination for the contemporary actor is more important now than ever and virtual studios and motion capture systems are the perfect arenas to exercise actors’ imagination and allow them to play in a limitless world. Actors have come full circle: imagination (without digital technology) pragmatism (with limited technology), back to limitless possibilities. This paper discussed how Motion Capture (MoCap) assists the actor in creating a 360-degree awareness of their kinesphere through various techniques. The implementation of Laban's Shape Qualities and Space (kinesphere, spatial intention and geometric observations) allows the actor to have a full awareness of time, place and space. Consequently, Lecoq training exercises actor’s imaginations. The MoCap system defines a Volume, giving actors a set boundary to work with. This training challenges the actor/audience relationships of traditional static camera/stage perspectives. In MoCap, the actor is not working with a 4th wall, an audience, or one single camera. In fact, it is ‘zero wall’ (no wall) actor training. This increases the awareness of the actor. The rendered avatar is an obvious dimension that provides a portal. The relationship of movement to the base object structure actually transforms as a result of certain movement training techniques. In the framework of the virtual performance space with various physical attitudes, could the base object transform into other possible object structures? Could an actor through the particular adoption of attitudes and specific movements become living or inanimate objects if they adopted the appropriate attitude and physicalised with that attitude? The power of acting is in the ability to transform to other people, beings and objects. MoCap can make this happen and training for this medium is just as important as conventional stage and screen actor training. 

Alex D'Aloia: On Fatigue

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In an age of superheroes the hero’s journey represents a threshold of transformation within “thresholds of transformation, which demand a change in the patterns not only of conscious but also unconscious life” (Campbell p. 8). It has rendered “the deed of the hero” (Campbell, p. 202) superfluous, without responsibility, and unable to function as the framework for their own mythology. The deus ex machina now “struts and frets his hour upon the stage […] Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing”, whereupon the hero “com’st to use thy tongue” and tell thy story quickly.” (Shakespeare, p. 147). There is only absolution for thy story over and over, again and again, whenever the hero encounters a threshold. In being absolved, however, this threshold represents, in kind, a point of stress, in a series of stresses, which distort the transformation of the hero, into a hero, causing it to fatigue. This fatigue is the basis for what a number of critics and scholars refer to as “superhero fatigue […] given the dominate [sic] box office profile [this] sub-genre has held for the last several years [since 2018] and the proliferation of superheroes to come” (Doran, n. p.). 

Alex D'Aloia: On -Pairing Canon-

Keywords: Analysis, Synthesis, canon-pairing

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This paper considers the relationship between originality and canon-pairing in relation to Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (dir. 2017) and Dave McCary’s Brigsby Bear (dir. 2017). It also considers how a new experience can emerge, or re-emerge, from -pairing canon- as a new and original form of analysis through synthesis, or anti-synthesis. With the advent of digital technology fan-edited material is already exploring the ways in which montage and the moving image can be utilised as a means of research.  

Shaun Wilson: The Good, the Bad, and the Grumpy: Online Cat Pictures as Design Enigma in Digital Media

Keywords: Internet cats, Metamodernism, digital media, design

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From feline celebrities to viral videos, online cat pictures as a twenty-first century populous digital genre have surmounted a vacantness from research interest insofar as to represent an undervalued digital phenomenon which this paper seeks to investigate from a digital philosophical perspective that defines the genre as to what Braden terms as ‘The Internet and cat videos by extension became this sort of de facto, virtual cat park.’ (Brooks, 2020) While there has been an evidential lack of interest into online cat pictures as a serious mode of investigation within an academic context,  the discussions throughout will congeal three central themes that define first, that online cat pictures are a significant internet genre; second, that online cat pictures are an embodiment of kitsch as a social idiom; and thirdly, that design facilitates the impact of this genre through an embeddedness of human fascination to the aesthetic proliferation of feline habitual observation and mischief.


SCREEN THOUGHT: SCREEN EXPERIENCE  Volume 3, Number 1, 2019


Lisa Dethridge: Considerations for Extended-Reality, Augmented-Reality and Mixed-Reality Design

Keywords: Mixed-reality, Virtual reality, Augmented reality, 3D computer graphics, holography,  avatar,  telepresence, robotics, epistemology.

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This article describes emerging digital media environments with a focus on extended-reality (XR) spaces that take our visual awares beyond the flat two-dimensional screen or computer monitor.  These media environments include digitally-generated content in the form of characters such as the avatar, the robot or cyborg. These digital entities express or embody a variety of audiovisual communication forms; data streams, animations, algorithms and programs.  The evolution of digital media includes the increased use of 360 degree viewing environments.  We move toward the hyper-realistic rendering of avatars and robots who exist in three dimensional space of our “real world”.  Unlike previous media characters depicted in movie or video projections, these new media forms seem to “make real” images and characters.  They embody our digital files as separate spatial entities in the real space alongside us.  Rather than accessing virtual worlds through the portal of the computer screen, we are evolving toward an augmented or mixed-reality environment. We now visualize our data and bring our digital files into the "real" space with us using sophisticated techniques in 3D computer graphics, laser and holographic technologies.   The article discusses extended reality against a humanist background which considers the history of media and the ethical questions raised by such technology.  This inquiry focuses on philosophical questions that may be relevant not only to scholars but also to the designers, producers, programmers, educators and researchers of virtual and cyber environments across a wide range of fields.
 
Damian Schofield, Robert LeDone: The Motivations of a Video Game Streamers and their Viewers

Keywords: Twitch TV, video games, motivation

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With the explosion in popularity of sites like Twitch.tv the streaming community has grown into a widespread, global phenomenon. Twitch has 2.2 million monthly broadcasters, watched by 15 million daily active users, and over 150 million monthly unique viewers – and Twitch is only one of the services available (Smith, 2019). Little is known about the communities however; this paper aims to further investigate and explain the motivations of both the content creators and the content viewers. The first study in this paper looks at the motivations and personality types of individuals who would wish to stream content on these sites by using the Big Five Personality Inventory (Rothmann and Coetzer, 2003) and Yee’s Gamer Motivations (Yee, 2006). The second study aims to see if there is a connection between viewer retention and Yee’s Gamer Motivations.
 
 
Allan Thomas: Thought Without a Thinking Subject; or, Karl Popper as Film-Philosopher

Keywords: Film philosophy, Karl Popper, Objective Knowledge

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The most interesting, and problematic, claim made by (some) film-philosophy, for me, is the proposition that film thinks. This claim is interesting because it asserts that film has something philosophical to offer that philosophy itself lacks. It is problematic because we tend to think that where there is thinking, there must be a ‘someone’ doing that thinking. And whatever film is, it is not a ‘someone’. This paper brings Karl Popper’s model of objective knowledge – what he calls ‘knowledge in the absence of a knowing subject’ – to bear on the proposition that ‘film thinks’, in order to sketch out an account of film as a process of objective thinking distinct from that of philosophy or any other merely human mode of thought.


Shaun Wilson: The Long Take as a Metamodernist Framework in the Age of Perpetual Distraction

Keywords: cinematography, lens based practice, critical theory, Metamodernism

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This paper will explore the nature of the long take as a metamodernist framework by establishing the two key terms of ‘visual listening' and ‘cinematic inclusion’ to be designed through a working model that represents the ways by which these two terms can be inclusive of defining how an audience can engage with cinema through a third key term of ‘unjectiveness’. This developed model will challenge both film philosophy and film theory to derive at a proposition that considers such perspectives to be redundant in understanding a long shot and, therefore, not applicable for coming to terms with the wider premise of making cinema. Later discussion will approach this as being inasmuch of cinema as it is to be of the film used through unjectiveness in understanding the role and impact of the long shot used to counter screen distraction and its effect on contemporary audiences that otherwise reduces the meaningfulness of durational screen experiences.

 
 
SCREEN THOUGHT: PROCEEDINGS FROM THE 1st NORTH BELLARINE FILM FESTIVAL SYMPOSIUM  Volume 2, Number 1, 2017

We would like to thank the North Bellarine Film Festival for their encouragement and staging of our academic symposium and especially pay respect to the festival committee and participating film makers.


Mira Thurner: Part of the Legend: Myth-making and Storytelling in Anime and Live Action Film

Keywords: Adaptation, Anime, Live Action Film

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Many western tales have been appropriated in the anime genre and much has been written on the actualisation of English language fantasy and science fiction stories by Asian films makers. Recently, however, there have been a spate of live action adaptations of well-loved anime films and series and not all are made in Japan. The west has adapted existing anime films such as Ghost in the Shell (dir:Sanders, 2017) with non-Asian stars to mixed critical and popular acclaim. Stories are changed in the retelling with varying levels of sophistication and success. This paper will look at examples of live action adaptations of anime by both western and eastern film-makers and some of the original stories, myths and legends that contribute to the canon. With the release this year of Tokyo Ghoul (2017) and Attack on Titan (dir:Higuchi, 2015), and the proposed live action adaptation of the more lyrical, science fiction romance, Your Name (dir:Sinkai, 2016), the 21st century is fast becoming the age of cross-cultural screen appropriation. This cross cultural, redefinition of stories and film open up a new discourse, at times contentious, for exploration.
 

Alex D'Aloia: On the Future of Narrative

Keywords: Time, narrative, future

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This paper examines the ways in which narrative responds to the concept of the future, and how the future has been dis/enabled by the 21st Century. It explores the relationship between the concept of the future and the concept of the past, and considers how one often embodies the other through the concept of the present. This exploration is considered through examples, such as Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future trilogy (dir. 1985-1990), and Justin Roiland’s and Dan Harmon’s Rick and Morty (dir. 2013–), where time-travel is employed as a narratological device that blurs the lines between what is past, what is present, and what is future.
 
 
John Power: Generative Media for Ambient Screens in Public Space.

Keywords: Ambient screens, public screens, generative media

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Large video walls are increasingly prevalent in public space. In an age where digital screens dominate our attention, Malcolm McCullough suggests that we are at ‘peak distraction’, which is to say we might be the most distracted humans in history. With this in mind, this presentation will explain research developing Ambient Media for large public screens designed to ‘return attention’; that is, help people find calm and focus as they take a break throughout the day. Part of PhD research being conducted at RMIT University, this presentation will also discuss ways that film making and cinematic language have informed new media approaches to creating ambient screen works.
 
 
Shaun Wilson: Designing Meta-Immersion for Cinematic New Narrative

Keywords: Meta-immersion, contemporary cinema, virtual reality, metamodernism

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This paper is the first of two parts which considers the idea of Meta-Immersion in context to new narrative by examining cinematic contributions framed through Metamodernism. The design of this will consider the films Blade Runner 2049 (dir:Villeneuve, 2017), Hard to be a God (dir:German, 2013), The Turin Horse (dir:Tarr, 2011) and the VR film The Deserted (dir:Ming-Liang, 2017) by establishing a conceptual working model using Meta-Tonic Design which attests to the indicators of new narrative with the additives of Metamodernism. The results of this method will be analysed and discussed in the second paper Modelling Meta-Immersion for Cinematic New Narrative.


Shaun Wilson: Modelling Meta-Immersion for Cinematic Narrative

Keywords: Meta-immersion, contemporary cinema, meta-tonic design, metamodernism

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This paper will model data into Meta-Tonic Design by a method which examines and locates meta-immersion. The data will be drawn from the films Blade Runner 2049 (dir:Villeneuve, 2017), Hard to be a God (dir:German, 2013), The Turin Horse (dir:Tarr, 2011) and the The Deserted (dir:Ming-liang, 2017) by considering the state of each artefact and how these elements behave in the presence of a formula prescribed through calculations made from specific indicators and additives.
 
 
 
SCREEN THOUGHT: DON'T PANIC Volume 1, Number 1, 2016

David Beesley: Drone Panic! On Representations of the Personal Drone by Australian Mainstream Media

Keywords: Drone, Australian media, broadcast

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When considering personal drones as a new media tool with obvious digital media applications or as a next generation communication technology, there exists both definitional and conceptual ambiguity surrounding the identity and representation of personal drone use. When amplified by the mainstream media this leads to ‘panics’, both actual and perceived. This paper will explore the panics and concerns surrounding the representation of these revolutionary machines by the Australian mainstream media in order to see the entwined narratives within, and examine whether these concerns are founded or perceived; new concerns, or old concerns encountering new technologies.


Ben Byrne: Noise: Tone, Paramedia and Multiplicity

Keywords: Paramedia, tone, multiplicity

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'Noise: Tone, Paramedia and Multiplicity' explores the influence of Michel Serres’ writing around noise, along with Dick Higgins' concept of intermedia, on Fluxus artist Yasunao Tone’s work. Here I discuss Tone’s audiovisual performance at the UTS Music.Sound.Design Symposium in 2008, drawing on my own discussions with the artist as well as his writing and that of Higgins and Serres. I show not only that Tone’s use of noise in performance is based on Serres’ theory of the parasite but, further, that his work serves as an exemplar of Serres’ metaphysics of noise. In his book Genesis (1982), Serres proposes a metaphysics of noise that emphasises multiplicity. He argues that noise – a particular use of the term that he coins and I will explain – forms a backdrop to all that is meaningful. This is demonstrated in Tone's performance, which involves the artist copying Chinese characters at random using a WACOM tablet, his transcriptions projected before the audience and used to indeterminately influence a Max/MSP based software system producing audio through an eight channel surround system. Further, I argue that Tone's work can best be understood as a performed encounter with noise.


Alexander D'Aloia: On the Nature of Audience

Key words: Duration, cinema, time

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Taking influences from Gilles Deleuze’s Cinema 1: The Movement Image, this article explores the dynamic relationship between a film and its audience, with particular emphasis upon the latter. Currently there exists little to no framework upon which to examine the affects a film has on its audience, and the way in which an audience inter/acts with a film, beyond the Deleuzian notion of affect. The two are not mutually exclusive processes, however. This article demonstrates that they behave proportionately, and consequently, in response to the other.


Patrick Kelly: Creativity and Autoethnography: Representing the Self in Documentary Practice

Keywords: Autoethnography, documentary, filmmaking

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This paper seeks to examine the debate over documentary films that utilise evocative autoethnographic techniques, ultimately affirming that resulting outputs can realistically communicate experiences of the self. The problematic nature of portraying ‘reality’ through media is well established. Indeed, we are seeing the line between reality and fiction grow blurrier with every creative documentary that is released. Evocative autoethnography seeks to utilise creative processes in order to connect personal experiences with those of a larger culture. Documentary films often reflect upon specific personal moments and represent them using creative techniques, such as animation and re­enactment, to essentially communicate expressions of self and cultural phenomenon. Some critics maintain that autoethnography should not be clouded by the researcher’s subjective experience; that, too often, navel­gazing ensues. This paper presents a number of examples from the field, ultimately proposing that the use of evocative autoethnography can utilise creative techniques, such as animation, recreation, and even satire to connect research to significant and shared cultural experiences. In examining the debate over the viability of Evocative Autoethnography and drawing on documentary texts, this project highlights the benefits of harnessing of creativity in the representation of cultural truth.


Shaun Wilson: Alternative Characterisation Strategies in Contemporary Mainstream Zombie Cinema

Key words: Zombie, scriptwriting, contemporary cinema

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This paper explores the nature of alternative zombie characterisation through contemporary mainstream cinema. As Hegel laments that madness is ‘a derangement of a person’s individual world’ (Hegel, 408 Z), ‘an attempt at self empowerment where the power of the divine is experienced as either absent or irrational’ (Berthold-Bond, p.152) this kind of consideration is amongst a misguided if not misinterpreted reasoning nested within cinema that portrays zombies as blundering, blood-thirsty monsters instead of what Hegel further considers to be ‘a religious disillusionment’ (ibid.). This paper will challenge the archetypal limitations of screen zombie characterisation by presenting test cases of the films Shaun of the Dead (dir. Wright, 2004), Zombieland (dir. Fleischer, 2009), World War Z (dir. Forster, 2013), and 28 Weeks Later (dir. Fresnadillo, 2007) into the philosophical frameworks of Hegel’s notion of madness, Socrates notion of morality, and Nietzsche’s will to power. The intent of such is not to provide a critique of these three perspectives but rather in reverse, to establish a model by way of deconstructing the aforementioned films through a means that plays out a deeper understanding through characterisation of the genre and the limitedness of determinism in recent zombie-based cinema.