What Philosophy Wants from Images
This book asks what has been happening to film and to cinema as every aspect of making and viewing movies is being replaced by digital technologies. Even the idea of "watching a film" has become an anachronism as new media has ascended and as physical film has disappeared. The urgency for Rodowick is that, for eighty years, moving images offered a conceptual framework for philosophers such as Benjamin, Cavell, Barthe, and Deleuze to think through some of our most fundamental dilemmas involving questions of meaning and experience, our knowledge of the world and of other minds. Rodowick wonders if the philosophical power of film has faded as it has disappeared and fragmented into new, distinct types of media and screens; perhaps now, he wonders, algorithmic thought and computer-mediated communications really are becoming our most powerful sites of ontological fascination and exploration. At the same time Rodowick notices that contemporary artists are increasingly fascinated by cinema: or by what he calls a certain "memory of cinema." Sometimes this involves a literal return to the archaic medium itself, as in hand-spliced 16-mm films. There is also the practice that incorporates an "archival historical impulse" (e.g., Christopher Marclay's 24-hour moving image loop, The Clock). Such works produce what Rodowick calls "a future memory of cinema"--an anticipatory move that investigates not only what the image has been and can be no longer, but what it is becoming. These artist films challenge both the history of cinema and our memory of the history of cinema in complicated ways. They engage the spectator in a temporary experience where traditional concepts of image, space, movement, and time no longer suffice, and new concepts, not yet nameable perhaps, must be created.
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