IRC16 - Proposed Session - #AFCinema2.0

Posted by Sumandro Chattapadhyay at Nov 23, 2015 03:50 PM |
This is a session proposed for the Internet Researchers' Conference (IRC) 2016 by Akriti Rastogi and Ishani Dey.

 

Session

Amour fou is saturated with its own aesthetic, it fills itself to the borders of itself with the trajectories of its own gestures, it runs on angels' clocks, it is not a fit fate for commissars & shopkeepers. Its ego evaporates in the mutability of desire, its communal spirit withers in the selfishness of obsession. (Bey, 1985)

Confronted with consolidating rhizomatic concerns that inevitably crop their heads in any forum on internet discussions, let alone cinema, AF, or Amour fou encapsulates the very essence of free access cinema – AF is “not the result of freedom but rather its precondition” (Bey, 1985), AF is Cinema in web 2.0.

The proposed session will be an interactive conversation exploring the Indian scenario of internet based independent filmmaking. The key concerns mediating this dialogue are the mobilization of the internet as a space of exhibition and distribution and its implications in moving through extra-legal spaces, garnering cultural capital and articulating desires of its audience. The purpose here is to engage with cinema within “the broader industrial, institutional, and market contexts in which film exists” moving away from film scholarship focusing solely on the “meaning of the text” while disregarding the very circumstances in which those texts or discourses are “produced and circulated” (McDonald, 2013: 147).

Drawing from traditional methods in cinema scholarship, we turn to our own research methods in trying to articulate contextual engagements with amorphous forms of medium, media and archive. We explore the research potentials that the internet provides as an immediate archive of the contemporary while providing provocations to engage with the internet as an alternative space for film exhibition, distribution and funding. While Ishani Dey explores the mobilization of internet’s potential as an alternative space for film exhibition tracing connections that link pirate circuits, film festivals and subversive mainstream aesthetic shifts; Akriti Rastogi provides an overview of entrepreneurial space of internet based independent filmmaking and the surge in DIY filmmaking in web 2.0.

The session concludes with mediations over the poetics of technological access. The internet’s prolific open access archive’s potential to foster cinephilia and the mutations in viewing habits that ensue lead to novel cinematic experiences and their implication for the profilmic aesthetic. In continuum our encounters with the mainstream and anonymous figures etches out the narrative of experiencing cinema and filmmaking in web 2.0.

 

Plan

This session proposes to conceptualize the implications of open access digital media spaces for cinema in India. Reading cinema as a product of market driven industry factors it interrogates the shifting industrial, institutional, and market contexts which contemporary India cinema negotiates and the implications of contingent media, mode and exhibition on the cinematic experience. The primary concern is to form methods to navigate the expansive archive of the internet and mark the potentials for alternate production and distribution practices that lie within. The session proposes to walk through a number of case studies illustrating the dissolution of dichotomies that is brought about by the interventions of digital and new media technologies. Drawing parallels between earlier shifts in cinema studies discourses with the coming in of videotape and satellite television in India in the 80s and the contemporary debates surrounding digital film practices and direct to home transmissions, the session attempts to historicize cinephilia within the milieu of technophilia in India.

Provocations

Informal distribution networks like peer-to-peer distribution and pirate circles come to the foreground in the discussion on the construct of the cinephile. While the space of the auteur-entrepreneur claims the spotlight in discussions surrounding linkages in film exhibition – navigating through pirate circles to film festivals, bootlegging to the big league.

The figure of the anonymous filmmaker stands precariously on the divide of the legal and extra-legal boundary that the internet thrives in traversing, thus emerging as a vast platform for exhibition that is then mobilized by the DIY filmmaker. The growing popularity of the short film format and the shifts in viewing screens are seen as symptomatic of internet’s effect on cinema’s aesthetic.

The essential provocation here is that while cinema affects the modes of archiving on the internet, the internet in turn affects the cinematic form.

 

Readings

McDonald, P. (2013). "Introduction: In Focus Media Industries Studies." Cinema Journal, 52(3).

Lobato, R. (2012) Shadow Economies of Cinema: Mapping Informal Film Distribution.

Zimmerman, R. D.H. (2009). "Cinephillia, Technophilia and Collaborative Remix Zones." Screen, 135-147.

 

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