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Cinema space definition, form and problem
?cinema, as we know it, is based upon lying to the viewer. perfect example is the construction of cinematic space.- Lev Manovich
In all its forms, modes and manifestations cinema is a construction; an artificial built environment where communicative meaning is assembled through the leverage of tools, processes, mechanics and methodologies. Whether viewed from the perspective of experience, process, medium or entity; cinematic form is never divorced from the collaborative and inter-disciplinary notion of assembly. Of disparate pieces put into place and meaning derived from both the placement and the act of placing placement in time and composition, placement in the frame, placement in perception and experience and, at the core of all these, a placement in space.
Of course, defining what that space is and considering how that space is understood, in both broad and holistically complex terms, is no simple task. In order to make that investigation in a meaningful way, one that ultimately provides a robust and flexible new theoretical framework for understanding the full extent of cinematic form in the twenty first century, we need to start with the axioms of what cinema is. Or, more importantly, what cinema has long been known and accepted to be. These axioms then become the tangible pillars at which we can hurl the stones of of new technologies, new modes of seeing and new concepts of media making like a techno-cultural Hajj.
Borge has commented that:
"It is quite feasible to produce a film without actors, but a film without a camera is a sheer impossibility. So the history of the film is to some extent the history of the camera, for it is the camera which actually takes the photograph, arranges all the separate shots in sequence, and which evokes the illusion of a live picture, an illusion which depends on the imperfection of the human eye."(Börge, V. 1962)
Whilst this idea of cinema being inextricably linked to the camera as a physical and photographic-based apparatus is highly questionable in the current era (indeed this issue will be specifically dealt with in subsequent chapters) the concept of cinema being inextricable from mechanical and technical construction of illusion is certainly difficult to question. So what we have is a distinct techno-cultural form whereby technology and culture, mechanics and aesthetics, are conjoined howwe make effecting whatwe make.. Similarly, whilst the visual and aural aesthetics of cinema may consistently vary and morph, the cinematic form itself remains rooted in technological components. What are the accepted techno-cultural pillars of cinema; those elements born of technology and technical process that dictate the cinematic experience?
There are essentially three key axioms that we might adopt from the outset from which to govern an understanding of the established and accepted modes of cinematic form as a technologically mediated process, experience and medium. These axioms are not gospel-like in their rigidity and the cannon of cinematic work is peppered with exceptions and fringe works that challenge such axioms. But they do, none the less, present, and are therefore useful as, guides for understanding the established patterns and dominant discourses of cinema; for it is these discourses that have served as the pillars for established cinematic theory over the past century mise-en-scene, montage, the role of the viewer and the role of the maker are all built from their accepted norms.
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