Bodil Marie Thomsen


The Faculty of Humanities

Department of Aesthetic Studies

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Bodil Marie Thomsen

The Virtual Spaces of Digital Media Related to Film, TV and Video

In virtual telepresence, the computer interface is capable of directly influencing reality and remediating cultural and aesthetic ideas about the body and spatiality. The film medium, as described by Gilles Deleuze and Lev Manovich, creates the perceptive preconditions for the computer’s dynamic and performative involvement of the viewer in the interface.

In this subproject a visual-aesthetic and media-philosophical concept of space-images will complement Deleuze’s taxonomy of film into movement-images and time-images. The concept will be analytically tested on the computer interface as well as on the image media (especially film) that aesthetically respond to this, in that the subproject, consistent with the main project, deals with the interface as a techno and media aesthetic that changes the entire notion of representation. The subproject involves the medium of TV and video as forerunners of the virtual space of the interface. The preconditions for telepresence to be remediated in the computer as an experience of spatial division or expansion are in the doubling of reality and the live transmission (TV) as well as in the physical proximity and real-time function (video). The leading question of the project will be whether the new dynamic or real-time screen is yet another reduction of the distance by which Walter Benjamin’s aura is defined, or whether the interface screen can be viewed as a new integration of the body, which has been neglected in perception theories and modernistic art in the twentieth century. The subproject should unfold on the background of analyses of various art videos that aesthetically activate the space (Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman, Dan Graham, Bill Viola, Douglas Gordon, Mona Hatoum, Stan Douglas, Pipilotti Rist and others), live TV transmissions that create real-time spatialities (the Olympics, the European Musical Contest), and films from the ‘90s that expand quantifiable space. The thesis is that the idea of representation is being broken down in favour of the event as the division of space in the interface is gradually starting to serve as an effective virtual framework for current media encounters.

In the computer’s (postmodern) interface, ‘image’ and ‘viewer’ interact through dynamic movements in relation to a virtual spatiality. The perceptual space described by Merleau-Ponty is transgressed both when we speak of the interface as the disintegration of the screen and when we speak of the interface as telepresence. The virtual space of the interface dynamically and continuously transforms spatiotemporal coordinates into current, useful forms rather than into (un)stable relations between subject and object. Event replaces representation. The subproject aims to describe “the virtual room” and “the event” through media-archaeological studies of selected art videos from 1963 and onward, live transmissions on TV from the 1970s and onward as well as in digitally manipulated film from 1990 and onward.

The research carried out in this project will contribute to a book project on Jean-Luc Godard’s and Lars von Trier’s revitalization of cinematic art.

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Revised 2010.02.17