Re: labels

From: Michael Betancourt (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Jun 29 2006 - 13:55:13 PDT

I agree with all of this:

On 6/29/06, Mitsu Hadeishi <email suppressed> wrote:
> Obviously there are people who are wedded to film as a medium, and no
> amount
> of discussion will change that. However, the world moves on. The fact
> is,
> the word "film" is used all the time to refer to HD productions; my friend
> Miranda July for example released her film to theaters, but in some venues
> it
> was projected digitally (including at IFC and at Sundance), and just
> because
> in those cases it was produced and projected digitally, it would have
> sounded
> ridiculous to call it a "video".
> Human beings decide what words mean through usage, and the general public
> and
> common sense usage seem to agree that the word "film" can be used for
> all-digital productions that are projected digitally as long as it is
> reasonably high resolution and decent contrast, etc. It's just the way
> the
> word is already being used, whether we like it or not.
> I don't think there's going to be much confusion --- context will
> generally
> make it clear whether you're using the word "film" to mean specifically
> the
> celluloid medium, or whether you're using it more generically. The fact
> is,
> after most production goes digital people will still be calling it "the
> film
> industry" and the things that are being produced "films". That's the way
> language works, the original inspiration for the word can become obsolete
> but
> the word lives on in a new context.
> And I think there's nothing whatever wrong with that.

Languages evolve and meanings change.
Wanting to tie the language down and stop it changing is really only good
for archivists, and my feeling is that this mentality is counter-productive
for us as a community. Either "experimental (fill-in your favorite term)
film" constitutes a tradition that exceeds the materials of its
production/presentation, or it dies and "video art" and that tradition (in
some ways similar, in others not) replaces it.

We've talked about this before, which is why I asked the "values" question.

Michael Betancourt
Des Moines, IA USA
the avant-garde film & video blog

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.