Re: [Frameworks] Avant-garde film, Facebook, and the nature of attention

From: John Matturri <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2011 20:27:47 -0400

I suspect that the relative lack of extended discussion on FB is a
matter of the comment form than anything else. As it migrates down the
page continued response becomes less likely. The clear distinction
between the head message and the comments may tend to inhibit the fluid
development of conversations, with the developments, digressions,
side-jokes, and the rest of the conversational devices that translate
into email lists but not comment-based social media.


On 6/14/11 7:08 PM, Brook Hinton wrote:
> For what its worth, most of those same students of mine who are
> email-averse not only have no trouble paying attention to the types of
> work Fred mentions, they seem to crave it, and are excited as well by
> challenging, slow and extreme-attention-requiring works of narrative
> cinema. But then I teach at an art school, which may skew the polling
> so to speak.
> Brook
> On Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 3:33 PM, David Tetzlaff <
> <>> wrote:
> > Are such works, and the ideas behind such works, becoming less and
> > less accessible to those weaned on Facebook and texting and Twitter?
> Well... yeah. I suppose the level of concentration required for
> full appreciation has always been a somewhat rare commodity,
> struggling not only against technology but a system of alienating
> wage labor that defines 'leisure' as time for escapist fun. But
> there's no doubt that info-bits are getting shorter, and
> expectations for brevity are raised. It seems people will read
> pages and pages of insipid one line posts in a web-forum, but if
> anyone posts line a WHOLE SUBSTANTIVE PARAGRAPH, they just get
> trashed with a dismissive TL:DR.
> > Will a new kind of art emerge from this culture of interruption and
> > inattention? Has it already?
> Again, yeah, though it may be hard to find amid the dross. I think
> Rick is on the right track in noting Haiku as a precedent. We
> might also think of graffiti or posters. Most of the little blurbs
> just flash on by, but some stay with with you. You can grasp the
> meaning of John Heartfield's 'Five Fingers' poster pretty quickly.
> But, for me anyway, that image has a lasting power. No reason the
> ephemeral products of the digital age couldn't work the same way.
> The examples Fred mentions are mostly 'challenging' works, that
> have no 'easy way in.' However, we are all familiar with artforms
> that have been around for some time (popular song, for example)
> that have 'layers'. That is, they're directly accessible and
> easily digestable at one level, but hint at something deeper, and
> open themselves up upon return visits. I don't really know Corey
> Archangel's work, but the profile in the recent New Yorker made it
> sound pretty interesting.
> I'm also not positive that art is necessarily dependent on the
> struggles of a mind in solitude - too much Romantic baggage there.
> I don't know if there is an art of the hive mind, or whether it
> would be worth anything if there were, but I'm not sure I want to
> rule out the possibility tout court.
> And finally, I don't know which postmodern exhibits Fred finds
> not-serious, too ammenable to distraction, etc. But a lot of PoMo
> has been unfairly trashed by critics who just didn't get it. That
> is, since PoMo often has a shiny, glittery surface, one can assume
> that's all there is - which may BE the case, or may not. To take
> an example from Hollywood film, I once heard a very prominent film
> scholar (someone whose work I respect very much) discuss 'Miller's
> Crossing' as a kind of 'pure cinema' that wasn't about anything
> but itself, that offered only exhileration in own mastery of style
> employed for the sake of style. Yet, every time I see the film, it
> gets deeper, more profound, more subtle, subverting it's own easy
> ironies. The opening sets the audience up to laugh at Johnny
> Casper's apparently ludicrous declaration that 'It's about
> ethics." But it is about ethics, and a lot more.
> Of course, that's still feature-length narrative cinema, not a
> viral YouTube video of yet another impossible basketball shot from
> Dude Perfect.
> Anyway, I worry less about the future of 'Art', than about the
> future of cinema. There is much art that rewards at a whole
> different level when it assumes a different scale, a different
> mode of attention. We keep hearing that the new generation is
> 'platform agnostic' and just as happy to watch a 'movie' on a big
> screen, on a flat-screen TV played from DVD, or streamed onto an
> iPhone. I'm sorry, you cannot watch Kubrick or Malick (much less
> 'The Great Art of Knowing' or 'Riddles of the Sphinx' or
> 'Skagafjördur') on a fricking iPhone!! And even if some new
> improbable Twitter-art takes it place, the replacement of cinemas
> by handheld devices is a sad, sad event.
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> --
> ____________________________
> Brook Hinton
> Moving Image and Sound Maker
> <>
> Associate Professor / Assistant Chair
> Film Program at CCA
> California College of the Arts
> <>
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Received on Tue Jun 14 2011 - 17:27:57 CDT