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Title: Rupture and recuperation : technological traces in digital narrative cinema
Author: Barton, Joseph Frank
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 4874
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2015
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In this thesis I analyse visual traces of digital technologies in narrative cinema as a way of exploring broader questions about the medium and the cultural status of its technological constituents. In so doing, I not only identify a number of areas of filmmaking that are currently under-researched or overlooked, but move the focus away from the questions of what digitisation means for cinema’s ‘identity’, and towards a consideration of how the implications of digitisation are at once exaggerated in rhetoric and tempered in practice by aesthetic, ideological, and economic factors. To do this, I focus on recent narrative films (1998-2013) in which digital filmmaking technologies are themselves salient features of the cinematic image. I argue that initial appearances of these digital traces are presented and received as disruptive, in that they appear to symbolise both a break with the ontological assumptions of cinema, and the potential to re-imagine the very notion of the medium itself. However, I demonstrate how each of these disruptions are, to differing extents, soon absorbed into the conventional formal structures of narrative cinema, such that their ultimate effect on the medium is to broaden its stylistic palate rather than to radically transform its identity. In so doing, I make four main scholarly contributions. Firstly, I provide an account of digital cinema contextualised in relation to the broader use of digital image technologies over this time period. Secondly, I use the technological trace as a locus for exploring intersections of aesthetic, ideological, and industrial factors in the production of these films. Thirdly, I temper hyperbolic reactions to digitisation by stressing continuities with, and echoes of, the history of analogue narrative cinema. Finally, I demonstrate how digital ontologies are shaped by popular discourses, and how these reinforce, qualify, and in some instances, contest, existing scholarly debate.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available