Fast Forward: The Future(s) of the Cinematic Arts

Half Life | Cloud Eye Control | 2015

For the last ten years or so, I’ve watched as my colleagues in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California have contributed to new forms of cinematic storytelling, from designing and giving away VR viewers to crafting forms of interactive architecture, from articulating new concepts such as transmedia storytelling to imagining new workflows, such as world building as a form of participatory, nonlinear narrative design.

I’ve chronicled these efforts, as well as an array of compelling hybrid artworks at the intersection of cinema and new media, in my book, Fast Forward: The Future(s) of the Cinematic Arts. The first chapter situates the book through the work of five artists deeply committed to the materiality of filmmaking, moving from the commitment to analog technologies exhibited by Tacita Dean on through the varied work of David Gatten, David O’Reilly, Marco Brambilla and Quayola. Chapter Two explores an array of new paradigms, including pre-viz, world building, transmedia storytelling and embodied storytelling. The next chapter explores live cinema through the work of Mia Makela, Miwa Matreyek, Cloud Eye Control, Mariano Pensotti and Jaine Geiser. Chapter Four is dedicated to urban screens and the concept of “screened urbanism,” with lots of attention to the work of Refik Anadol, while Chapter Five investigates the intersection of writing and cinema. The final chapter looks at virtual reality.

Written as both a report and a manifesto, the book offers a consideration of the post-cinematic, which, for me, brings the art and practice of crafting meaningful experiences of story, information and knowledge into attunement with contemporary culture. As we engage — and are engaged by — a networked culture, our post-cinematic artworks help bring to the fore the conditions of networked existence, too often occluded or ignored. They help call attention to the networked body, networked space, networked time and, in the gap between what was and what could be, invite agency and attention despite the disenfranchisement, distraction and amnesia of so much of contemporary culture.

The book was published by Wallflower Press/Columbia University Press, and is available here (use the FASFOR code to receive a 30% discount), or on Amazon.