A Spectral Viewer
A short found-footage video made while exploring some themes related to media in the context of contemporary conflicts. A Spectral Viewer came out of research earlier this year as well as workshops with the research group Laboratorio Historia(s) de la Experimantación en el Cine at Santa Monica arts centre, Barcelona, and builds on some of the themes of my previous work, “Welcome, Visitors”.
Second order realism — fascism in anime — “Hammerspace” — cinema’s ever-more tenuous connection to the pro-filmic — the collapsing boundaries between various forms of visual media (film, animation, documentary, the news, games), and the distinct rules of realism they employ becoming intermingled — Reality is no longer the referent of realism — the proliferation of screens allows for decontextualising realisms — hyperreality confuses the edge of the screen — almost anything can be the screen, even the landscape itself — forensic architecture built from hidden screens, recording — games confused for real wartime events — real horror of war cut down to one-minute videos for easy sharing, digesting, and excreting — the news comes from the mouth of an AI — dystopian sci-fi may be easy, but they really are fighting over water, energy, resources — online fetishisation of high-tech war machinery — can’t tell the verité from the CGI — viewing the catastrophe from a distance, the alien eye of the drone offers a detached, visceral voyeurism —
Image and audio processing, sound design, and editing by David Franklin.
A Spectral Viewer was first presented publicly at Santa Monica arts centre, Barcelona, July 2022.
Bibliography and further reading:
— Azuma, Hiroki. “The Animalization of Otaku Culture”, Mechademia: Second Arc, Vol. 2, University of Minnesota Press, 2007. pp. 175-187
— Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation, The University of Michigan Press, 1994.
— Beckman, Karen. “Animating Film Theory: An Introduction”, Animating Film Theory, edited by Beckman, Karen, Duke University Press, 2014.
— Bois, Yve-Alain, Michel Feher, Hal Foster, and Eyal Weizman. “On Forensic Architecture: A Conversation with Eyal Weizman”, October Magazine, Vol. 156, 2016. pp. 116–140
— Bruno, Giuliana. “Visual Studies: Four Takes on Spatial Turns”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 65, No. 1,University of California Press, 2006. pp. 23-24
— Bruno, Giuliana. Surface. Matters of aesthetics, materiality, and media, The University of Chicago Press, 2014.
— Bukatman, Scott. “Some Observations Pertaining to Cartoon Physics; or, The Cartoon Cat in the Machine”, Animating Film Theory, edited by Beckman, Karen, Duke University Press, 2014. pp. 301-16
— Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle, the Bureau of Public Secrets, 2014.
— Herhuth, Eric. “Political Animation and Propaganda”, The Animation Studies Reader, edited by Dobson, Nichola et al, Bloomsbury, 2019.
— Jones, Mike. “Vanishing Point: Spatial Composition and the Virtual Camera”, Animation: an interdisciplinary journal, Vol. 2 (3), 2007. pp. 225–243
— Lamar, Thomas. “Preface: WAR/TIME”, Mechademia: Second Arc, Vol. 4, University of Minnesota Press, 2009. pp. ix-xiv
— Leslie, Esther, and Joel McKim. “Life Remade: Critical Animation in the Digital Age”, Animation: an interdisciplinary journal, Vol. 12 (3), 2017. pp. 207–213
— Manning, Paul. “Can the Avatar Speak?”, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Vol. 19, No. 2, Wiley, 2009. pp. 310-325
— McCrea, Christian. “Explosive, Expulsive, Extraordinary: The Dimensional Excess of Animated Bodies”, Animation: an interdisciplinary journal, Vol. 3 (1), 2008. pp. 9–24
— McKim, Joel. “Speculative Animation: Digital Projections of Urban Past and Future”, Animation: an interdisciplinary journal, Vol. 12 (3), 2017. pp. 287–305
— Mihailova, Mihaela. “Realism and Animation”, The Animation Studies Reader, edited by Dobson, Nichola et al, Bloomsbury, 2019. pp. 47-57
— Munteán, László. “Droning Syria: The Aerial View and the New Aesthetics of Urban Ruination”, Visualizing the Street: New Practices of Documenting, Navigating and Imagining the City, edited by Pedram Dibazar and Judith Naeff, Amsterdam University Press, 2018.
— Murphy, Amy. “Future Traditions of Nature”, Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2009. pp. 7-20
— Ōtsuka, Eiji. “World and Variation: The Reproduction and Consumption of Narrative”, Mechademia: Second Arc, Vol. 5, University of Minnesota Press, 2010. pp. 99-116
— Ōtsuka, Eiji. “An Unholy Alliance of Eisenstein and Disney: The Fascist Origins of Otaku Culture”, Mechademia, Vol. 8, University of Minnesota Press, 2013. pp. 251-277
— Peters, John Durham. “The Charge of a Light Barricade: Optics and Ballistics in the Ambiguous Being of Screens”, Screen Genealogies: From Optical Device to Environmental Medium, edited by Craig Buckley, Rüdiger Campe and Francesco Casetti, Amsterdam University Press, 2019. pp. 215-235
— Steinberg, Marc. “Realism in the Animation Media Environment: Animation Theory from Japan”, Animating Film Theory, edited by Beckman, Karen, Duke University Press, 2014. pp 287-300
— Silvio, Teri. “Animation: The New Performance?”, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Vol. 20 No. 2, Wiley, 2010 pp. 422-438
— Virilio, Paul. The Vision Machine, British Film Institute / Indiana University Press, 1994.
In addition to videos from various corners of the internet, this work contains footage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (taken from the early days of the war, spring 2022) from news agencies and anonymous sources.
Additional works include:
— Biblically Accurate Angels, animations by Alex Howard, 2022.
— Fast and Furry-ous, directed by Charles M. Jones, Warner Bros., 1948.
— Knights of Sidonia / Shidonia no Kishi, directed by Kōbun Shizuno, Polygon Pictures, 2014.
— Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01, directed by Shinji Aramaki, AIC, 1987.
— MiG-29 and Attack Helicopter shot down by C-Ram and AA Missile – Military Simulation – ArmA 3, by Compared Comparison, 2022.
— Neon Genesis Evangelion / Shinseiki Evangerion, directed by Hideaki Anno, Gainax, 1995.
— Out of Spec (A Star Wars porn animation), animation by SelfDrillingSMS, 2018.
— Water, Water Every Hare, directed by Charles M. Jones, Warner Bros., 1952.
This is a found-footage work. All rights remain with the original authors of the source material used in constructing this video.