Issue cover
33: New visual narratives

No. 33: New Visual Narratives

Managing editors: Krzysztof Pijarski, Katarzyna Bojarska

First presentation of the VR experience Control Negative by Monika Masłoń, Lodz Film School. Photo: Magdalena Wołowska

This issue was financed under the Ministry of Education and Science program within the framework of the “Regional Initiative of Excellence” for the years 2019-2022, project number 023/RID/2018/19, funding sum PLN 11 865 100

Table of Contents

Introduction

  1. New Visual Narratives

    ”New Visual Narratives”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/33-new-visual-narratives/new-visual-narratives

    Introduction to the issue on new visual narratives.

    keywords: visual narrative; digital experience; virtual reality; technology; visual culture

Closeup

  1. Things to Come: The Possible Futures of Documentary... From a Historical Perspective

    William Uricchio, ”Things to Come”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/33-nowe-narracje-wizualne/to-co-nadejdzie

    In this article, the author argues that in order to envision the future of documentary forms of storytelling, one must not only follow the latest trends in visual culture, but also re-read its history. Assessing what is truly new and groundbreaking today and what merely continues old narrative forms depends on how we read and where we locate the genesis of contemporary narrative canons. The author looks at the history of defining the concept of documentary and traces its theoretical implications. He also traces the original forms of remix as well as the past and present of experiments with interactivity. He also reflects on the possibilities and limitations of algorithms in preparing what he calls a personalized documentary.

    keywords: documentary; remix; interactivity; algorithm; personalized documentary

  2. Spaceline: A Montage Concept for Cinematic VR

    Sylvia Rothe, ”Spaceline: A Montage Concept for Cinematic VR”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/33-new-visual-narratives/spaceline-a-montage-concept-for-cinematic-vr

    Most people who come for the first time into contact with Virtual Reality (VR) are fascinated by the new world of experience. The feeling of being in a different place, right in the middle of the action, far from reality, impresses and gives the opportunity to immerse in another world. This world can be a computer-generated 3D world or an omnidirectional movie recorded by cameras. Watching omnidirectional movies via head-mounted displays puts the viewer inside the scene. In this way, the viewer enjoys an immersive movie experience. However, due to the free choice of field of view, it is possible to miss details which are important for the story. On the other hand, the additional space component gives the filmmakers new opportunities to construct stories. Cuts do not necessarily have to depend on the elapsed time, but can also be based on the viewer's gaze. To support filmmakers and viewers, we introduce the concept of a spaceline (named in analogy to the traditional timeline) which connects movie sequences via interactive regions. This work explains the terms of this concept and introduces various methods that make it easier for the viewer to follow the story, at their own pace with their own focus.

    keywords: virtual reality; VR; film; montage; camera

  3. Being Somebody Else: The Future of Narrative Storytelling

    Domna Banakou, Christos Hadjipanayi, ”Being Somebody Else”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/33-new-visual-narratives/being-somebody-else

    The authors discuss virtual reality (VR) in relation to its characterisation as the “ultimate empathy machine” that allows passive spectators of fictional or non-fictional narratives to become active agents of unfolding events. They concentrate on how the change in the form of the narrative through immersive VR impacts the audience, stressing the difference between the position of the spectator in an ongoing storyline and being a spectator engaged with elements of the story’s narrative. The possibility of acting on behalf of the Other can activate empathic responses, which in turn may lead to a more direct integration of the characters’ perspectives into the life experience of the VR user. The authors relate to several experiments and offer their conlusions.

    keywords: virtual reality; empathy; immersive systems; simulation

  4. (How) Should We Measure Art?

    Grzegorz Pochwatko, ”(How) Should We Measure Art? ”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/33-new-visual-narratives/how-to-measure-art

    Art and science are two worlds that are difficult to connect. Those who have tried know that they have a lot to offer each other. Psychology and psychophysiology are usually associated with simple, repetitive procedures and simple stimuli. In the world of VR art, "a lot is happening". This study describes attempts to apply research methods used by psychologists to the comprehensive and fragmentary evaluation of VR movies and computer-generated interactive environments. The paper presents exemplary analyzes of psychophysiological signals, eye movement, participants' mobility and their movement in space. They allow for inference about the reactions of the autonomic nervous system, arousal, emotions and attention in response to art. They can be used by creators to consciously manage the sensations and reactions of participants in VR experiences.

    keywords: cinematic VR; narration in VR; methodology of research; attention and emotions; stimulation, AUN response

  5. Do Cyborgs Dream of iPhone Apps? The Body and Storytelling in the Digital Imaginary

    Illya Szilak, ”Do Cyborgs Dream of iPhone Apps?”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/33-nowe-narracje-wizualne/czy-cyborgi-snia-o-aplikacjach-iphonea

    Polish translation Illya Shilak's paper "Do Cyborgs Dream of Iphona Apps? The Body and Storytelling in the Digital Imaginary" from the volume "The Digital Imaginary. Literature and Cinema of the Database" (2019) edited by Roderick Coover, Bloomsbury Academic, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.  Used by kind permission.

    keywords: digital; visual; data base; cybrorg

Viewpoint

  1. Control Negative

    Monika Masłoń, ”Control Negative”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/33-new-visual-narratives/kopia-control-negative

    Control Negative is an exercise in loss. Using the techniques of VR, Monika Masłoń tries to situate the viewer in an emotional state where frustration, helplessness, anger, and sadness are able to reveal basic human assumptions, especially the conviction of being fully in control of one's own life. The unreal world of the experience — a negative version of the real world — is a training space where you can better understand yourself and your emotions. The user is guided through seven chapters, which gradually move from physical activity to contemplation.

  2. This is Major Tom to Ground Control: On Control Negative, a VR installation by Monika Masłoń

    Anna Ptak, ”This is Major Tom to Ground Control”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/en/archive/33-new-visual-narratives/this-is-major-tom-to-ground-control

    Critical commntary on the VR project Control Negative by Monika Masłoń.

    keywords: VR; control; body; experience; loss

Panorama

  1. On Photography’s Liquidity, or, (New) Spaces for (New) Publics?

    Krzysztof Pijarski, ”On Photography’s Liquidity”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/33-nowe-narracje-wizualne/o-plynnosc-fotografii

    The text aims to propose the “digital publication” as another – besides the exhibition and the book – fully acknowledged form of presenting ambitious photography in contemporary culture; photography understood primarily as a tool of communication, as a basic building block of the contemporary visual public sphere, as a visual form of thinking, feeling, acting. To this end, the essay reconstructs, in the author's opinion, the key moments that, in the last decade or so, made it possible to conceive of a digital publication understood in this way.

    keywords: digital publication; photography; digital culture; vnLab

  2. Practices of Seeing as Practices of Knowledge in the Era of Digital Technologies. The Mediation of Experience in David Cronenberg's Novel "Consumed"

    Małgorzata Sugiera, ”Practices of Seeing as Practices of Knowledge”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/33-nowe-narracje-wizualne/praktyki-widzenia-jako-praktyki-poznania

    The article looks closely at David Cronenberg’s Consumed (2014), a first venture of the well-known Canadian film director and screenwriter onto the field of literature, to revisit the paradigmatic for the Western episteme entanglement of regimes of seeing and practices of knowing. In the last two decades the entanglement became once again a center of scholarly and political interest for at least twofold reason: 1) a rather unexpected convergence of two distinctive epistemic cultures—microbiology and entertainment—which use the same CGI animation programs as demonstrated in Adam Nocek’s Molecular Capture (2021); 2) a recent hiperconsumerist phase in neoliberal capitalism’s development which the Tijuana activist intellectual Sayak Valencia calls Gore Capitalism in her eponymous, decolonial, feminist philosophical essay (2018). Both approaches allow for a new reading of Cronenberg’s literary fiction which focuses on how various technologies (writing, photography, social media) as well as perceptual and narrative conventions mediate human experiences, understood not only as cognitive but also affective practices. Such reading demonstrates that new digital technologies produce augmented and virtual realities so tightly entangled in the web of our corporeal experiences that it calls for a new/deeply-modified definition of the naturalized, prototypically theatrical way of perceiving and knowing the world.

    keywords: David Cronenberg’s Consumed; regimes of seeing; practices of knowing; CGI technologies; Gore Capitalism; technologically mediated experience

  3. Generative Film. Autonomy in the Art of the Moving Image

    Filip Gabriel Pudło, ”Generative Film. Autonomy in the Art of the Moving Image”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/33-nowe-narracje-wizualne/film-generatywny.-autonomia-w-sztuce-ruchomego-obrazu

    This article is devoted to the concept of generative film, which is a special, but niche, area of generative art. The aim of the text is to touch on the rarely analyzed threads of autonomy in generative film art and to try to comprehensively look at various examples of film works in this area. These tasks are aimed at identifying forms, artistic strategies, motivations and recurring threads in the area of autonomous forms of a moving image, as well as verification of the assumption that puts autonomy at the center of considerations on the concept of generative art in the field of film.

    keywords: generative film; generative art; autonomy

  4. Miquela vs. Real Life. What Do Virtual Influencers Want?

    Piotr Fortuna, ”Miquela vs. Real Life.”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/33-nowe-narracje-wizualne/miquela-versus-real-life

    Using Lil Miquela as an example, the author analyzes the phenomenon of virtual influencers, i.e. computer-created characters who imitate the actions of real characters: they compete for the attention of Instagram users, interact, sign advertising contracts, etc. Virtual influencers enjoy little popularity among female viewers and do not threaten the position of "real" instagrammers. Using the concept of W.J.T. Mitchell, the author wonders what virtual influencers, who, contrary to many suggestions, are not robots after all, but only images, want. What lacks bother them the most, what is the source of their weakness, a barrier to action? Author analyzes posts, testimonials, interviews, ads, etc. her pursuit of authenticity and "real life," which - according to the meme "Instagram vs Real Life" - is admittedly considered the opposite of Instagram's visuality, but is also a fetish, an object of desire, a condition for users' emotional involvement.

    keywords: influencer; robot; image; Instagram; emotions

  5. "Hologram" of the Survivor. Recognition

    Sylwia Papier, ”"Hologram" of the Survivor. Recognition”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/33-nowe-narracje-wizualne/hologram-ocalalego.-rozpoznanie

    The aim of the article is to present and analyze the USC Shoah Foundation Dimensions in Testimony project, launched in 2012. It is an initiative aimed at registering survivors in the form of 3D holograms, and the first such interactive question and answer program used in the narrative of the Holocaust. In this article I look at the origins and operation of such a hologram and consider it as 1. Prosthetic object; 2. Medium of the prosthetic memory; 3. Implant; 4. Placeholder. On the one hand, a hologram a technological extension of human physical presence in a new technical form, and on the other it serves as a tool for communicating history. Thus, it is a new way of visual presentation of survivors, encoding information, the experience of the past – a modern prosthesis of the survivor's memory.

    keywords: hologram; Holocaust survivor; testimony; prosthetic object; memory

Snapshots

  1. The Spectacle of Integration

    Agnieszka Jakimiak, ”The Spectacle of Integration”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/33-nowe-narracje-wizualne/spektakl-integracji

    A review of two films by Julia Ducournau – Raw (2016) and Titane (2021) – deconstructing the "New French Extremity" label that critic James Quandt has pinned on a heterogeneous group of French filmmakers.  

  2. Is it Possible to Be a Cow? Why VR is Not an Empathy Machine

    Michał Matuszewski, ”Is it Possible to Be a Cow?”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/33-nowe-narracje-wizualne/czy-mozna-byc-krowa

    A critical discussion of Jeremy Bailenson's book entitled Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do

    keywords: virtual reality; VR; empathy; Jeremy Bailenson; medium

  3. Reading of the Tribute. Randomness and Purposefulness of Looking

    Natalia Judzińska, ”Reading of the Tribute”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 33 (2022), https://www.pismowidok.org/pl/archiwum/33-nowe-narracje-wizualne/odczytywanie-holdu

    A review of the exhibition: Natalia Romik, Hideouts. The Architecture of Survival, curators: Stanisław Ruksza, Kuba Szreder, collaboration: Aleksandra Janusz, 31.03-17.07.2022.

    keywords: hideouts; architecture; Shoah