Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Baudry and the Role of the Spectator/User

As technology has advanced, the role of the spectator has become that of the user. We have entered into an age where we no longer sit and absorb media/art exclusively but instead interact and "use" media. Baudry breaks down the role of media, projection, and the spectator's relation to both. He goes on to discuss the effects of concealing the technical base, editing together "slices of reality", and the problems posed by "the relation and restoration of continuity to discontinuous elements." (290) Yet, digital media has changed much of his argument (the images in digital film are continuous and don't subscribe to "frames per second", not to mention that the spectator now uses, and contributes to media.

Baudry also talks about how film can be seen as "instants of time or slices from 'reality' (but always a reality already worked upon, elaborated, selected)", how do video games which are interactive "second worlds" operate within Baudry's framework? Reality television?

1 comment:

M. Kirstin S. said...

In reading Baudry's article, I was reminded of a particular project that was presented in my Techniques of Surveillance class. The artist exhibited a "Second Life Intervention," adopting a female avatar who wore a blindfold. She then approached visibly male avatars whose status was away and invoked the following quotations:

"Supposing truth is a woman -- what then" - Friedrich Nietzsche

"There is no such thing as the truth of a woman, but it is because that 'non-truth' is 'truth'. Woman is but one name for the non-truth of truth." - Jacques Derrida


"The camera becomes the mechanism for producing an illusion of Renaissance space, flowing movements compatible with the human eye, an ideology of representation that revolves around the perception of the subject; the camera's look is disavowed in order to create a convincing world in which the spectator's surrogate can perform with verisimilitude." - Laura Mulvey

The quotations were followed by the performative utterance, ______ is here, inserting the username.

Playing on the irony of the user's absense, on the slumped, empty bodies that are leftover in the virutal world after their realworld creators/counterparts leave their computer screens, this project deftly plays with the presence/absence and truth/non-truth of virtual worlds using tropes of film theory. Like the 'online now' of my group's dating website presentation, the strategies of this second life intervention expose the displacement between real bodies and un-real online avatars.

The video can be seen here:

I'm wondering how this exercise also helps to expose some of the unreal aspects of virtual constructed worlds and their attempts to efface or, as the case may be, foreground, these inconsistencies. The video game/second life interfaces are littered with menus and buttons, multiple ways of communicating, etc. How do we learn to read these worlds and become literate of their languages and visual codes? I'm thinking in particular of loading screens and menus and how these problematize the unififying impulse of representation.