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April 22, 2006

Saturday Afternoon Media Links

Just a couple of links I don't want to lose: first, via Steven Berlin Johnson, Dan Hill's fascinating blog post arguing that Lost is genuinely new media. I've been thinking about, writing about, and theorizing new media a lot this week and Dan's post about Lost and the fan cultures it has inspired cut through many of the poblems I've been trying to address. In particular, I've been thinking about Fredric Jameson's discussion of what he calls the "volatilization of the individual work of art or text" in "Symptoms of/for Theory" (Jameson's notion of volatilization is not unlike what Nick refers to as "incompleteness"). Jaemson proceeds to argue that "it is now the cultural production process (and its relation to our peculiar social formation) that is the object of study and no longer the individual masterpiece. This shifts our methodological practice (or rather the most nteresting theoretical problems we have to raise) from an individual textual analysis to what I will call mode-of-production analysis" (408).* The approach imagined by Jameson is certainly consistent with what I regard to be the most productive work in media studies that focus on artistic and cultural production rather than the individual work, and Lost, with its multiple layers of cultural production (individual episodes, the show's official website, as well as "unofficial" productions such as blog analyses), provides but one interesting case study. I'm deep in the middle of some last-minute writing, not to mention grading and final exam prep, or I'd have more to say about this topic.

Also via Green Cine, this interesting contest sponsored by security expert Bruce Schneier calling for readers to "submit the most unlikely, yet still plausible, terrorist attack scenarios they can come up with." As Schneier points out, audiences are fascinated by "movie-plot threats," although homeland security experts might be advised to focus their energies on intelligence and investigation rather than preparing for the next movie-plot terrorist threat.

Finally, I caught Taiwanese filmmaker Hsiao-hsien Hou's Three Times at Filmfest DC and deeply enjoyed it, although I'm not prepared to write a full review. The basics: the film tells three love stories, one set in 1966, one in 1911, and a third in 2005, with two actors playing the main characters in all three stories. James Berardinelli's review of the film is quite good, so I'll defer to him for now.

Update: The blog world comes full circle. Via a commenter on Pharyngula, an article about the guy who created the George Bush Imagine video I mentioned the other day.

Update 2: Elbert Ventura's review of Three Times captures much of what I liked about the film. If I have time, I may write something longer in response to his comments. In particular, I like his reading of the film's use of "silent film" techniques during the film's second section, which was set in 1911, and the failures of communication (suggested by unreturned phone calls and incomplete text messages) in the contemporary segment. He also mentions the good news that Three Times will receive all well-deserved US release.

* Critical Inquiry 30 (Winter 2004) 403-08.

Posted by chuck at April 22, 2006 3:58 PM

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