Godard's 3D cinematic experiment

Goodbye to Language

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When 3D technology is deconstructed and used to define a visual narrative of social context, the outcome can be quite impressive.  Especially when it comes in a time where 3D in films seems only peripheral-although studios are still using the specific technology- and the audience seems incurious about it.

 In 2014, French  new wave director Jean Luc Godard continued his cinematic experiment by creating a 3D feature film collaborating with cinematographer Fabrice Aragno. Considering the ground-breaking work that Godard produced so far, he certainly managed to surprise the audience once again by incorporating 3D technology in the production of one of his latest films titled good bye to language. Godard and Aragno moved away from the 3D cinematography’s standard procedures by using unconventional methods from the film vocabulary. In relation to the plot, Godard creates another drama where a man, a woman and a dog, as a witness to their love story, are central to the narrative. 

 Focusing on existential and philosophical matters as he usually does, Godard documents the friction between the couple as part of a general human animosity. The merging of 3D-usually expected in an action film- with a film that emphasizes social and political issues is quite innovative as it is. Godard shows no interest in using the 3D technology to create another cinematic spectacle, unlike the conventional cinematic way. He engages with the technology from the point of view of an artist. Just like a painter he creates graphic visuals of nature and human nakedness enhanced with glorious colours.

Almost like being the Monet of the digital age, by mixing multi-layered effects he presents these amalgamated images of colour and form demonstrating an almost impressionist world. A highlight of the use of 3D stereoscopy technology comes when the director accents the quarrel that is pushing the couple apart, by splitting the 3D image in the screen, in a way that each of the spectator’s eyes focuses on a different lover.

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Aragno, in order to achieve the desired result, he made modifications in the devices by customizing his own camera rigs. In this way he would avoid the technologically intended 3D image. By using 2 cameras rigged together but still enough centimetres apart, he would achieve more 3D depth than a typical rig could offer.

 Throughout the film Godard shows the intention to re-examine the cinematic technology while being in a playful but thoughtful mood.

At the age of 83, he continues to discard the mechanism and the intension that links the 3D technology to Hollywood industry. Instead he is adopting the ‘hi-tech’ ways of contemporary cinema in order to create an ‘imperfect’ visual narrative.  As Andrew Utterson described it Godard ‘demonstrates an approach to technology that customizes, deconstructs, and otherwise scrutinizes a range of consumer as well as prosumer digital imaging and recording devices’ (Utterson, 2017)

For Godard the discovery of new aesthetics relays on the reconstruction as well as the redefinition of the existing technologies.

Considering Godard’s work ethics and philosophy over the years, it is unlikely that he would settled for something less than an unconventional approach.

 

 

The New Language of Cinema

We see the emergence of new cinematic forms that are not linear narratives, that are exhibited on a television or computer screen rather than in movie theater (Lev Manovich, 2001)

The Music Video

 

CATALOG

a database of effects

by John Whitney

(1961)

One is tempted to read Catalogue as one of the founding moments of new media (Lev Manovich 2001)

 

HOLOGRAMS

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Holograms in Pop Music: Social Impacts

 

The rapid development of digital technologies brings the relationship between the human and the machine under the scope of constant observation and redefinition. A hologram is another form of technological expansion achieving popularity in a fast-digitalized world.

 Following the technological advances and the experiment with new materials, holograms have been evolved and found their use as essential tools in different domains. In medicine the use of MIR (magnetic resonance imaging) and Xray technology, in army services, the military mapping is the use of holographic maps useful for training, evacuation and rescue missions and concerning security the use of holograms on credit cards and bank notes confirms the authenticity of the products. Moreover, in the broad field of visual arts, a significant number of artists are involved in creative holography.

 However, it seems that holograms became widely known primarily for their use in the entertainment industry, appearing in films, video games and recently in popular music where we watched many holograms of alive musicians performing on stages from Gorillaz to Maria Carey and Mia to Rihanna.

Considering the new reality created by the vast exchange of information that internet generated, Crypton Media, a Japanese media company in 2007, created a virtual doll named Hatsune Miku that sings using Vocaloid software technology. Initially, it was intended to be a tool for any user who would like to make his/her music and have the song performed by the icon of the software, Miku. The idea was to encourage the amateur user to engage in music production, to become both the consumer and the creator.  There are no restrictions in the licensing of Miku and in this way anybody is free to experiment with her voice her design and appearance as long as it is not for commercial gain (Itoh, 2016). The digitized 16-year-old girl achieved worldwide success, had appeared ‘live' in her concerts, as an opening act to Lady GaGa’s ArtPop Ball tour and Dave Letterman's Late Show.

Even though we are all accustomed to the advanced technology of virtual reality, a digitized image that entered our lives in the recent music history was of significant importance as it initiated the wave of music holograms to follow and raised questions related to the meaning of human existence.

 Tupac Shakur a well-known rapper and activist murdered in 1996, was digitally resurrected in order to appear in 2012 Coachella music festival in a duet with long-time friend singer and musician Snoop Dog. The prospect that technology can recreate the image of a dead person that moves and sings is both overwhelming and terrifying. It challenges our perception of reality while it generates inquiries about the temporary and the eternal, life and death. On the thousands of viewers who experienced it via YouTube channel surely did not have the same effect as on the ones who were actually at the concert witnessing the spectacle as a ‘live’ event. According to British author, Ken McLeod holograms can be recognized as ‘spiritual entities’ that emotionally charge the audience with the spiritual co-presence of an absent performer. (Mc Keod, 2016). The absence particularly identifies with Tupac’s case as he is permanently gone. Undoubtedly his hologram stirred up many emotions provoking controversial reactions from the audience. For many, it was a ‘mind-blowing' and ‘unbelievable’ experience. For others, it brought about a feeling of fear based on the fact that technology is pushing the boundaries between the real and virtual beyond human comprehension and the ability to adjust. Moreover, it raised questions about the ethos and the intentions behind the creation of Tupac's hologram as it transformed the deceased artist in a branded product with a substantial financial profit.

Nevertheless, whichever the outcome, the presence of the digitally fabricated image of the dead rapper emphasized the absence of human presence. A fact that leads to the belief that even in today’s established digital network society the human life is of unlimited value.

 

Notes

 1.Software for the artificial regeneration of speech.

 

  List of sources

 McLeod, K. (2016) Living in the Immaterial World: Holograms and Spirituality in Recent Popular Music, Popular Music and Society, 39:5, 501-515, DOI: 10.108/03007766.2015.1065624 [ Accessed 4 March 2019].

 Lord, A.(2018) What Do Holographic Popstars Mean For The Music Industry. I-D. Vice.Available from  https://i-d.vice.com/en_uk/article/wjkjvw/what-do-holographic-popstars-mean-for-the-music-industry[ Accessed 4 March 2019]

 Itoh, H. (2016) Meet Hatsune Miku the Japanese Pop Star Hologram. Interviewed by Emilia Petrarca for W Magazine, 30 May. Available at: https://www.wmagazine.com/story/hatsune-miku-crypton-future[Accessed 4 March 2019]

 Pepper, A. (2017) Five Surprising ways Holograms are Revolutionising the World. The Conversation. Available from https://theconversation.com/five-surprising-ways-holograms-are-revolutionising-the-world-77886. [Accessed 4 March 2019]

 

Videos

 Westfesttv (2012). Tupac Hologram Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre Perform Coachella Live2012. YouTube. Available from  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGbrFmPBV0Y [Accessed 4 March 2019]

Darth Revan Piece Is A Lie (2016). Hatsune Miku Sharing the World David Letterman HD. YouTube.Availbale from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtEREVFSEDI [Accessed 4 March 2019]

 Dorian Orange. (2014) M.I.A. & Janelle Monae Hologram Performance. YouTube Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LylOt5SoidY [Accessed 4 March 2019 ]