Symphony of the Digital City, and Other Metaphors: Ben Balcom’s Array (2013)Thu, Apr 28, 2022, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Jaimie Baron, Visiting Scholar
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The cinematic city symphony form emerged in the early 20th century as a response to both new representational technologies and transformed urban spaces. Dziga Vertov’s 1929 film Man with the Movie Camera, for one, self-reflexively documented a composite of Soviet cities, articulating the experience of the human body moving through and physically interacting with urban space. Nearly a century later, Ben Balcom’s digital video, Array, reflects a relation between human and urban space further transformed. Indeed, this video suggests that the human body has been removed from this relation, replaced by a disembodied, digitally mediated drift through urban cyberspace. This talk explores the question of whether such a drift can be considered a symphony or whether other metaphors might better describe our contemporary sense of the city as we encounter it primarily through screens and mapping software.
Jaimie Baron is a Professor of Film Studies at the University of Alberta. She is the author of The Archive Effect: Found Footage and the Audiovisual Experience of History (Routledge, 2014) and Reuse, Misuse, Abuse: The Ethics of Audiovisual Appropriation in the Digital Era (Rutgers, 2020) as well as many journal articles, book chapters, and reviews. She is the founder, director, and co-curator of the Festival of (In)appropriation, a yearly international festival of short experimental found footage films and videos. She is also a co-founder and co-editor of Docalogue, an online space for scholars and filmmakers to engage in conversations about contemporary documentary, and the Docalogue book series published by Routledge Press. She also recently co-edited a collection entitled Media Ventriloquism: How Audiovisual Technologies Transform the Voice-Body Relation (Oxford, 2021).
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