Since the beginning of the conflict in 2003, more than 300,000 lives have been lost in Darfur. Players of the video game Darfur Is Dying learn this sobering fact and more as they work to ensure the survival of a virtual refugee camp. The video game not only puts players in the position of a struggling refugee, it shows them how they can take action in the real world.
Creating the Witness examines the role of film and the Internet in creating virtual witnesses to genocide over the last one hundred years. The book asks, how do visual media work to produce witnesses—audiences who are drawn into action? The argument is a detailed critique of the notion that there is a seamless trajectory from observing an atrocity to acting in order to intervene. According to Leshu Torchin, it is not enough to have a camera; images of genocide require an ideological framework to reinforce the messages the images are meant to convey. Torchin presents wide-ranging examples of witnessing and genocide, including the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust (engaging film as witness in the context of the Nuremburg trials), and the international human rights organization WITNESS and its sustained efforts to use video to publicize human rights advocacy and compel action.
From a historical and comparative approach, Torchin’s broad survey of media and the social practices around it investigates the development of popular understandings of genocide to achieve recognition and response—both political and judicial—ultimately calling on viewers to act on behalf of human rights.
In the first decade of the twenty-first century, video games are an integral part of global media culture, rivaling Hollywood in revenue and influence. No longer confined to a subculture of adolescent males, video games today are played by adults around the world. At the same time, video games have become major sites of corporate exploitation and military recruitment.
In Games of Empire, Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter offer a radical political critique of such video games and virtual environments as Second Life, World of Warcraft, and Grand Theft Auto, analyzing them as the exemplary media of Empire, the twenty-first-century hypercapitalist complex theorized by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. The authors trace the ascent of virtual gaming, assess its impact on creators and players alike, and delineate the relationships between games and reality, body and avatar, screen and street.
Games of Empire forcefully connects video games to real-world concerns about globalization, militarism, and exploitation, from the horrors of African mines and Indian e-waste sites that underlie the entire industry, the role of labor in commercial game development, and the synergy between military simulation software and the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan exemplified by Full Spectrum Warrior to the substantial virtual economies surrounding World of Warcraft, the urban neoliberalism made playable in Grand Theft Auto, and the emergence of an alternative game culture through activist games and open-source game development.
Rejecting both moral panic and glib enthusiasm, Games of Empire demonstrates how virtual games crystallize the cultural, political, and economic forces of global capital, while also providing a means of resisting them.
Phenomenology’s Material Presence draws on recent work in phenomenology, embodiment, and cinema and extends the field by examining metaphysical presence in postcolonial cinema. Where other scholarship has assimilated insight from individual phenomenological thinkers, Phenomenology’s Material Presence utilizes the methods of these thinkers—Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty—to produce a richly textured and poetic essay that brings them into conversation. Through a meditation on three experimental videos by Trinidadian filmmaker Robert Yao Ramesar, this book makes the case that video performs an act of phenomenological inquiry. Phenomenology’s Material Presence extends our theorizing in both film studies and philosophy.
The essays in this collection provide a variety of perspectives on black representation and questions of racial authenticity in mainstream as well as African American independent cinema. This volume includes seminal essays on racial stereotypes, trenchant critiques of that discourse, original essays on important directors such as Haile Gerima and Charles Burnett, and an insightful discussion of black gay and lesbian film and video.
The contributors include Donald Bogle, Thomas Cripps, Jane Gaines, Nathan Grant, Stuart Hall, Tommy L. Lott, Wahneema Lubiano, Mike Murashige, Valerie Smith, James Snead, and David Van Leer. This volume is an important contribution to the Depth of Field series and should be indispensible for courses and individual scholars in film and multicultural studies. The book contains a mix of original and previously published pieces.
Resolutions 3 explores the wide-ranging implications of video art and video-based production in contemporary media culture. It is the third volume in a series composed of Resolution: A Critique of Video Art (1986) and Resolutions: Contemporary Video Practices (1996). While Resolution was one of the first critical texts on video art in the United States, Resolutions was one of the first books to address video as a medium across disciplines from theoretical, activist, and transnational perspectives.
Resolutions 3 articulates this legacy as a challenge to reengage with the explosive viral reach of moving image–based content and its infiltration into and impact on culture and everyday life. The contributors to this work analyze what is now a fourth decade of video practices as marked within and outside the margins of art production, networked interventions, projected spectacle, museum entombment, or 24/7 streaming. Intending to broaden, contest, and amplify the mediated space that was defined by its two predecessors, this volume investigates the ever-changing state of video’s deployment as examiner, tool, journal reportage, improvisation, witness, riff, leverage, and document.
Contributors: Kathleen Ash-Milby, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian; Myriam-Odile Blin, Rouen U, France; Nancy Buchanan, California Institute of the Arts; Derek A. Burrill, U of California, Riverside; Sean Cubitt, U of Melbourne; Faisal Devji, New York U; Jennifer Doyle, U of California, Riverside; Jennifer Friedlander, Pomona College; Kathy High, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Lucas Hilderbrand, U of California, Irvine; Nguyen Tan Hoang, Bryn Mawr College; Kathy Rae Huffman; Amelia Jones, McGill U; David Joselit, Yale U; Alexandra Juhasz, Pitzer College; Jessica Lawless, Santa Fe Community College; Hea Jeong Lee; Jesse Lerner, Pitzer College; Akira Mizuta Lippit, U of Southern California; Lionel Manga; Laurence A. Rickels, U of California, Santa Barbara; Kenneth Rogers, U of California, Riverside; Michael Rush, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State U; Freya Schiwy, U of California, Riverside; Beverly R. Singer, U of New Mexico; Yvonne Spielmann, U of the West of Scotland; Catherine Taft, Getty Research Institute; Holly Willis, U of Southern California.
Evolving rapidly from the movie screen to the television screen to the computer screen, video culture has blossomed from its origins as an obscure spin-off of the 1960s Anglo-American media culture into one of the leading art forms of the late twentieth century. And as such, video culture has grown from being the dominion of small but dedicated cult followings to becoming a near mainstream cinematic interest. The World Is Watching: Video as Multinational Aesthetics, 1968–1995 explores the origins and implications of this powerful visual medium which crosses national, cultural, and political boundaries to present provocative tales of the highest quality. Dennis Redmond’s probing study is rooted in close readings of three stylish and highly successful video efforts—The Prisoner (1967), The Decalogue (1988), and Neon Genesis: Evangelion (1995).
Irish director and star Patrick McGoohan’s classic science fiction vision, The Prisoner, established many of the basic conventions of video for such elements as shot selection, set design, scripting, scoring, and editing techniques. In The Prisoner, a government agent has resigned his position only to be immediately abducted and confined to an isolated town. Thus imprisoned, the agent faces the sinister and surreal efforts of his captors to break him and learn the secret cause of his resignation. Saturated with Cold War allegory, this seventeen-part series was groundbreaking in its exploration of new types of global content, ranging from gender and ethnic identity to the politics of information. Part futuristic thriller, part James Bond parody, the cult series remains hugely popular among partisans of science fiction, and has had an indelible influence on its mainstream descendants.
Set in a Polish housing complex, each episode of The Decalogue examines one of the ten commandments. The provocative series synthesized elements of the Eastern European auteur film with the consumerism of its Western European counterparts, establishing the new genre of Eurovideo. Paying special attention to director Krzysztof Kieslowski's micropolitics of gender, as well as his innovations in scripting, lighting, and framing, Redmond locates The Decalogue within the broader context of Polish filmmaking and as a harbinger of the subsequent Velvet Revolutions of Eastern Europe. Now available on DVD for English-speaking audiences, The Decalogue remains a stunning specimen of video artistry.
Aided by transcripts that are far superior to the flawed English dubbing in some video versions, Redmond’s analysis of Hideaki Anno’s acclaimed television series Neon Genesis: Evangelion explores the increasingly popular narrative form of anime. This animated series is set in the post-apocalyptic future, where young pilots in robotic battle suits combat alien invaders. In discussing this twenty-six part epic undertaking, Redmond identifies the impact of the Godzilla narratives, videogame culture, the Japanese mecha, the Hong Kong action thriller and the American sci-fi blockbuster on the formation of a uniquely East Asian identity and aesthetic sensibility. Anime is proving itself to be exceedingly apt and able at crossing national borders and is now enjoying mass popularity among global audiences, thus making it an ideal subject for Redmond’s telling assessment of the impact of video culture worldwide.
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