Capturing Digital Media : Perfection and Imperfection in Contemporary Film and Television
Author(s): Thomas J. Connelly
Why are filmmakers such as J.J. Abrams, Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino continuing to shoot their movies on celluloid in the digital age of cinema? Are these filmmakers choosing the photochemical process of celluloid images purely for aesthetics purposes? Or could their preference for celluloid have something to do with analogue's intimate connection to the subject of lack and desire?
Capturing Digital Media: Perfection and Imperfection in Contemporary Film and Television examines the relationship between the perfection of the digital form and the imperfection of the human subject in recent film and television. Using a number of a key psychoanalytic terms and new media concepts, Capturing Digital Media shows that the necessity of imperfection is where we locate the human subject of desire within the binary logic of the digital. It argues that the perfection of digital must be wounded by forms of imperfection in order to make media texts such as film and television desirable. But even as films and television texts incorporate forms of imperfection, digital perfection remains a powerful attraction in our engagement with moving images, such as high definition screens, spectacular digital effects, and state-of-the-art sound.
“Capturing Digital Media represents a major leap ahead in our understanding of how the digital age changes our very mode of perception. It is the book on film and the digital revolution that we have all been waiting for. Though there have been many works on the impact of digital media, Connelly's book is the first to theorize completely the impact of digital immediacy. What's fascinating about the book is that rather than see the effect of the digital all working in one direction, the author shows how its effect also produces a nostalgic reaction in certain films, where the director introduces imperfection as a way of marking a distance from the digital world. In order to understand how film has been irrevocably changed today, one simply must read Connelly's pathbreaking book.” —Todd McGowan, Associate Professor of Film, University of Vermont, USA
“In Capturing Digital Media, Thomas J. Connelly offers a highly compelling and intelligent analysis of the way cutting-edge technologies and digitalization in film and television are subtly yet drastically altering spectators' experiences of temporality, spatial orientation, and narrative meaning, as well as the way the subject experiences enjoyment (through lack and desire, or the excess and repetition of drive). Connelly lucidly articulates and explores here the central tension of our era: the tendency of perfection of digital (including, paradoxically, highly choreographed imperfections and ruptures), and the imperfections we readily recognize in analog. It's as if Connelly has deciphered the way digital is ushering in a radical new dimension that is altering the very way we experience enjoyment on the screen, as lines between various media blur, as the space of lack (and thus desire) diminishes, and as our world becomes more complex, interactive, and uncertain.” —Sheila Kunkle, editor of Cinematic Cuts: Theorizing Film Endings (2016), and co-editor, Lacan and Contemporary Film (2004)