Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Onscreen Realities

I've been reading part of Lev Manovich's The Language Of New Media and have come across several ideas which interest me. This quote in particular highlights a point which is important to mention:
"…realism is qualitatively different from the realism of optically based image technologies (photography, film), for the simulated reality is not indexically related to the existing world."
To be realistic or relatable, environments, characters and objects don't have to be photo realistic but simply representative of what the viewer already knows and understands. It is through such function that One Chance opperates, aesthetically basic but constructed indexically so that its graphics become a sense of style as opposed to a limitation. Realism is one way in which a greater level of immersion can be attained but by no means does an on screen world have to be realistic to our standards but rather convincing within a reality of its own design.
"Each new technological development (sound, panchromatic stock, color) points to the viewers just how "un-realistic" the previous image was and also reminds them that the present image, even though more realistic, will be superseded in the future — thus constantly sustaining the state of disavowal."
Here Manovich points out that our perception of what is 'real', convincing or unconvincing is firmly based upon our previous experiences with media and what expectations have already been set up. It is in this way that 'cutting edge' special effects from say the 80's are not as persuasive as they once were when interpreted by a modern audience. Ofcourse, this persuasiveness could appeal to a number of different distinctions besides our own reality. Aesthetic style or narrative are potential proponents of visuality that could lead to a sense of immersion.
"the reason we may think that computer graphics has succeeded in faking reality is that we, over the course of the last hundred and fifty years, has come to accept the image of photography and film as reality."
This is basically just reinforcing the last quote: that we are conditioned by existing media  to accept new media as being more real or convincing than it may actually be if it were taken at face value. This makes me think of retro styles which, although born from earlier technological limitations, actually hold appeal in their aesthetics. New media can be created to imitate this style and not be seen as backward, but nostalgic. 

The general vibe I have gotten from reading this chapter is that Manovich puts a lot of emphasis on realism in virtuality. This makes sense considering a lot of what he is writing about is in relation to computer graphics being integrated with live action film. I'm not sure how this all connects to my own work just yet but its helping me to better understand what exactly an onscreen reality may be. Not entirely related but reading this also makes me think of the potential in being completely unrealistic in the treatment of a virtual world, allowing new rules to be constructed and the audience's own expectation acting as a catalyst to unexpected affects.

1 comment:

  1. You know if Lev was a masculine lesbian who enjoyed moaning, Her name would be Les Manobitch.