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The moment of unmoving

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Movies never wait they live in perpetual motion, locked in an illusion that merges a succession of static pictures into a new temporal image. If a movie stops because the projector breaks or the tape is stuck then the illusion is lost and the image collapses into its separate parts. Movies move in one direction and cannot respond to anything but themselves; they are governed by their own internal logic and remain unmoved by their external context. As more screens become embedded into our physical spaces there is an opportunity for the movie to take pause and through sensors respond to its environment. Yet schedulers are stuffing the big screens with old content, movies designed for TV and cinemas. Adverts tightly cut into 30-second slots are screened repeatedly into a space where they have all day, they could take their time. This article will discuss examples of how a movie might pause while it waits for something to happen. Animators have used loops to bridge moments of dramatic action. The onlookers in Popeye the Sailor by Fleischer (1933) quiver with anticipation as they prepare for the action to unfold around them. Roobarb and Custard by Godfrey (1974) waits in a shimmering tree, a looping construct that lives in between the edges of its drawings, an approximation of its constituent parts. The animated loop is a fixed temporal object waiting perhaps to cross over into the physical world and interact with the environment and passersby.
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Keywords: animation; film theory; interfaces; movies; public screens; sensors

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Falmouth University

Publication date: 01 June 2016

More about this publication?
  • Ubiquity is an international peer reviewed journal for creative and transdisciplinary practitioners interested in technologies, practices and behaviours that have the potential to radically transform human perspectives on the world. "Ubiquity", the ability to be everywhere at the same time, a potential historically attributed to the occult is now a common feature of the average mobile phone. The title refers explicitly to the advent of ubiquitous computing that has been hastened through the consumption of networked digital devices. The journal anticipates the consequences for design and research in a culture where everyone and everything is connected, and will offer a context for visual artists, designers, scientists and writers to consider how Ubiquity is transforming our relationship with the world.
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