Cryptophasia and the Question of Database

Triple Ampersand:1-29 (2019)
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Over the last thirty years, once staunchly historical cinema scholars such as Thomas Elsaesser, Jane Gaines, Siegfried Zielinski, and André Gaudreault have abandoned history for historiography and film studies for media archaeology. With increasing attention on the “database” as a symbolic metaphor for postmodernity and the decentered, networked tenants of the global present, cinema is taking on the characteristics of new media, existing in intertextual space. Thus, the term “post-cinema” has been co-opted as a viable intermediary that accounts for new media conditions, as cinema is no longer emblematic of our cultural climate. As Giorgio Agamben wrote in 1992, “[t]he end of the cinema truly sounds the death knell of the ultimate metaphysical adventure of Dasein. In the twilight of post-cinema…human quasi-existence, now stripped of any metaphysical hypostasis and deprived of any theological model, will have to seek its proper generic consistency elsewhere." Accordingly, we are no longer “moviegoing animals” who seek images of ourselves among a collective in the dark but, rather, users interfacing within a network of moving images.

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