Digital Figurations : The Human Figure as Cinematic Concept
Mainstream cinema is to an ever-increasing degree deploying digital imaging technologies to work with the human form; expanding on it, morphing its features, or providing new ways of presenting it. This has prompted theories of simulation and virtualisation to explore the cultural and aesthetic implications, anxieties, and possibilities of a loss of the ‘real’ – in turn often defined in terms of the photographic trace. This thesis wants to provide another perspective. Following instead some recent imperatives in art-theory, this study looks to introduce and expand on the notion of the human figure, as pertaining to processes of figuration rather than (only) representation. The notion of the figure and figuration have an extended history in the fields of hermeneutics, aesthetics, and philosophy, through which they have come to stand for particular theories and methodologies with regards to images and their communication of meaning. This objective of this study is to appropriate these for film-theory, culminating in two case-studies to demonstrate how formal parameters present and organise ideas of the body and the human. The aim is to develop a material approach to contemporary digital practices, where bodies have not ceased to matter but are framed in new ways by new technologies.
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