Postcinematic Vision

The Coevolution of Moving-Image Media and the Spectator

2020
Author:

Roger F. Cook

Postcinematic Vision

A study of how film has continually intervened in our sense of perception, with far-ranging insights into the current state of lived experience

How has cinema transformed our senses, and how does it continue to do so? In Postcinematic Vision, Roger F. Cook posits film as a stage in the long coevolution of human consciousness and visual technology, offering a fresh perspective on the history of film while providing startling new insights into the so-called divide between cinematic and digital media.

Roger F. Cook’s groundbreaking book, Postcinematic Vision, is an original and intriguing contribution to the analysis of the emergence of cinematic technologies on the spectator. The analysis of changes in our perception in concert with changes in the history of film and post-filmic development is exigent for our time. Postcinematic Vision traces out a dialectical relationship between technologies and formal developments in film and changes in our experience of the body and its perceptual capacities, helping us take stock of where we stand today and what we stand against.

Todd McGowan, author of Emancipation After Hegel: Achieving a Contradictory Revolution

How has cinema transformed our senses, and how does it continue to do so? Positing film as a stage in the long coevolution of human consciousness and visual technology, Postcinematic Vision offers a fresh perspective on the history of film while providing startling new insights into the so-called divide between cinematic and digital media.

Starting with the argument that film viewing has long altered neural circuitry in our brains, Roger F. Cook proceeds to reevaluate film’s origins, as well as its merger with digital imaging in the 1990s. His animating argument is that film has continually altered the relation between media and human perception, challenging the visual nature of modern culture in favor of a more unified, pan-sensual way of perceiving. Through this approach, he makes original contributions to our understanding of how mediation is altering lived experience.

Along the way, Cook provides important reevaluations of well-known figures such as Franz Kafka, closely reading cinematic passages in the great author’s work; he reassesses the conventional wisdom that Marshall McLuhan was a technological determinist; and he lodges an original new reading of The Matrix. Full of provocative and far-reaching ideas, Postcinematic Vision is a powerful work that helps us see old concepts anew while providing new ideas for future investigation.
Postcinematic Vision

Roger F. Cook is professor of German studies and director of the Film Studies Program at the University of Missouri. He has written extensively on film and media theory, New German Cinema, and contemporary German film. He coedited The Cinema of Wim Wenders: Image, Narrative, and the Postmodern Condition and is coeditor of Berlin School Glossary: An ABC of the New Wave in German Cinema.

Postcinematic Vision

Roger F. Cook’s groundbreaking book, Postcinematic Vision, is an original and intriguing contribution to the analysis of the emergence of cinematic technologies on the spectator. The analysis of changes in our perception in concert with changes in the history of film and post-filmic development is exigent for our time. Postcinematic Vision traces out a dialectical relationship between technologies and formal developments in film and changes in our experience of the body and its perceptual capacities, helping us take stock of where we stand today and what we stand against.

Todd McGowan, author of Emancipation After Hegel: Achieving a Contradictory Revolution

Interrogating the cinema’s historical intermediality with rare clarity, Roger F. Cook claims that film’s historical transformations of perception and sensation in the early twentieth century still fundamentally shape the phenomenology of digital media—not to mention the sensoria of its users. Along the way, he engages with key critics from Marshall McLuhan and Friedrich Kittler to Anne Friedberg, Lev Manovich, and David Rodowick, challenging and revising their findings via compelling film readings and astute deployment of discourses as diverse as cybernetics and post-Romantic theories of writing. Postcinematic Vision is a compelling and singular work on living with twenty-first century media.

Paul Young, Dartmouth College*

Postcinematic Vision

Contents

Introduction

Moving-Image Media and Embodied Spectatorship

Media Convergence and Remediation

1. Film and the Embodied Mind

Technogenesis: The Coevolution of the Biological and Technological

The Phatic Image of Cinema—Reassessed

“Consciousness Is an Epiphenomenon”

Dual Temporalities of Media and the Mind

Postcinematic Reflections on Spectatorship

2. 1900: Film Transforms the Media Landscape

Film as Prosthetic Visual Consciousness

Mechanized Culture and the Moving Image

Film and the Tyranny of Writing: Franz Kafka

3. 2000: Cinema and the Digital Image

Intermedial Constructions of Cinema’s Virtual Reality

Digital Mediations of Movement, Space, and Time

Cinema and Singular Consciousness

Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index