Monday, 13 February 2017

Cone of Cogency


  1. Hey Ian :)

    Okay - I still think your proposal is lacking a bit of substance and we need to avoid it becoming just a history of special effects. As I said, there's something glimmering away at the heart of the backlash around the use of 'too much CGI' characterising the approach to the new Star Wars films - i.e. a return to the real in terms of locations and animatronics. I think it's getting to grips with 'why' physicality, materiality and actual stuff is preferable (psychologically?) to the digital image of reality - or rather the digital reproduction of reality as in CGI. While your dissertation appears to be about 'CGI' (and it will be ultimately when we get to the case-studies), I think the context for the thing you're talking about is 'not' about CGI - which is why Chapter 1 for example cannot simply be about the evolution of technology in regards to special effects.

    I wonder if the true 'beginning' of your debate might be examining humanity's obsession with perfecting 'the illusion of reality' - the desire to recreate an illusion of reality accurately (i.e. with complete realism). Arguably, you find this instinct in the genre of painting known as troupe l'oeil:'œil

    You should look at and research illusionism and illusionistic art:

    Another 'category' of the attempt to trick the eye into believing that something inanimate or 'not alive' or 'not real' is animatronics, which has its own history attesting to the ongoing fascination humans have with 'perfecting illusions of reality' or 'giving the appearance of reality' to something 'unreal':

    Another associated concept re. discussions around fictional realities asserted as 'realistic or true' is Verisimilitude:

    It seems to me that your chapter structure might better read something like this:

    Chapter 1: Illusionism & Verisimilitude - A Cultural History of Humanity's Fascination With Realistic Illusions (which puts CGI into its oldest and widest context).
    Chapter 2: Hyperrealism & The Uncanny - or 'When Verisimilitude Fails'
    Chapter 3: Star Wars Prequels vs Originals/New Sequels - as an illustration of the 'difference' between illusions that are entirely CGI versus illusions that are 'physical' or 'animatronic' - so physical vs virtual illusionism maybe?

    I did give you a bunch of other references in that previous email - Walter Benjamin's idea of 'aura' - which I think could be important in terms of identifying the characteristic of animatronic illusionism versus. digital illusionism? Anyway, do spend some time to wrap your head around some of these key concepts and have a bash at another structure or two.

  2. FYI!

    Many thanks :)