Week Two (seminar) – The Mobile Aesthetic

This week, we began to explore the use of mobile devices in film and photography. In the morning session (seminar), you were introduced to the mobile aesthetic and viewed a range of short form mobile films. In the afternoon workshop you moved on to practical work, the aim of which was to get you to think about how you can use your phone as a serious tool for (moving) image production (see this post). Some very brief notes to summarise the seminar: Still image

Moving image

  • Mobile filmmaking is developing in parallel with photography in terms of the shift to mainstream acceptance – quality of cameras increasing all the time. Mobile film used to be seen as a poor relation due to low quality. Now we see music videos, advertisments and films all filmed on iPhones.
  • The proliferation of apps is also significant. Oscar-winning film Searching for Sugarman is a great example of how an app can be used to fulfil a function that may otherwise be too expensive/onerous.
  • In the beginning mobile film largely characterised by Ketai Aesthetic (Max Schleser) – low quality/handheld feel still used intentionally e.g. cinema verite, Dutch filmmaker Cyrus Frisch Why Didnt Anybody Tell Me It Would Become This Bad in Afghanistan (2007) in Botella paper.
  • Odin categorised as p-cinema – think about link to haptic (Sophie Sherman)
  • Early mobile films characterised by Keitai Aesthetic (Keitai = hand carry in Japanese)https://www.academia.edu/4604617/Aesthetics_of_mobile_media_art
  • Max with a Keitai http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jc2iLI5Mx0#t=44
  • Shift from low (shakiness, graininess, low res) to high production values (HD smartphones, lens attachments, microphones, dedicated apps)
  • Current mobile films – moving towards mainstream production values and practices e.g. GOODNIGHT SHINING https://vimeo.com/49966742
  • Intimacy and immediacy
  • Lens and communication device all in one
  • Produce/watch on same device
  • Citizen journalism/mainstream journalism
  • Low quality still used intentionally e.g. Afghanistan – common in avant-garde, stands apart from mainstream production values
  • Short stories, narrative, art of telling short story

Ultimately, you can use top end equipment and create something mediocre, just as you can use everyday consumer technology and create something amazing. READING FOR THIS WEEK “The Aesthetics of Cellphone-Made Films” by Caridad Botella http://artpulsemagazine.com/the-aesthetics-of-cellphone-made-films “Post-process: why the smartphone camera changed photography forever” http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/20/4377290/post-process-why-the-smartphone-camera-changed-photography-forever GROUP TASK – write/publish a blog post “Introduction to Mobile Film” on your group blog, using your combined notes from the session. 


One thought on “Week Two (seminar) – The Mobile Aesthetic

  1. Pingback: Week Two (workshop) – The Mobile Camera | Social Technologies 2015

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