Death and the Diagonal Display: Cinema's Planned Obsolescence in the Screen-Captured Image Open Access

Doreste, Pedro Noel (2016)

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The recent proliferation of screen-captured films, or films that purport to be recordings of a personal computer desktop or are otherwise comprised of a graphical user interface mise-en-scène, can be understood as a radical attempt at remediating new media through the old. These post-cinematic films, Unfriended (Gabriadze, 2015) chief among them, do not neatly conform to previously-established ontological understandings of either media. The film eschews or replaces traditional cinematic techniques in favor of the logic of computer media. Conversely, screen-capture severs the interactive component in human-computer interaction, reconfiguring users as passive spectators. Despite its equally unaligned relationship of Unfriended to the ontological markers of each media, there is still a pervasive sense of realism, imbued throughout the experience of watching Unfriended, perhaps indicating that screen-captured films' claim to authenticity is more dependent on a phenomenological realism than an ontological one. Screen-captured films signal an inevitable, yet seemingly-incompatible intersection following digital cinema and the personal computer's dual rise to cultural ubiquity. The computer interface, when made cinematic, loses its functionality but maintains its appearance as a digital artifact or document of online networking moments on social media and software applications--a trace of interface that is not our own, yet appeals to personal experience.

Table of Contents

Introduction. 1

Not Cinematic/Still Cinema. 6

Nostalgia and the Bound Computer Screen. 15

An Alien Trace. 23

Retrograde Convergence, Death by Incompatibility. 27

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