[iDC] IPF09 Conference thoughts

Kevin Hamilton kham at uiuc.edu
Mon Dec 7 19:38:54 UTC 2009


I know you asked Brian and not the rest of us, but I must say I quite  
liked this image/example - American Grafitti is set up much like  
Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom."

Each agent (or at least each male agent) roams or cruises around the  
space of the city, their behavior explainable only through chance or  
archetype. Wolfman Jack provides the common heartbeat, synching actors  
without merging them or losing distinctiveness. (Lucas and sound  
designer Murch even modeled this behavior in the sound design, roaming  
around a studio lot with a microphone and a speaker to create the  
sonic space.) It's a romantic predictability, the "boys will be boys"  
doing their thing on the edge of chaos (Vietnam).

Maybe that awful franchise, Fast and the Furious is the cybernetic  
sequel - automotive performance is simply a matter of hacking the  
engine computer, and everything else about the car customization is  
just a demographic signal, computed for maximum investment in the box- 
office returns. Granular effects and stunts-per-second rule the day.

Neither are desirable, but the move (again, prompted by Orit's work)  
is significant. Perhaps there are some scholars of cinema or the  
automobile who will strike me down on this...


On Dec 7, 2009, at 11:24 AM, Judith Rodenbeck wrote:

> Brian, can you unpack:
>> its classic forms, the cliches of American Grafitti: a society whose
>> epistemological base was still more behaviorist than cybernetic,  
>> despite
>> the feedback loops that started coming into play in the 1950s through
>> the monitoring of consumer reception.
> This feels terminologically off somehow....
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