Karen Beckman

Andrew W. Mellon Penn Faculty Fellow in the Humanities

20112012 Forum on Adaptations

Karen Beckman

Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Professor of Cinema and Modern Media

Animating Analog Histories: Cinema, Photography and the Adaptive Pressure of New Media

I plan to spend the year 2011-12 consider animated digital work that adapts narratives and images from the canonical histories of analog photography and film. In recent years, discussion of the question, "What is cinema?" has been framed by a return to the critic André Bazin, whose post-war work privileges a cinema of truth, revelation, and witnessing. Bazin was for a long time discredited as naïve realism, but cinema's evolution from an analog to a primarily digital medium has provoked a return to his work. Though one critic claims that animation and composited images "stand at the antipodes" of Bazin's "cinema of discovery," I will use animated digital adaptations of analog films and photographs to consider how the ethical concerns of Bazin's old media theories could be translated without nostalgia for the present.