Screen Studies
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Compact Cinematics

Compact Cinematics: The Moving Image in the Age of Bit-Sized Media

by Pepita Hesselberth

Pepita Hesselberth is associate professor in cultural theory and film at the Department of Film and Literary Studies, Leiden University, the Netherlands. With Thomas Elsaesser she edited the textbook Hollywood op Straat: Film en Televisie Binnen de Hedendaagse Audiovisuele Cultuur (2000). Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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and Maria Poulaki

Maria Poulaki is Lecturer in Film and Digital Media Arts at University of Surrey, UK. Placing contemporary cinematics within the realm of complexity theory and neuroscience debates, she has contributed to Screen, New Review of Film and Television Studies, Film-Philosophy, Cinema & Cie, Projections, and a number of edited volumes. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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(eds)
Bloomsbury Academic, 2017
  • DOI:
    10.5040/9781501322297
  • ISBN:
    9781501322266 (hardback)

    9781501322273 (epdf)

    9781501322280 (epub)

    9781501322297 (online)
  • Edition:
    First edition
  • Place of Publication:
    New York
Compact Cinematics
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Compact Cinematics challenges the dominant understanding of cinema to focus on the various compact, short, miniature, pocket-sized forms of cinematics that have existed from even before its standardization in theatrical form, and in recent years have multiplied and proliferated, taking up an increasingly important part of our everyday multimedia environment. Short films or micro-narratives, cinematic pieces or units re-assembled into image archives and looping themes, challenge the concepts that have traditionally been used to understand cinematic experience, like linear causality, sequentiality, and closure, and call attention to complex and modular forms of cinematic expression and perception. Such forms, in turn, seem to meet the requirements of digital convergence, which has pushed the development of more compact and mobile hardware for the display and use of audiovisual content on laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Meanwhile, contemporary economies of digital content acquisition, filing, and sharing equally require the shrinking of cinematic content for it to be recorded, played, projected, distributed, and installed with ease and speed. In this process, cinematic experience is shortened and condensed as well, so as to fit the late-capitalist attention economy. The essays in this volume ask what this changed technical, socio-economic and political situation entails for the aesthetics and experience of contemporary cinematics, and call attention to different concepts, theories and tools at our disposal to analyze these changes.