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The Daguerreotype process was the first form of photography that came to be using the natural occurring camera obscura. A copper plate with a layer of silver was made light sensitive and exposed to the light from the camera obscura. In the 1880’s, George Eastman invented a roll-holder, which was placed on cameras to hold a roll of paper that allowed 48 photos to be taken. After polarized, Eastman improved on this technology by putting the roll inside of the camera and changing the paper to celluloid film. His camera was released in 1888 and was the first ’Kodak’. This was mark of the beginning of film experimentation.
Thomas Edison was one of the successful experimenters after this new development. His invention of the Phonograph initiated the idea of the Kinetograph. Edison passed his idea to William Dickson who developed the idea and took it further to create the Kinetescope. The basic components of a projector came from the technique the Kinetescope used of shining light through sequential images to create motion.
Artists use of film as a medium for their art not only expanding possibilities of visual sensation their art could hold, but held more possibilities for the messages, political and social, that their work could communicate. Every medium chosen has it’s own history and the choice in medium can be seen as commentary on that medium, the relationships it has in history in terms of the political, social, etc., and other artist’s who have used it before.
The actor-network theory attempts to take all of the previous theories and connect them to create an inter-dependent relationship. Technological, social, and biological networks all affect and influence the other. The actor-network theory was developed by science and technology focused scholars most prominently, Bruno Latour. He believes that technological determinism, sociological determinism, and biological determinism, are all flawed as theories in that they are too narrowly focused on one aspect of a larger network built from a cycle of cause and effect. It is difficult to separate these components, as they all do not exist separately, but together.
Technological determination is a theory that says society is driven by its technology. The technology is what creates the social structure and the cultural values that we hold. This belief fails to recognize the humanity behind the technologies. These things wouldn’t come into existence without the involvement of humans, and the functions are directly related to the human experience. Some reject technology, as it can be overwhelming with rapid advancements and can disrupt true human-to-human interaction. The line between what is real or actual, and the infinite hyper realistic simulations of life surrounding us, can be hard to see, especially if your eyes are strained from luminescent screens.
Electronics corporations rely on the people to continue to buy their products and to create this continuous desire to upgrade, products are made flawed and with room to improve. Apple releases new products every couple of hundred days or so. In this way the technology does impose the need to upgrade through playing with human patience and emotion. However, this capitalistic technique is a man-made development, which leads us to sociology determination.
Sociology determination theorizes the opposite; that society dictates technology based on sociological pre-existing needs. Imagining a world where our society as a conscious entity doesn’t desire technological advancement is near impossible. Humans have always needed tools for survival whether it is a spear in pre-electronic times or the “GrubHub” ap on a phone.
Biological determination is the theory that states human interaction, our social structures, our values, are all biological and controlled by every individual’s genes. This argument is easily opposed, as there are many more influencing factors besides genetics to each individual.
Humans naturally desire advancement and progression in every means; this can be traced to our evolutionary growth as a species. Nature made tools like developing language or dating further back to when the human eye developed color vision to find the ripest fruits. The humans that exist today are much more adapt at surviving in the wild, so much so that we have removed ourselves entirely from it, creating cushioned civilizations.
However, the tools that we developed within our bodies to survive the elements still exist and have allowed us to move on from physical biological advancements within ourselves to exterior electronic devices. This relationship cycles together constantly affecting one another while moving forward like Sonic the hedgehog who somersaults into himself while propelling forward through loops, occasionally getting hurt by spikes (technology failing), but he continues. This determination shows the balance between technology and sociology. Both the human and non-human agents need each other to progress and to be what they desire to be. Technology’s (unintentional) failure is a reflection of human failure since it is man-made, but failures are re-worked and improved upon, making the human and non-human simultaneously advance together.
Video games are an example of a frivolous technology that rooted from a desire to be entertained that have proven to be biologically advancing. Motor skills are improved, reflexes tested, and the imagination is stretched. The latter is inherent in inventing advancements for science and technology. We are all integrated with our technologies and we continue to desire more from them because that is our nature, and the ever advancing field of science and technology has accelerated our natural desires. We want the new because we are accustomed to there always being a new.
A strong theme that has found its way from early cinema to the numerous medias of the 21st century is illusion. Magicians were a large part of early cinema. Splices and cuts were their new smoke screens. Jump cuts made it possible to teleport or disappear. Illusion is a central part of cinema not only as a way to show magic tricks. Quick cuts in a movie’s action scene creates fear in viewers, and a violent slasher movie can cause actual pain from mirror neurons in our brain that simulate any action that we watch.
Film is transporting because we are naturally empathetic and want to connect with other humans. We desire the human experience of not only ourselves but of others as if to create multiple selves. Immortality is a biological fact that we cannot reverse through science and technology so we seek to live as many lives as possible. Cinema made it possible to see parts of the world that were thousands of miles away that we otherwise, because of financial or other means, wouldn’t have been able to see. They provide an escape for the mind to other parts of the world and other types of lives.
Humans are innately curious and seek out other humans for friendship, acceptance, and intimacy. Cinema advanced one of the oldest past times, which is to people watch. This voyeuristic activity validated its nature by being presented in a dark room with all chairs facing the glowing screen. This voyeurism exists constantly in media, as the websites we visit are being recorded and analyzed to show us advertisements that are more relevant to each individual’s Internet activity.
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