Rethinking Cinematic History
Digital technology is blurring the boundaries between various types of media, and transforming how films are produced and received. We need to consider the role that cinema will play in the 21st century.
Dr. André Gaudreault, Canada Research Chair in Film and Media Studies, is questioning the role that technological innovation plays in the evolution of cinematic forms and practices by studying two watershed moments in history: the arrival of cinema at the turn of the 20th century and, 100 years later, the digital explosion in the media landscape. He describes his method of investigation as “media archeology.”
The originality of Gaudreault’s research is in evaluating change in the context of a continuum that stretches back to cinema’s earliest days. By observing today’s media landscape in light of the numerous changes that have marked the history of the medium, he is uncovering various aspects of the digital shift and broadening our understanding of cinema as a technological art form.
Digital technology does not forecast the end of cinema, but it does force us to re-evaluate our ideas about its nature and to question its current state. Ultimately, this research will lay the foundation for a methodology that will be critical to our ability to understand how the cinema may be shaped in the future.