Is it truly correct to call Playdamage a form of cinema?
Playdamage.org is a mixed digital media website (even though it claims it isn’t).
The site consists of over 100 pages of audiovisual content. Most pages have graphics, poetry, songs, and or animation, but not all pages have each of those items.
At a glance the pages don’t have a real narrative, or a solid one at that.
In a sense, this could be called a form of cinema, though different from what we’re used to. On page 6, Lev Manovich describes how behind the scenes, films consist of many tools used to create the illusion of reality. The production of the site, in a sense, must’ve been similar. Assets were needed, animation programs, audio editing programs, coding, image editing programs, and so on. While some of the tools are different (lights and mics compared to photoshop and premier), the idea is similar. Multiple methods and skills were needed to create the final product.
So what else is similar? There’s certainly an audio element and a visual element, but another factor is updates in technology. On the very next page, Manovich talks about the evolution of technology and its role in film. Now, most films are produced with a heavy amount of cgi, even large chunks of the sets are cgi.
For example, back in 2007, Robert Zemeckis produced a completely cgi Beowulf movie. The graphics are nothing to rave about as nowadays, video games are on par with this estimated $150,000,000 budget film (IMDb). That point aside, if this is considered cinema and done entirely from a set of computers, then what’s stopping other entirely computer generated moving pictures from being cinema?
Manovich states that digital cinema is “…a particular case of animation that uses live-action footage as one of its many elements.”(9) While the site’s footage is heavily edited, there is a touch of live footage used, most likely from built in computer cameras (another tie in to the evolution of our day to day technology).
To finish off, I’ll show you some screencaps i grabbed as i wen through all 100+ pages of playdamage.
and of course the final page
The text links to an email account.