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Backwards Up Niagara Falls: Space/Time, Image/Text and the Biases of Information
Unformatted Document Text:  16 temporal rate of the passage of film frames is fixed by an apparatus beyond the control of the viewer. This has a number of implications for the conceptualization of temporality and the reflexive experience of selfhood. The first is that it serves to accentuate, stabilize and objectify the temporal moment at which past and future meet by producing an ‘instant’, conceived photographically, which is visible and isolable. This is what Lloyd calls a ‘cinematographic’ model of time (1993: 97): existence is made up of fixed, singular instants ordered sequentially. Hence cinema as a cultural practice with distinct spatial-temporal characteristics also makes available a new conception of time. The dynamic temporal flow that constitutes the ‘now’ of self-narrativity is fixed as an externalized pictorial image, with the flux of time itself understood as so many isolable moments. Moreover, this sampling of time, and the exploration and internalization of the potentialities and conventions of editing, make time itself subject to new operations: standardization and manipulation. As Lev Manovich (2001) points out, the instants filmed become a database from which multiple narratives and temporalities can be constructed and reconstructed through retrospective editing. Time becomes a raw material of equivalent quantities which can be measured and controlled: cinema provides a powerful representational model for discourses of time-management and the formation of routines already made possible in industrial societies through the dominance of mechanical ‘clock’ time. A similar argument can be put forward about the modern newspaper form. Certainly, newspapers do utilize and perpetuate narrative temporalities (causal sequences, heroic struggles). But they also accentuate the daily ‘now’ as the textual crux of temporal development, and they spatialize it within a format that tends to equalize different narratives by presenting them in the same standardized physical form (the column), a form which can be both quantified and manipulated topographically. Across both cinema and newspaper,

Authors: Frosh, Paul.
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temporal rate of the passage of film frames is fixed by an apparatus beyond the control of the
viewer. This has a number of implications for the conceptualization of temporality and the
reflexive experience of selfhood. The first is that it serves to accentuate, stabilize and
objectify the temporal moment at which past and future meet by producing an ‘instant’,
conceived photographically, which is visible and isolable. This is what Lloyd calls a
‘cinematographic’ model of time (1993: 97): existence is made up of fixed, singular instants
ordered sequentially. Hence cinema as a cultural practice with distinct spatial-temporal
characteristics also makes available a new conception of time. The dynamic temporal flow
that constitutes the ‘now’ of self-narrativity is fixed as an externalized pictorial image, with
the flux of time itself understood as so many isolable moments.
Moreover, this sampling of time, and the exploration and internalization of the
potentialities and conventions of editing, make time itself subject to new operations:
standardization and manipulation. As Lev Manovich (2001) points out, the instants filmed
become a database from which multiple narratives and temporalities can be constructed and
reconstructed through retrospective editing. Time becomes a raw material of equivalent
quantities which can be measured and controlled: cinema provides a powerful
representational model for discourses of time-management and the formation of routines
already made possible in industrial societies through the dominance of mechanical ‘clock’
time.
A similar argument can be put forward about the modern newspaper form. Certainly,
newspapers do utilize and perpetuate narrative temporalities (causal sequences, heroic
struggles). But they also accentuate the daily ‘now’ as the textual crux of temporal
development, and they spatialize it within a format that tends to equalize different narratives
by presenting them in the same standardized physical form (the column), a form which can be
both quantified and manipulated topographically. Across both cinema and newspaper,


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