AbstractsComputer Science

The Negotiation of reality: a cognitive approach to the perception of digital Hollywood cinema

by Georgios Dimitriadis

Institution: Aristotle University Of Thessaloniki (AUTH); Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θεσσαλονίκης (ΑΠΘ)
Year: 2015
Keywords: Ψηφιακός κινηματογράφος; Γνωσιακή θεωρία; Σχηματική χάρτογράφηση; Κατασκευή εικονικών κόσμων; Χόκμπεργκ, Τζούλιαν; Συνθετική ψηφιακή εικόνα; Οπτική αντίληψη; Digital cinema; Cognitive theory; Schematic mapping; Worldmaking; Hochberg, Julian; Computer generated imagery (CGI); Visual perception
Record ID: 1154882
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10442/hedi/35623


The present study endeavors to provide a new direction for Cinema Theory, based on recent findings in the field of cognitive theory and visual perception, with a special focus on digital moviemaking. The study associates Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) with various technologies that have been used over the years in both cinema and in its kin arts, i.e. photography and painting, while at the same time it reviews major theories of cinema such as formalism and realism on the various uses that they made of such technologies. By establishing a common genealogy for the entire art of cinema, the study justifies the need for a more encompassing, stable and objective theory applicable to all cinematic texts. The research was based on applications of cognitive theory to cinema, mainly the work of Julian Hochberg and Virginia Brooks, in search for a framework that is relieved from the influence of any ideological or philosophical trend that might limit its universal applicability and objectivity. Hochberg’s cognitive theory of schematic mapping was deemed to be the most appropriate one to address universalities of human perception that are based on the actual physiology of the human visual system, as regards both its function and its limitations; based on this feature, this theoretical framework is capable of explaining all encounters with any cinematic text, from realism to extreme worldmaking. The corpus of cinematic texts in the study comprises CGI fantasy blockbuster Hollywood movies, as they manifest two distinct features: on one hand, they abide to the rules of classical continuity which emanates a sense of realism, while posing the challenge of this realism being entirely contradicted by the synthetic cinematic universes in which these movies are set. Hochberg’s model of schematic mapping adequately explains that synthetic worldmaking is able to function realistically exactly because it is based on the schematic maps that both moviemakers, CGI designers, and spectators alike share, due to their physiologically common visual experience of the real world. The study distinguishes between the cinematic story and the cinematic world as the two constituent factors of any cinematic universe, and applies Hochberg’s framework as well as other theories of perception in key aspects of the cinematic experience, i.e. composition & montage, motion, and narrative. The main findings were that schematic mapping is more than a promising field on which to establish a cinema theory for the future, for two main reasons: first, all assumptions are verified in terms of the framework being applicable to any kind of narrative cinematic text; and second, the model is not incompatible to other theories of cinema, older or contemporary, as it operates on a physiological level of human vision, thus providing a scientific objectivity that literature on this art is in need of. Η παρούσα μελέτη επιχειρεί να προσφέρει μια νέα κατεύθυνση στη Θεωρία Κινηματογράφου, βασιζόμενη σε πρόσφατες ανακαλύψεις από τον χώρο της γνωσιακής ψυχολογίας και της…