In her book Death 24X a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image, film theorist Laura Mulvey describes the ways that contemporary viewing habits radically change the relationship between viewer and film. Furnished with the ability to pause a film at any moment, viewers, Mulvey claims, return to the object of cinema’s prehistory—the still, photographic image—by taking advantage of the affordances of new media technologies. She writes: “A return to cinema’s past is paradoxically facilitated by the kind of spectatorship that has developed with the use of new technologies, with the possibility of returning to and repeating a specific film fragment. Return and repetition necessarily involve interrupting the flow of film, delaying its progress, and, in the process, discovering the cinema’s complex relation to time.”
This reorientation of our relationship to cinematic time is just one of the consequences of alternate or otherwise unconventional spectatorial practices. Viewers in the twenty-first century have the ability to alter and disrupt films in manifold ways; these new capabilities create possibilities for looking at sometimes familiar movies, and the medium of cinema in general, anew.
The pieces that appear on this site represent the critical and creative efforts of students in English 288: Introduction to Film at the University of Saskatchewan. They have been given the task of manipulating a film or watching it in ways it was never intended to be viewed and describing the insights their experiments yielded. Enjoy.
Dr. Justin Pfefferle