Friday, November 4, 2011

Future Maps

Im in a really cool digital media seminar this semester.... it has got me obsessed with AFFECT and affect theory..... we are reading lots of books but I got a real great kick out of this one in particular...  

Grace Jones' Corporate Cannibal 

Steven Shaviro’s Post Cinematic Affect aims to validate the conception that “films and music videos … are best regarded as affective maps, which do not just passively trace or represent, but actively construct and perform, the social relations, flows, and feelings that they are ostensibly “about” ”(Shaviro, 6). However, I contest his assertion by proposing that affective mapping does not represent the present but constructs the future and reveals how a conception of the present is no longer obtainable. The present is fragmented and in a constant state of fluid change. This would also hold that not only subjective emotion has waned as Shaviro would suggest but also affect. For how could it hold true that affect has not waned when our tools for subjectively understanding and interpreting affect are predetermined by affective mapping?
Affective maps do not and cannot give voice to sensibilities whilst they construct instructional paradigms for distilling emotion from affect. The paradox of the indeterminable audience/consuming public is that the public’s desires, just like affect, cannot be quantified, calculated, or determined. Thus, in a consumer society there is never a demand for new products. Demand is created through marketing strategies. Affective mapping reveals only how we should feel and respond to affect, while simultaneously showing us the future we are being programmed to desire. Main stream post-cinematic representations can only be productively expressive, “productive in the sense that they do not simply represent social processes but actively inform/constitute them”(Shaviro, 2). 

                  materiality's basis does not consist of coins

When Shaviro describes affect as the “ambient, free-floating sensibility that permeates our society today” (Shaviro, 2) he seems to be referring to a desire to make sense of the information around us by conforming to the reception of non-subjective responses, post-cinematic affect becomes characterized by desire and acquisition. The perfect example of this is the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World; the movie makes no logical sense in and of its own, its affect is derived from a certain predetermined understanding remembering, or investment in a certain culture. As audience members we either connect or disconnect: either you get the joke or you feel nothing and we want to feel so we learn the jokes. Thus, revealing that when our subjective emotion has waned so too does our ability to be affected. Since the masses desires can never be quantified or understood mass production of entertainment seeks only to gratify itself, the myth of representation in mass media lies in that it does not exist.
The human mind and body are now in constant fluctuation, shifting eternally on screens: human identity and psychology is changing in response to digital constructions. In a constant state of montage subjective identity and perception of emotions are morphing no longer tied to an indexical point of reference/referent but a fluctuation of symbols and response cues. Human psychology adapt in response to dominant media’s representations; what it feels like to live today should be changed to: how it should feel like to live in the early twenty-first century”(Shaviro, 2).

                              ^^^(cognitive map)^^^

Affective maps are a testimony to our fragmented present and fragmented sense of subjective emotion. If the cognitive/affective experience relies on very specific sets of emotional triggers, affect is transformed into gratification or diverted by disconnection. Mass media does not represent anyone: rather they project what a control society wants us to be like, in such a way films only inform us how to think and feel. Affective maps are  projections for future identification. Since there is no way to know the public reception audience and because of globalization of media, the subject and affect are predetermined. As a result BOTH have waned and are in a constant state of waning. The future of human psychology is being written by moving images on screens.

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