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November 8, 2010 / Prof Cupcake.

100 things I should have learned through life: Film in the reel world or Oversaturated with digital desire

Slave to the screen:

It’s a hard life, being a slave to the silver screen; an Old Testament god that takes our dreams as tribute and our desires as sacrifice.  She’s a trickster god that promises decadence at the price of reality. To it and it alone in all its avataric forms we are asked to cede ourselves if we want to make it in this experience that once was called life.

Film was born when we build mythological cities with steel spines and blood vessel elevators; a potent and inevitable creation for a civilization lacking much of the stability, (good and bad) or bygone times.  The twenty-century was a time largely without unifying myths, rituals or a sense of defined community. She came to us as a response to our lack. An entity that can promise us myth and moralization in spades.

We have been born a lost generation forced to create meaning and purpose out of the limitless potential of the everything. She is the barer of this new world of choice. It is on her screens we can see worlds we will never journey to. Learn about alternative ways of life, and see the most primal of animals from the safety of our den room. We can now see the whole world at a click of a mouse or with the payment of 10 pounds be taken to places that exist deep within the minds of one man or woman behind a camera. For all we sacrifice to our silver screened goddess the rewards can be profound. For the smallest payment of your soul, she will give you knowledge, experience and let you live a thousands lives in the space of an hour. She can make you an Amazonian warrior, a clerk, a lover, a fighter, a god. If you let her reality in she can remake the world in any image and show you every side of any story.

Celluloid (and its digital counterparts) have allowed for us to record manipulate and distribute images of the world, its creatures and events, to everyone across the globe. She has become our teacher, our friend, our cleric, our bearer of bad news and our recorder of dreams. The new divine trinity of information, hedonism and escapism. In this time of conflicting political, religious and personal beliefs, Cinema makes a bold attempt at being ubiquitous. Cinema is our new cultural landscape. It is on the screen where our ideologies do battle, where our artist fights for expression and where our views are formed.

Knowledge is art:

Learning has often taken the form of a parable a story, a fiction that shows us why the world is the way it is. Unlike our ancestors who fought for life daily against the animals of the fields, or the clan a river over, we are greatly freed from the fear of where our next meal will come from, allowing us to indulge ourselves in a life filled with art and contemplation of human identity. Expression is the only currency, the only medium and the only tale, it is from this privileged seat that we can see that not only is knowledge art, but art is our mother and art is our child and her most democratic avatar is that of the silver screened goddess.

She can teach you about yourself before you know who you are.

Here is what she has taught me. A hundred things I should have learned through life but learned instead from a celluloid strip. Anything recorded is fiction there is no such things as an objective camera or an unbiased story. But if life is all fantasy what we learn from the myth can be for us, ever real.

 

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