Gunning. A request.

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Ogonoski, Matthew


Once again, I find myself amazed by Gunning's ability to both wholly convince me of his argument and discover novel ways in which to approach film. His realist perspective is incredibly practical, greatly incontestable, and refreshing to say the least. The presentation mirrored his recent article "What is the Point of an Index" in it's ability to present the listeners with a clear and concise approach to film that reveals the potential absurdity of ontological arguments in relation to the actual significance of the object of study. 
I wonder, however, how Gunning would include the digital in his talk, though I imagine he would see no difference between the two formats in the conclusions of his examination: digital, regardless of structure, registers for the perception of the viewer as  moving images. Gunning's above mentioned article takes to task such ontological phenomenon as indexicality by pointing out the futility of privileging the index in any particular medium since such an approach results in no comprehensive difference for understanding how one receives the medium. However, I draw attention to Gunning's own question to Rodowick. His question, of course, was whether Ken Jacobs' stereoscopic experiments with photographs actually were moving images. And, of course, Gunning replied to his own question stating, no, they are not moving images, but that matters not in relation to our understanding and perception of the images as indeed moving. 
My question then is, how do the static images of photographically-based film differ from digital images that are not (necessarily) structurally based on static images? We can think of the digital image as being structured by individual and static pixels. This implies that the digital image is a static image with two stages of structuring the perception of movement: first the movement of the individual pixels, from one color or shade to another, and secondly in how the combination of those pixels in any one instant represent an individual image in an apparent progression. Does this perception of digital images hold-up, and how might it change our reception? In relation to Gunning's comment about the exceptionality of human visual perception, is digital a format that complements our vision in a superior way to analogue, if we accept digital as a continuous moving image? Or, if we accept the stasis of digital images modeled above, is digital just another format that tests the exceptionality of human perception? I cannot help but acknowledge my own opinion of the affective differences between the two formats, and I wonder why this affect surfaces in the first place even though I share Gunning's realist opinions.  Some nuance applied to this relationship would benefit from theoretical clarification, the type that Gunning so successfully and consistently provides. 

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