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Marks of Materiality in Digital Bodies
Thursday, September 29, 2011 @ 5:00 pm
Digital technology is increasingly utilized in film production to achieve the technical and imaginative compositing of live-action and computer-generated imagery. Hye Jean Chung’s talk will explore how digital effects are not only used to mediate the real but to replace or enhance human capabilities via cyborgian hybrids. When bodies become digitized into pixelated formats, does this effectively incarnate physicality in ways unforeseen? How do nationalist desires and transnational aspirations intersect in computer-generated bodies of imaginary entities? What is lost when a digital aesthetics that accentuates seamlessness, transcendence and transmutation translates into a naïve political rhetoric that elides the material practices of labor in film production pipelines? Even though computer-generated characters are often described as de-materialized because they are simulated images of digital bodies and virtual camera movements, they can also be regarded as material incarnations of visual and sonic traces that link them to corporeal bodies and territorial concerns. This talk will examine how layered traces of national bodies become re-animated and re-corporealized along the film production pipeline through the multiple bodies of actors, voice actors, stunt actors, movement coordinators, body doubles, and animators.
Hye Jean Chung is currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Comparative Media Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she is working on a book project that analyzes the globally dispersed and digitally networked workforce of film production pipelines, and its relation to the fictional spaces, computer-generated imagery and digital aesthetics of contemporary cinema. She received her Ph.D. in Film and Media Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her primary research interests include transnational cinema, cross-border mobility, production studies, digital visual effects and animation, and East Asian cinema. Her work has been published in journals such as Spectator and Contemporaneity, and in the anthology Documentary Testimonies: Global Archives of Suffering (Routledge, 2009), edited by Bhaskar Sarkar and Janet Walker. Other essays will soon appear in forthcoming issues of Cinema Journal and The Velvet Light Trap. She has recently co-edited and contributed to a themed issue of Media Fields Journal on the intersection of media, labor, and mobility. In addition to her scholarly endeavors, Chung has worked as a journalist, and published translations of literary works from Korean into English and vice versa.