rss_2.0Baltic Screen Media Review FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Baltic Screen Media Review Screen Media Review Feed’ Perceptual Professionalization from Novices to Experts: Observations from an Eye-tracking Case Study<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Cinematographers represent a group of experts whose professional skills depend to a great extent on their visual perceptual abilities. By the term <italic>perceptual professionalization</italic>, we emphasize the embodied dynamics of perceptual learning processes that shape the ways in which cinematographers make creative decisions during their daily practices. Novice cinematographers are initiated in film schools and during assisting jobs to a range of technical skills required for working as heads of the camera department in film productions. However, honing one’s perceptual skills as a professional cinematographer is nothing less than a lifelong process. While scientific studies show evidence for behavioral and physiological differences between experts and novices in many different fields, so far no such studies exist between professional cinematographers and novices. As a starting point for studying how cinematographers’ perceptual learning evolves from the level of novice to that of experienced professional, we assumed that the different expertise levels of cinematographers can be observed in the way they view moving images. We then conducted an eye-tracking case study where we identified differences in the gaze patterns between film professionals with different levels of expertise in cinematography during viewing a film trailer. As the experiential heuristics of creative decision-making of professional cinematographers largely rely on the practical skills accumulated in film work, in order to gain access to such knowledge, we also report how involving a practicing cinematographer both in designing the study and in analyzing the results provided us new insights to the topic under scrutiny. Based on our findings, a new study protocol is proposed.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Minds in the Making: An Investigation into Subjective and Intersubjective Experiences of Storytelling Experience in the “Naturalistic” Paradigm: Implementing Empirical Phenomenology with Expert Participants for Neurocinematics<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>When studying subjective reports in neuroscience, data that are more easily quantifiable understandably hold more appeal due to the methodological complexities involved with in-depth approaches (second-person interview techniques and analyses) that require extended training of a researcher but also epistemological regard for the problem. A methodological direction for neurocinematics that could better capture the complexities inherent in the experience of film-viewing is to treat distinct domains of the neurocinematic phenomenon, the film stimuli, related subjective accounts, and their neural correlates as co-constitutive in the data analysis. The present proposal outlines an empirical phenomenology approach in the naturalistic paradigm with film stimuli building on the neurophenomenological ideas of pragmatically approaching the relationship between neurocognitive processes and phenomenological accounts. Using the micro-phenomenological method as a guide, i.e. non-naïve introspection (“becoming aware”) with a trained interviewer, the objective is to emphasize the process of accessing lived experiences for systematic second-person investigations. Such in-depth subjective reports have the potential to yield fine-grained descriptions of the participants’ experience related to (free) viewing of films as opposed to relying on naïve introspections (“just ask”) or easily quantifiable assessments that lack complexity (“just look”) and are prone to bias due to the simplification of experience. Building up a case for empirical phenomenology through the methodological demands of its framework, the illustration of the micro-phenomenological method serves to underscore the non-trivial nature of accessing and reporting experience and its role in the neurocognitive domain.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Stories, Sensed Memories, and Documented Voids<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In this article I will refer to a one-time performance piece called ‘Remember by Erasure’ (Lesmes 2020), which explores the relationship between photographs, memories, and the act of narrating the stories behind those memories and photographs. I put this in dialogue with Sarah Polley’s documentary ‘Stories We Tell’ (2012), which follows the filmmaker as she tries to piece together who her late mother was, through the stories and testimonies of her family members. The performance centered on how the act of telling a story, describing a memory, brings it back to life, while the film follows a cacophony of voices to reconstruct the character of Polley’s mother mixed with different techniques (interviews, archive material, staging) to illustrate memory and how this affects the way in which audiences connect to the film. I understand memory as an embodied experience in a relational and affective contact with the world, one that is constantly being reinterpreted and transformed. Relying on the notion of heterochronicity (Karlholm 2017, Moxey 2018) and the Bergsonian understanding of time, I explore how, in both the film and the performance, memories – or the lack of them – time, and narrative interact with each other. I propose the concept of a negative specter of memory, which refers to the things we can only recognize by their absence, the knowledge of the missing part, only possible because it is gone. A void. My goal is to explore how these ideas can have an impact on the possibilities that film and arts offer as ways to explore the relationship between memories, narratives, time, and their voids.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Cinematography in<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p><italic>Mr. Robot</italic> is an American television series that conveys the alienating effects of technology through unusual composition patterns. These patterns do not constitute mere coatings but manifestations of embodied metaphors that serve as emotion markers, redundant elements to maintain the mood. The viewers are led to share the character’s emotions, due to perceptual and sensory-motor experiences that are activated through the metaphoric <italic>mise-en-scène</italic>. The unorthodox framing also appears to affect the attentional synchrony, helping to immerse viewers in the obscure fictional world. All in all, the cinematography seems to facilitate the connection between the minds of fictional characters and viewers through bodily experiences.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Representations and Their Ethical Implications<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper will address ethical concerns surrounding the representation of vulnerable groups as well as the methodological challenges inherent in using artificial intelligence and human-like computer-generated characters in human studies that involve representing such groups. Such concerns focus on consequences arising from the technological affordances of new systems for creating narratives, as well as graphical and audio representations that are capable of portraying beings with close resemblance to humans. Enacting such virtual representations of humans inevitably gives rise to important ethical questions: (1) Who has the right to tell certain stories? (2) Is it ethical to change the medium of a narrative and the identity of a protagonist? (3) Do such changes, or technological mediations, affect whether a vulnerable group will be fairly and accurately portrayed? (4) And what are the implications, either way? While the backdrop of the paper involves discussing the potential of virtual representation as a meditative tool for moral and social change, the ethical implications inherent in the use of new cutting-edge technologies, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Unreal Engine’s MetaHuman, to create human-like virtual character narratives call for theoretical scrutiny from a methodological perspective.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Films from the Inside Out: Embodied Mental Schemas in Filmmaking and Viewing<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article aims to highlight the role of embodied mental representations or embodied schemas in both perception and filmmaking/viewing by foregrounding three premises: (1) perception is inferential and relies on prior embodied schemas; (2) filmmakers (authors) do not merely reproduce reality but equally impose body-based schemas onto the parts of a film in order to convey meanings; and (3) these schemas, as presented by the formal design of the work, may enrich the viewers’ experience by allowing them a privileged look into the embodied creative-thinking processes of filmmakers. It will be argued that viewers are prompted to peek into these processes because the representational embodied concepts, as cued by the films, are grounded in shared sensory-motor capacities that scaffold all abstract thinking and reasoning.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Shots in Light of Cognitive Grammar<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper explores cinematic editing within Ronald Langacker’s cognitive grammar (CG) framework, analyzing the structural and conceptual aspects of film language. By examining the juxtaposition of shots, from a linguistic perspective, the study identifies recurring schematic patterns across expressive instances. Emphasizing grammatical constructions, it delves into the connections between shots, especially in sequences involving a character’s point of view (POV). The present investigation argues for the existence of a shared conceptual mechanism used in order to make sense of verbal and visual discourse. The study employs sequences from Buster Keaton and Michael Haneke, with a primary focus on hypothetical shot juxta-positions crafted to provide visual examples. To concretize the application of Langacker’s CG to cinema image analysis, a case study on the Kuleshov effect as experimented with by Hitchcock will be presented. The principal objective of this study is to construct a theoretical framework employing the analytical tools of CG to augment and refine Noël Carroll’s concept of <italic>erotetic narration</italic>. A subsequent claim is that the juxtapositions of shots are conceptual systems bound at several levels by circular loops. Several configurations of the system coexist and the viewer has the necessary executive control for implementing alternative meaning construals.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Transportation and Identification in Screenwriting: A Pilot Study<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Within the academic domain focused on the artistic practice of screenwriting, this exploratory study assesses the presence of emotional transportation and character identification processes within the solitary screenwriter’s creative imagination during the writing process. Screen-writing research is facing a dichotomy of the screenwriter who embodies both the role of a narrative specialist and that of a visual storytelling poet. Screenwriters often work in isolation, even in collaborative projects, leading to a tension between solitary work and collaborative roles. Narrative theories in screenwriting have mainly centered on identification of the audience, neglecting the screenwriter’s perspective. However, screenwriting can serve as a platform for experimentation and a reflection of new ideas, insights, and hands-on experience, meeting the demand for a systematic understanding of the writer’s processes. The results of this study provide preliminary insights into the mechanisms of emotional transportation, identification, and eureka moments in screenwriting practice. The study suggests that the transportation effect in writers is induced by a feeling of security, which arises from the limitations of the assignment. The data also suggests that pressure can lead to more original dramaturgical solutions. As such, this experimental pilot study already sheds light on the screenwriter’s artistic process. Yet, it has limitations, including a small number of informants and the novelty of the research method.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Figuration and Character Emotion in Cinema: The Role of Embodied Affective Cues<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper engages with research on embodiment, cognition, and figurative meaning in cinema to develop a system for categorizing the cinematic cues that viewers use to gauge character affective experience. Many film theorists whose work is primarily focused on affective experience consider the relationship between the spectator and the character’s facial and bodily expressions. However, films often convey the affective states of characters by integrating bodily expressions with cinematic techniques, such as lighting, framing, and editing. These cinematic techniques can provide insight into a character’s affective states through their figurative associations with represented moods, feelings, and emotions. By exploring the metonymic, metaphoric, and similative properties of cinematic representations of affect, we can better understand how cinematic representations are understood by a community of viewers. Throughout this paper, I put forth the framework of “embodied affective cues” and identify behavioral, physical, and environmental cues to address how a character’s affective experience is represented by cinematic cues external to their body.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Production Design Metaphor: Implications of Situated Authorship and Meaning-Making<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The task of production design is to create locations where cinematic events occur. Since the subjective experiences of the characters in the film are mainly observable externally, the entire film practice aims to express them through secondary means, for example by design and cinematography. The filmmaker can choose what she brings to the foreground from the character’s experience and what aspects she emphasizes. In the case of production design, it is possible to express metaphorical correlations through the spatialization process of cinematic events while anticipating the embodied situatedness of the camera and the eventual film viewer. The notion of situated authorship is discussed through iconic design examples from <italic>Gone With the Wind</italic> and <italic>The Birds</italic>, which have historically shaped the concept of production design practice. In the case study referring to my work as a designer, I intend to evaluate the schemas used in the spatialization process in the context of Embodied Simulation Theory (EST) and Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT). Here, I propose the idea of a dynamic staging scenario that indicates how cinematic movement – especially the action of the scene and the movement of the camera onset – is considered in spatialization. With the discussion, I conduct a design analysis with which the properties of the space can be evaluated based on the concepts of image schema, primary metaphor, and conceptual metaphor.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Review: Tristan Priimägi, , Tallinn: Varrak, 2020, ISBN 978-9985-3-5021-8, 239 pp. Elysium: the political economy of radical game distribution<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper explores <italic>Disco Elysium</italic>’s first major expansion, “Working Class Update” as emblematic of the potential fracture between the game’s themes and its politics of production and distribution. Our central claim is that in this update, the studio has reacted to the audience’s appreciation for the game’s labor themes within broader dissatisfaction with the industry’s otherwise exploitative practices, yet was constrained by the contemporary dynamics of said industry. First, we examine <italic>Disco Elysium</italic>’s radical political orientation and the platformized political economy of digital game distribution through ZA/UM’s origins within the Estonia-specific ICT scene. Second, we describe the current state of videogames distribution, in critical dialog with Dyer-Witheford and De Peuter’s concept of a “game of multitude.” We show the limits and contradictions of <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> to enact radical political stance in a grow-ingly consolidated and platform-dependent video games market. Finally, through a qualitative empirical analysis of the community’s responses to the Worker’s Class Update on Reddit and Steam, we examine the game’s fit into the above-mentioned framework through key themes of dissonant development, tactical games and software commons.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Special Issue on“You Won’t Even Know Who You Are Anymore”: Bakthinian Polyphony and the Challenge to the Ludic Subject in<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>When approaches to the notion of the ‘self’ as it exists in the game have been discussed in game studies – for instance, through work in existential ludology or through discussions of agency – the ‘self’ in question, explicitly or implicitly, has tended to be the rational, stable, unified and coherent self of the humanist tradition.</p> <p>By fracturing the ludic subject into a set of contrasting and conflicting voices, each with their own apparent motivations and goals, <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> presents a challenge to this singular and unified understanding of selfhood. That this challenge is situated within the representation of a figure who, at face value, seems to represent the very locus of the authoritative, self-possessed subjectivity of humanism – not only a straight, middle-aged white man, but also a figure of police and colonial authority – strengthens the game’s critical slant.</p> <p>Drawing on theories of ludic and virtual subjectivity, this paper will approach <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> with a focus on this undermining of stable and unitary understanding of subjectivity. First, the game will be considered in relation to the tradition of <italic>film noir,</italic> and the way the genre both established and subverted the figure of the detective as the avatar of stable, rational, authoritative masculine selfhood. Next, its treatment of the theme of amnesia will be considered, drawing a parallel to Jayemanne’s (2017) reading of <italic>Planescape: Torment</italic> to examine how the loss of memory creates structures of discontinuity and rupture in the represented ludic self. Finally, Bakhtinian notions of polyphony will be invoked to address the game’s plurality of different voices not (as it is usually present) in a dialogue between individual subjects but within a single, fragmented subjectivity.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Object Gives Rise to Thought: Hermeneutics of Objects in<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article presents an analysis and interpretation of <italic>Disco Elysium</italic>, an award-winning videogame published by ZA/UM studio in 2019. The main problem explored in the research concerns the ontological basis upon which the game builds the complex personality of its protagonist and his relationship with the storyworld. The main theoretical works utilized in the analysis and interpretation are Object-Oriented Ontology by Graham Harman and Existence and Hermeneutics by Paul Ricoeur. My thesis is that <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> presents time, events and history as the effects of various tensions between the protagonist and the objects. In doing so, the game offers a non-anthropocentric perspective on human being and gives rise to questions about objects as a basis for rethinking the human condition. The article concludes with the formulation of a possible new hermeneutical approach founded on Object-Oriented Ontology.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Game Making Spaces: and the game making community in Estonia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article discusses <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> in the context of the development of game making communities in Estonia and international production networks. Drawing on an analysis of secondary sources, in-depth interviews and a survey with game makers in Estonia, this article contributes to studies on national and regional game-production cultures. The aim of this article is two-fold. First, it contributes to studies of game production cultures by discussing the development and structure of game-making communities in Estonia. As such, it enriches the understanding of game production in Europe by providing empirical data about game making in Estonia. Second, based on the example of <italic>Disco Elysium</italic>, the article demonstrates how national, regional and international production networks contribute to the spatial politics of game production. In conclusion, this article emphasises the importance of the construction of space in game production and the asymmetries of power among game production regions.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue“Making Sense in a Senseless World”: ’s Absurd Hero<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article examines the representation of mental health issues in the computer role-playing game <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> by using Albert Camus’ theory of the absurd as a basis. Through his daily work routine as a detective, the protagonist Harry DuBois’ trauma unfolds through the course of the game while simultaneously revealing the psychosocial aspects of trauma. Interpreting Harry’s existential struggles as those of an absurd hero supports the idea that finding (greater) meaning is not a necessity when coping with trauma.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Hanged Rhizome on the Tree: Arborescence and Multiplicity in<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper looks at <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> as a model for a better understanding of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s concept of the rhizome when applied to video games. It analyses the use and implementation of the many forms of expressing multiplicity that are present in <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> and that are manifested through the configuration of the avatar, the use of the player’s choice, and representations of space and time in the game. Ultimately, this paper also serves as a coalescence of existing Game Studies scholarship on rhizomic relations, multiplicities and affect to create a common ground for future conversations on these topics.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue“What kind of cop are you?”: ’s Technologies of the Self within the Posthuman Multiverse<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>I suggest in this article, drawing upon Francesca Ferrando, Karen Barad and N Katherine Hayles, that <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> illustrates the human through the mode of a ‘posthuman multiverse’. Per Ferrando, humans and other beings act as nodes in a material multiverse while what we think, eat, our behaviours and relations, create part of a rhizomatic ecology that can be understood as who and what we are. This, I illustrate, overcomes a complicated tension in existing posthuman theory, particularly as it relates to game studies. Although theorists have detailed the entanglement of players and machines, and the new materialist nature of becoming, it is unclear to what extent human-machine assemblages can be said to be a singular ‘thing’. This is tackled in <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> as the seemingly mundane and often invisible actions the player takes, all play a role in constructing Harry Dubois and the world that is also endlessly producing him. Game actions, therefore, can be viewed as ‘technologies of the multiverse’, the ontological functions through which beings come to exist in a dimension. The game positions the player in a ‘relational intra-activity’ not only with the actions and outcomes of play, as discussed in previous scholarship, but also with the hypothetical outcomes of choices they have <italic>not</italic> made. When read through the lens of Ferrando’s philosophical posthuman multiverse, <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> represents a valuable resource for bridging gaps in contemporary posthuman scholarship.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue