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Audiovisual Cultures episode 42 – Cinema and Technology with Dr Rebecca Harrison automated transcript


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hello I'm Paula planner and this is audio visual cultures the podcast that explores and examines aspects assigned an image based cultural production on their wider implications I'm thrilled to be joined this time by Dr Rebecca Harrison to talk about her research on technology and sentiment three topics such as coding and the Star Wars franchise and sentiments relationship with real waste thanks to a Petri on members and everybody has been engaging on social media it's a really big help and you're very much appreciate it I'll be back after my chat with her back after his ways you can be part of the conversation and support the continuation of a podcast do you enjoy the discussion very face to be joined by doctor back at Harrison he's doing to say from the university of Glasgow and its lecture and exit theatre film and television film and television studies back it is and you counsel to give a talk by some of your Star Wars research unlike many academic she got many strings to your bow but I think because of your talk maybe we could start with your Star Wars research broadly speaking the stock was project is about hello I'm calling computational cinema so it's about the relationship between the digital and film but rather than thinking about that in a series that takes away I'm thinking more about the relationship between software and the production of software and when it is implemented in the film industry to produce film that is digital and its oncology or digitally set collected in the street however I am doing is thinking about the gendered and raced to production of southwest and the ways that gentamicin forms algorithms coaching programming and what that means for the film industry and what impact it has on the way that we see cinema and how it's presented to this style was makes a really good case study in this project because of its longevity and just how big the franchises and the fact that it's not that you know just at a point in nineteen seventy seven when you get the first wife and graphics appeared in film so it's really the moment of changing all the way up to now and it goes through the cycles of the analog referencing the digital to almost completely digital and then now %HESITATION switching back to this as a kind of tension between the outlook in the ditch to the homes with puppetry making a comeback some of the films are shot on thirty five millimeters I think it is a mix of film and materials science and the digital coming together so it's a very interesting case study for thinking about a lot of these questions and looks at because it sells for thinking about the authorship of them and he gets to make decisions about labor practices and production practices and gender race is seven a lot of comparisons between the original trilogy and then I suppose is the original film which became a trilogy and then the prequels how you did without and then what we're seeing now I assertion status can you preach that's happening with federal Bustin JJ Abrams either parent I leave stands between the technologies and gender politics yeah I mean that's something I'm so pretty just trying to start thinking about and there's no consistency across the sky was franchise at any given time because there's so many power sex and that protects and doing different things but that's definitely patents within the console's moments of the seventies and eighties original trilogy essay using technology in a particular way and the consent of gender race of being soaked about represented in particular like very very different to happen to pretty cool scene in the late nineties and early two thousands of millennial moment which is actually follow us yes that's what I was thinking yeah S. gender race politics in the prequels that just so much worse which says that she quite a lot I think about the culture at the time yes and and that kind of place feminist movement certainly now it's really interesting because I mean it's still a huge kind of major corporation it's Disney company get away from that in terms of politics but they are taking steps to address some of those problems which is why so much of that is the kind of try to find a polite way to talk about the stuff that happens online and the backlash against against having women actually speaking in the cost during the break thing being restrained it does seem like across all of this does Texas the moment even a straight white men are dominating the action still there is something more critical about that happening and I think that that's in part because the Lucasfilm story group which is the in a separate people who control what comes stock was common artists across the franchise they are themselves a from a diverse group of people not another country nights as a recording device solo a Star Wars story and just to try and draw all of those ideas into one thing just one example I'm really terrible with remembering the names of the robots and stuff but you know they're set in the robot and not fully study Phoebe Waller bridge L. three L. three because I was wondering what you what you may have heard because I am worried that maybe there was because she kind of almost starts a feminist uprising that's also a Marxist uprising but I was wondering about the whites robot helps that she has an S. or something a bit racially stereotyping maybe black women that's a really interesting question when I heard about the film when it came out and I'm talking quite a lot about L. three okay my paper today yeah that's fine that card just like totally fascinating particularly because L. three is on my my my all of these questions about gender race %HESITATION coding and programming will come together the bodies in the character I find the racial question above three really difficult I kind of identify L. three as feminists because of the conversation like droid rights and the way that walk she sang about her exes marks on to heaven estimates and I thought the same when I when you see her walking is kind of coded in a racial what however Phoebe Waller bridge's is white and was doing motion capture for the film so she was dressed in a way that we can match and antiseptic yeah this kind of work server presumably unless there's been some kind of significant integration in post production that's mapping on to have movement and I can't tell if that's about our pre conceptions about all kind of racial biases yeah or if it's something that they have deliberately done in film I contel and it's difficult because you're sort of looking at a robot figure that doesn't actually exist and then think about like how to move and what would that look like if you turned it into that shape is quite difficult it's definitely true that is a robot there she looks far more feminized in her appearance than the male robots all masculine yes she's not kind of tiny robots fave moving around in the desert I got frustrated this summer because I thought the more recent films have done a lot of really good work towards moving towards the right direction and that one to me felt like it regressed a bit yeah and also that really kill characters children killed off pretty here today so she's one of them L. three is one of those bonds yeah after an officer and yeah was it finally a woman of color black women he has major speaking role in the style was foam and she said she said and I thought it was a total cop out of a total waste of her character I thought that science that she's really on to use both of them one of the things that struck me as a lying in that film I think it's when they're about to the Castle Rock and learn the millennium falcon and I think it might be palm says we need to break free this is putting us around in circles and I thought it was such a neat way of thinking about what the Disney era film to doing that yeah those that we've kind of moved beginning to move forward with the force awakens to an extent was rogue one the last date I had that kind of incredible female calls even though it was actually on screen as much as you need to remember but then and then we get to set up and then it feels like Disney would play into the kind of white mandali audiences have been critiquing all the other films this was a kind of I don't know if this is the philosophy the feminist joints dies the women of color dyes second medicated for the night yeah really annoying to me I was guided and say in the cinema that's kind of weird and just watch it at home it was frustrating because I didn't think of rule as a film it was really a bad film yeah it was quite enjoyable in lots of ways yeah moments I really liked but I think that's quite close the cool back actually to use the empire strikes back which I re watched recently and there's a moment and not which I never made the connection the full well Landau is the trying to skate cloud city and London was crouching behind one of the guns on the millennium falcon and I'll teach you is moving towards them and like trying to get on the ship amid this he's kind of gone fight this government imperial stormtroopers and shooting at them and it gave it is completely different emotional resonance the case now if using satellites that exact moment happens with L. three running towards many mountain land across behind the guns and then she dies I mean I'm so kind of emotionally becomes meaning of your search to now watch what was the only film which comes later criminology which is the joy of us invest this makes sense to anyone reading it you change that scene and I thought quite a meaningful impact in an interesting way so I think the phone was completely without merit and the way that it sits in the store was kind and it's quite interesting but it totally failed some of its impact thanks but it is just their relationship there was a hint of something towards for months with them I take it that they were making very light that she was convinced that Lando was obsessively in love with her but she was donated its foundry ticket that he really was in love with her I thought that was part of the stereotype of the strong feminists person and she's convinced this mom loves her but actually he's tolerating her I thought maybe it was poking fun that that kind of stereotype yeah I think either way there was quite a bit of sweetness and their relationship hi Bob bunker that was very different from male male boxer yeah one of the still those novels which I'm not my kind of guy to better much as I love the phones they're actually really fascinating is the way that they look develop some of the themes and stories from the phones one of the novels lost shop which is sold as a Han and Lando story and assistance to be about two male characters but it actually really is so much about L. three and it's so it's sad I think it sets something like four years off the return of the Jedi and it takes place in multiple timelines so the case there are these flashbacks to the early period of time L. three features quite heavily hi relationship with Lando and that is quite useful actually and she's given the space to talk about droids ontology and the way that they live in and the fact that they have personalities and and the life and the nature of artificial intelligence and some of the ethics around joined in human interactions it's a really sweet relationship Mr instructive and he kind of really listens to her okay and place one is reflecting on this and is it a kind of sense of partnership between and he follows her lead as much as she follows his and I think this is actually sort of been thinking about this is I mean really just occurred to me in the last day it's a slightly under developed on the plates line of thought but that doesn't seem to be something interesting that style was is doing in its representation of relationships between I'm kind of cutting L. three is a white woman just because a few people that between white women and men of color seven the snorkel S. three various things L. three and under do they end up as a path between them kind of saving the galaxy from being taken over by the sea I found this really tired you know I would love to hear about setting to be reading in he's a great to say save me reading a styles and that was kind of interesting and I was in for that to that kind of not something what they do in rogue one where you have a Latino man in the form of Cassie and %HESITATION tool and the white woman Janice so yeah who was going to route the case from the narrative but I say it's Alex yes it really makes me wonder what they're going to do with rose in episode nine yeah because it seems like following that path it will be a partnership of rain fed which is finally coming full rampant technicality it makes me wonder what they gonna do with various characters and how they gonna create space for her as a woman of color to exist in that Martin and I thought Rosen fender nice partnership with Dave Brady rest off each other nicely and last night she was my favorite character and not have to say I mean obviously the fails for Carrie Fisher throws I just loved her character and I think she must have the most quoted line from that film don't fight what you hate save what you love yeah which you see everywhere slogans and people talking about the franchise and being quoted and cited within not the presence of a secret accounts goes into relationships and between the humans or humanoids on their robot characters that's probably maybe go into much into thinking about the idea of the site work but then it's not really the same effect I think in one of the novels there is such a character who barely features he's described as a site right but it doesn't really address WHYY there are some booksellers as far as I know there are many sites books unless you count Luke and Vader %HESITATION yes it is okay because they have to have a close Emmy favorites I guess actually plays but never describe that way but you don't see that I think because it's hidden under all of those you don't really realize yeah definitely feels quite late on in the franchise he's actually mostly by only I suppose it depends which way round G. V. the chronology of the ads in terms of the release of the film six point light but in terms of the story out cases even I still get totally confused about which time nine AM to I suppose if we're talking about technology and storage we must mention the lightsaber for many reasons the file like object yeah very obvious expandable file like objects on the color schemes read seems to be the bad guys read and call her real world means different things do you think it's coming from the radicals and walks communism is feared us and in the United States because a lot of countries read start positive that's not really thought that much about the colors of the night I think they meant to install was mythology you come to come enjoy a pretty movie SS until you've made your own like safe I think the feeling is that Brady between either we will see it happen I don't think you really see it in the oven she was somewhere between eight and nine have created her lightsaber so it's part of that you know moving from that training typically again that's at I. PhD I guess it's the difference between like studying for a PhD doctor is making your life and I think that they choose that color so I had to do a home have a mug that simple for me that's one of those ones we put the whole turned in the allies favor magically appear and they're actually a surprising array of colors so I think the right ones do tend to be the dockside cactus but there are a couple of them thanks and clamoring the I. have spectrum and notify %HESITATION I've just enjoyed a couple bit to hear once I think being in close proximity with Andre it was going to happen sooner or later that I've walked stole phones I still really don't like the prequels and I go back to them not tried of trying to set up them so much and I just come home and I tried to watch the first one note the headlight kit C. GI animation films as one of the things that the army being vaguely interesting set up actually I think this is I feel like that part of the thinking and being that this kind of expendable falcon Jackson says book by an academic safety plan in which she talks about binary code and the generating of binary code three zeros and ones in which case we think that when and as representing zeros in network intensive thinking like kind of tea Fassel's waiting to be filled and then ones being the kind of masculine phallic objects when you look at the iconography of styles it's really interesting that everything that is round and circle and secular he's a kind of storage device cool contains information can hold something within it so when you look at the desk the last person to talk to you too to record a message that's what kind of a supplement BB eight who has the information contained is secular the death star and the couple was opening the gate and the force awakens is it Starkiller base I was gonna say I'm wrong because it sounds really bad that probably right I think that's what it's called and they contain things within that contains the details within them but everything that's a kind of straight line is something that's kind of phallic amassed a nice income three things and destroys things seem like safe as the digital %HESITATION tena transmitting information to round objects you can I see this kind of weird binary package which is gendered not quite sure I'm going but it's it's kind of you know it's definitely worth thinking about I suppose and thinking about your work more generally than on the relationship between technologies and different apparatuses on sentiment tell us a bit about your retention work on trains yeah it's quite nice to be asked about trying just talks to me about stuff the US to come and get this paper today I said would you like me to talk about railways maternity or to let us talk about styles and Cody Miller Cody stalls speaks with James that project was not dissimilar in its approach and it was thinking about the intersections of different forms of media technology to thinking about right away asmedia and the mediatek spirits of movement I was looking at the period between the period between nineteen ninety five and nineteen forty eight in person and really just exploring how to connect the machines actresses of cinema segmentation to other technologies around them and how they were informed by the other kind of machinery of the industrial revolution but also what it meant to say in a cinema OTEC project %HESITATION and how you might understand that based on having taken a train somewhere or having listened to a radio any of the other kinds of things are going on in that period I mean I suppose there's so much going to with the relationships between modes of transport and the modern periods %HESITATION the cinema it's a modern apartments maybe the modern art form I suppose the idea of amazement spades Kannada says I'm a chemical reactions that have to happen to move forwards together so a lot of analogies between yeah I think particularly with the roadway and cinema all of these media changing the relationship that people have to time and space which is I guess the key cultural shift that maternity brings about the mechanization makes happen the tiny feel if you're sitting on a train while you're sitting in a cinema you being taken to a different space but you're not actually moving Hanson this is kind of weird relationship between simultaneously being static and yet mobile and you're watching a landscape vicariously switch being mediated by windows machines moving or screen and sheen that is moving so there's always a way which is removed from the experience that you have even though you are being tabulated into that kind of world of space will thing that's happening in front of you this is in harmony cinematic in a way being on a train if you're on a windows eight for example you're watching the world go by quite high speed too many hundred miles an hour and this landscapes whizzing past you you can see out to the coast even with miles away does it really strange and fascinating phenomenon on trains mostly between the nineteen twenties and probably around nineteen forty eight what does this this kind of evidence of the same happening all the way up into the nineteen eighties whether they would put a cinema carriage on a train I mean it's been different iterations of this and you get that kind of Hale's tools which of the novelty cinema spaces that look like rolling carriages in around nineteen oh eight but these are actual cinema built into a carriage attached to train they only run on the London north eastern railway but at least that's the only one with a half feet paying customers who were passengers on the train and it's a regular service but what we really really fascinates me about it was it on a lot of these they were Chinese rules basically I think they tried out showing silent films initially was no musical company it's just the sounds of warfare why would she do that so eventually they sound fans you would what Jesus which seems far more logical yeah this is the beginning of Mobil oil having use only guys getting information lan using fiber now sitting with the tablets and laptops and mobiles and watching news and following social media trends passes much any precedent but yes sometimes policies newsreels they which shows tourist films about places on the route the airline said you would sometimes be watching footage shot from a moving train that was spending projected inside a blocked out rowing carriage as you're moving through that same C. was seeing something that was already mediated by the railway mediated through a camera and then check back on the train when you can just watch it in the first place which seems like a very convoluted way of engaging with the environment back then we didn't make people more likely to think I would like to visit there and actually get off the train you know what another journey now because he knows us with %HESITATION history there's always this question god why did no one right this I think unfortunately that conversations just gone was never was never recorded yet something the endlessly fascinating to me about the idea of watching a train journey on the film on the change and when you can just watch it as it happens there's an Irish article private charity he said that %HESITATION understand something we need to first media that's maybe it's not convincing maybe notice it more because it's on the screen here fixing it it's late and I guess that is actually asking for your attention if you were just sitting in a carriage would you be looking out window it should be reading the paper or novel having conversation eating lunch you know there's I guess is this a way of making you look I didn't know how to create screens banner carrots yeah I think it since nineteen twenty four the festival in inverted commas experiment has already started up in the US because we see they have a much much longer trains yet in the end makes sense is already happening that %HESITATION seem restaurants so you have the phenomenon of having my boss in the house but I just want to be I think they tended to be cinemas in trying hard to move around the country but will be static at the point of the screening process onto a blockchain Wallem unity yeah because it's become very normal on long haul flights and on ferry journeys for example if government loan board sentiment words and backed in the back of the scene from TF plan for example that idea if what you're waiting on the grind very fast that's very different yeah actually the train predates the UAC has that she's probably %HESITATION he's the trend does predate the plane in terms of showing films any parties so I think it's nineteen twenty six you get the first really yeah and the first kind of according to I mean I'm always a bit low is to say sorry because there's always one that came before that no one knows about yeah the first one we have documentation at the moment it was not one of the big world as in the US gosh you wouldn't think so doxing is a huge phenomenon in the twenties and thirties of how can we put screens into meeting spaces both ships trains planes yeah one of the I think it's a way of trying to perhaps pacifying people I think actually at the time it was more about making a big statement and that way of proving innovation on the Tennessee particularly as around the twenties and thirties when they use different forms of transport we start to be competitive in that case they become for example the flight system expensive and reason being you in the public imagination but it becomes possible to go to a commercial airline and take a flight and that's precisely what ships are working today and the trains are losing out on that business team shipping companies who are now taking people approach less money but they won the domestic holidays to still set everyone's beginning to be more competitive and it's a way of saying look elsewhere shiny new companies on technology yes the hidden world of screens on transport and then do you ever ever thought to go the other way in the country and then some are getting mad at like tree and then the film on the trans like do go that way actually the projects and think about what train transport looks like on the screen okay so in documentary form and users but also in action films which is a lot of fun because often those of detective stories will have to train wrecks in them especially from late in the fence cities in forty to get rid of that cannot see some trains which apart from yeah I guess I found it a kind of more specific to the exact moment of its release I didn't miss anything generics have often but you know I said it it she questions with the ways in which they represent women broadly speaking all of those phones have women characters who are doing some kind of work on the railway even as a kind of in and out to capacity so you get lots of %HESITATION lots of women detectives who finds themselves on trains and the train journey becomes this transformative experience with actually usually start out with quite a ton of miss confident single women and by the end of it Hey fiends handed into these kind of %HESITATION good material for what seven sentence does that the record does that the lady vanishes does that iris starts out at the beginning Barry sat on her particular Jenny and then over the course of that train ride she becomes very submissive wife you figure you'll see as well you get the investors that you get a professional criminal women so in Hitchcock's there was a conference number seventy six and when I was thinking of %HESITATION Kate plus ten which is in the thirties whether women is that correct criminal and then again this is transformative change any that takes place and she ends up marriage to the detective who is usually having gone through some kind of you know I think number seventeen cheese in the train wreck and she's about to drown and he said to himself baptism and she manages cleansed from the experience of need to be a good toy such there is something quite interesting about the train on screen and women passengers yes there's been a very subtle going through a tunnel some point to high space that's the north by northwest and the other focus includes the thirty nine steps marketing Carolus now someone to rent space and %HESITATION that's que sera sera the machine because that's really fascinating stuff do you want to talk about aids the really cool thing to do with teaching I know you've been trying really hard to provision of women filmmakers and the labor of women in film so if you were a friend to hear mark I thought yeah it's been a kind of an ongoing project over the last two years to send to feminism and postcolonial thought discourse in undergraduate teaching on a cool course rather than an optional modules I mean Archie this is because it's based on my own my own experiences the experiences of other women people of color around me based in the workplace in film criticism in the film industry more broadly and in the academy and just thinking about everyone comes anything something needs to change these are the issues that I'm still facing not necessarily from students but just from the other people that they work from the industry itself although I say that as if the industry itself isn't people one of the ways that we somehow manage to devolve responsibility away from them yes there is just so I think you know what has to change in order for things to get back to me and to my mind at least maybe the kind of optimism though I went into teaching with was that the classrooms a space where we can do a lot of this work and I remember when I started doing this I look back at my own undergraduate course yeah when I was learning and I was you know trust your undergraduate two thousand five and I still got love mine for cemex because I'm terrible academic bits of paper when I looked today and I was really struck by the fact that when a twenty week course there were only three films directed by women that's a lot compared to what cool experimental film in a way where we want to films yeah America remember exactly what the total figure fill in the forms of the you know the way maybe to feature films by men of color and though the streets from into shorts and everything else is by what Montana citizens two thousand and five that's not the only guy in the room and I said simple happen in like fifteen years time to listen to %HESITATION but it is only two thousand five they did things differently and I'm not having that like PPL it was amazing and she felt so %HESITATION I mean I love to live my lectures don't get me wrong but I just felt so let down by that yeah I know exactly how you feel and I think your story is gonna be echoed by a lot of this yeah Armani's and I actually think sadly it's gonna be a card for students who are in classrooms right online yeah so unless we start doing something to change it keep talking about things this is my kind of metric and like stop talking about doing things differently and be the difference I think I just want to get students take elective modules and feminism or gender in film but then how many students going through the whole time investing without ever having to engage with any existing case yeah because they don't want to do with that and she can do the whole being subtle and dropping and they're very nice again but it's it's not appropriate you know these are massive questions yeah and the world right now I don't really wasn't the idea as well that we have to do this in a way that is soft I mean I've been told to maybe try doing this animal suffering because they want to take people so much by I really resent the idea is that talking about quality is something that we have to hide because if you're having to hide it to make people get people on board with it and then not really engaging with it they're actually just maybe going along with it because I don't know what's that I mean I could teach this is not something that's just me and this is you know I am a conversation with other people that's fine I mean something not just done by myself in isolation so I could teach him we this service was on the course but the way it's being we've designed it is to have everything on the course pretty much everything the locals directed by women so it's a film in TV history modules that can cover anything and everything really I mean how you make selections to teach ten week course that covers all of film and TV history you're already living outside much of course Sir I mean you always have to find an organizational logic that's what's necessary again anything's out well I've tried to do is to find ways to accommodate the kind of major moments in film and TV that people are usually safe you say oh I'm teaching teaching women in cinema it's almost like the existing genre outside of the rest of history what does that even mean hi def because it's going to mean different things to different people yeah I don't swim inspectors the Douglas Sirk melodramas for example so that's not what you mean by cinnamon made by women and then films say directed or written by women they're not necessarily feminists yeah the last thing that I've really enjoyed discussing with students on the course is the moments where you watch something that was directed by women and that sometimes it kind of shocked that it's not feminist you'll resolve the issue we watched where are my children she knows what the film from let's say nineteen fifty I mean it's actually one of the few films I've ever given a content warning about an advance the screening because it's pro conversation to film but only for someone and it's bounty abortion in making arguments about using contraception and it's mostly private contraceptive so that poll working class women in poverty well no multiply and produced hundreds of children to create more problems for society if you're a wealthy white middle class women then you should not use contraceptives or abortion restraint yeah how dare you sitting there with your feet up you should not buy children for your husband I mean it's at the same time it's quite critical of the ways that men make decisions about women's bodies and it was at the time considered fairly radical women led film ways what would have been more at the time considered feminist so it's really interesting to get students to think about how that has changed and so the fact that there are lots of fluids in a lot of feminist history that require more thinking particularly on the pile of middle class white women I think it's like this kind of endlessly fascinating topic to think about with the ways that women engage in the film industry while preconceptions of my kind of approach that has been to teach what tend to be the big moments in film and TV history the Eiffel in previous iterations of these kinds of seventy courses service only from that as classical Hollywood's British wartime cinema there might be some fetching way and you can do that entirely teaching from starts Harriman county town you can assist the hex you can teach resist technological murder you can teach all of it with them started by women and they don't have to exist in a little like this in the course of that only ten students to taking because he put women in the talking I think it's already kind of positive it's really really useful as well in terms of getting people to think about what do we mean by the film canon he creates it what is our ideological approach in the classroom as teaches on why we're not talking about that with students and why we are helping students to think about what that policy so what that ideologies because we're constantly teaching them audiology means and it belonging to other people but is an important that they learn to reflect on their own when king and ethics package thank you so much yeah it's been great to have a lovely conversation about phone in our you've been listening to the audio visual culture shift me Paula Blair and Rebecca Harrison this episode was recorded and edited by Paul the player and the music is common grind by an error tone licensed under creative Commons attribution three point zero and I noted from CC mix stir dot org if you like the show please support its production with donations to pay pal dot me forward slash P. E. A. B. L. A. I. R. or become a member on Petri on dot com forward slash a C. cultures from as little as one dollar a month on the paper you can tear patrons receive access to exclusive previews extended show notes and video transcripts episodes are released every other Wednesday please to read share and subscribe on your chosen platform as this helps others find the show for more information and to see what any money received goes to words or how else you can be involved visit audio visual culture style wordpress dot com to be part of the conversation follow AP cultures on Facebook and Twitter for updates and thanks to items relevant to the discussions thanks very much for listening catch you next time