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After Effects, or Velvet Revolution (Part 1)


This article is a first part of the series devoted to the analysis of the new hybrid visual language of moving images that emerged during the period of 1993-1998. Today this language dominates our visual culture. While narrative features mostly stick to live cinematography and video shot by ordinary people with consumer video cameras and cell phones is similarly usually left as is, everything else – commercials, music videos, motion graphics, TV graphics, and other types of short non-narrative films and moving image sequences being produced around the world by the media professionals including companies, individual designers and artists, and students – are hybrid.
In the 1989 former Soviet satellites of Central and Eastern Europe have peacefully liberated themselves from the Soviet Union. In the case of Czechoslovakia, this event came to be referred as Velvet Revolution – to contrast it to typical revolutions in modern history that were always accompanied by bloodshed. To emphasize the gradual, almost invisible pace of the transformations which occurred in moving image aesthetics between approximately 1993 and 1998, I am going to appropriate the term Velvet Revolution to refer to this transformations. Therefore, this series of articles is subtitled Velvet Revolution in moving image culture. Although it may seem presumptuous to compare political and aesthetics transformations simply because they share the same non-violent quality, as we will see in the later article, the two revolutions are actually related. But we can only make this connection after we analyses in detail how the aesthetics and the very logic of moving images changed during this period.

Article  2006