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Plug-in Cinema


Plug In Cinema: (..) where do you see the future of online filmmaking heading?

Lev Manovich: In the last ten years we have seen a proliferation of a number of new moving image aesthetics: motion graphics, Flash animations on the Web, live action / traditional animation / computer animation in feature films, and so on. What most of them have in common is that they are hybrid, combining different style of imagery. Live action co-exists with graphic design, typography, photorealistic 3-D animation, more stylized, flattened 3-D animation, 2-D cell animation, etc. We see these different aesthetics in feature length films, in music videos, in TV graphics and Web graphics; and a new generation of Web designers is now bringing this hybridity to short films they have started to make.

In comparison, most of the online films have remained more conservative, steaking to traditional cinema aesthetics and language. Browsing through online film sites such as, I rarely see films which adopted hybrid aesthetics; and if one finds them, they are delegated to “experimental” section. Moreover, new possibilities offered by digital moving image software – hyperlinks imbedded in a moving image, or real-time assemblage of shots under software control, or multiple camera angles – have not being tried out at all. (This is the paradoxical situation which I sometimes refer as “avant-garde as software”: our software is much more “experimental” than whatever art works people actually do with it.) I don’t know if this will happen but I would like to see online filmmakers exploring these new possibilities.

2002  Interview