Notes on Film Distribution: Networks, Screens and Practices
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The chapter begins with the premise that the shift from analogue to digital technologies in the practices of film distribution and exhibition has introduced new ways of organizing, crafting and handling the materials involved in these practices. While under this light, the fields of media and cultural studies have recently drawn theoretical attention to the alternative, or informal, forms of film delivery (Cubitt, 2005; Lobato, 2012) or the transnational channels of legal and illegal film distribution (Wang, 2003), my intention is to shed light on the contemporary, local and situated working practices of a particular institution, the Curzon Artificial Eye (CAE) distribution and exhibition company in London, UK. In particular, this ethnographic study examines the work and technologies-in-use in two sets of practices: the analogue and digital theatrical projection as it is operated at the Renoir Cinema (a member of the Curzon Cinemas chain) and the video-on-demand (VOD) service ‘Curzon on Demand’, a streaming platform of non-theatrical film distribution and exhibition. Drawing on the methodological and analytical tools of the material semiotic version of science and technology studies (STS) and their call to attend to practices as constitutive of objects, this investigation aims to inquire on the materials, technologies and networks that shape and get shaped by the practices of film projection and exhibition. Relationally it intends to illustrate the generative role of these practices in the interdependent relation between the object of film and the object of the screen and as such to shed light on the continuously transformative socio-material networks that have been integral parts of cinema history.
KeywordsDigital Technology Demand Service Analogue Projection Movie Theatre Digital Projection
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