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Unformatted text preview: F R O M S E O U E N C E T O M U L T I P L I C I T Y l Cubist painting, as described in the epigraphs to this chapter, not only fractured the single viewpoint but also placed disparate objects on the same spatial plane, adjacent and simultaneous. In striking contrast to the many modes of representation that shattered the fixity of single-point perspective, the media of film and television-in their dominant forms through most of the twentieth century-were viewed in a single frame, seen on a single screen. Variations of scale, position, and camera angle from shot to shot may alter the positioned fixiqt of the camera's vieq but these shifts in "perspective" arc ftquen- tial and do not occur on the same picture plane as in cubist painting, chrono- photography or dadaist collage.2 As moving images follow each other in sequence-frame-by-frame, shot-by-shot-they are held within the fixed frame ofa screen, a surface that holds its constancy regardless ofthe continuous or rad- ically discontinuous spatial and temporal relation between shots. In this way, the prevailing format for moving-irnage media did not follow literary, painterly, or even architectural challenges to the perspectival frame but held on much longer to the strictures of its "symbolic forml' In the century-long history of film and the half-century-long history of television, there are only limited examples of either multiple-screen display or multiple-screen composition within the single frame.3 That is, until recently. With the advent of digital imaging technologies and new technologies of display in the r99os, the media "window" began to fol- low painting's and architecture's lead in the challenge to a fixed perspective. Hyperboles invite a challenge: there were, of course, exceptions to the dominant single-frame, single-screen paradigm. Experiments by filmmakers who toyed with layers of superimposition, split screens, and multiple-screen projections-from Richter to Ruttman, from Brakhage to Warhol, from Abel Gance to Charles and Ray Eames, from Zbigniew Rybczynski to Mike Fig- gis-provide a catalog of resistance to the dominant form of screenic display. But these exceptions also prove the rule. The rapid and recent remaking of cin- emairc, televisual, and computer-based forms of imaging and displayforce us to note, in retrospect, the remarkable historical dominance of the single-image, single-frame paradigm as an intransigent visual practice. The televisual image largely followed the cinema's conventions of a single-screen format and sequential floq but once the televisual apparatus became a multiple-channel receiver with the capacity for switching channels at will, aided and accelerated by a remote-control device, television added a new axis of spatial and temporal depth to the cinema's 6xed sequentiality....
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