Indeterminable Frames

A digital humanities + film and media studies project re-examining the moving image.





Works Cited


The conclusion of this project lies not on the idea of what, if anything, can be specifically and objectively ascertained from each of the films as case studies through the use of these methods. An individual interpretation of each of the works is up to you as a viewer to determine. A conclusion rests on the fact these methods offer a generative process for further visual study, rather than a conclusive statement or product. The analysis conducted centers the utilitarian nature of these tools.

Centuries-old empirical methods of acquiring knowledge such as the scientific method have taught us to prioritize conclusivity, ascertainty, confirmation, and pass-fail notions of hypothesizing. For the purposes of this project, I propose moving forward from this structure of inquiry, hence the conclusion I draw here for this project. The purpose of my conclusion is not to reject the scientific method of inquiry and drawing specific conclusions from works. I believe this may be productive for other studies; however, I aim for my conclusion to accept a non-definitive nature.

Various researchers can use the methods proposed through this digital humanities framework for viewing and engaging with these works for their further studies. These specific studies then depend on a researcher's own needs and proposed inquiries, and they are free to then form their own theses and conclusions. Just as other projects I've mentioned have paved the way for this work, this is on each of us as scholars, researchers, and audiences of film to expand this approach and explore a new method of visual understanding. I aim to continue thinking about this project and similar ideas as time progresses.

Using the frameworks within this project, we can study the use of color, brightness, tones, and shapes within films. We can explore new philosophical understandings of time and its relation to time-based media forms—works with physical and temporal dimensions that unfold to their viewer over time. For example, through the use of IMJ, we can visually depict sequences within a film and visualize their relation to the entirety of the given work during a single instance. (See Figure 1 featuring Hollis Frampton's (nostalgia) on the About page, which allowed us to see all 13 sequences at once.) This form of viewing changes the concept of time and its relation to a film.

During the process, one may be hesitant to make connections between traditionally analog works and their digital renderings and how that leaves large room for criticism of the work conducted here. While a 16mm print of a film scanned and digitized remains the same work in essence, the viewing of the work through a digital medium is no longer a similar experience. It was important to address this gap and transition of mediums through the theoretical frameworks spoke about at length in the About section. I again argue these methods are revisualizations and the artworks used are not reduced to static works for the purposes of digital technicality.

With these processes, we're able to determine that there are more to frames than meets the eye. What is a frame? What new meanings can we draw from its traditionally rectangular figure? What happens when we interrogate its form, its relation to time, and the ubiquitous nature of this four-cornered structure? And most importantly, what other means of viewing frames can we create? In the meantime, indeterminacy remains. However, new methods of viewing frames, analyzing moving images, and avenues for consciousness may arise in the future.