ISSN: 20456271
First published in 2012
2 issues per volume
Volume 5 Issue 1
Cover Date: June 2016
Special effects and uncanny affect: CGI and the post-cinematic uncanny
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Authors:  William Card 
DOI: 10.1386/ubiq.5.1.75_1

post-cinematic,uncanny,visual effects,visual arts,animation,affect,computer-generated imagery

This article introduces, presents and discusses the author’s practice-based artistic research. It situates the work, an investigation into the post-cinematic uncanny and the affective potential of visual effects technologies in art practice, within a theoretical context and moves towards the illumination of aspects of our relationship with certain types of digitally augmented moving imagery. The practice explores the post-cinematic uncanny as an intersection of visual arts, moving image, animation, cinema, television and visual effects linking it to theories of affect and post-cinema. It questions the nature and qualities of moving image in the twenty-first century, especially the pervasive and ubiquitous nature of computer-generated imagery (CGI) that supplements and augments digitally captured footage. In doing so it creates, explores and situates the post-cinematic uncanny within contemporary arts practice. The work employs technologies that were, until relatively recently, the preserve of high-end visual effects productions and aims to engender uncanny affect in its audience. It thus falls under the purview of Steven Shaviro’s speculations on post-cinematic affect. Shaviro’s ‘post-cinematic’ refers to the transformation of moving image practice and culture driven in part by the move to digital acquisition, manipulation, distribution, display and networked consumption. It provides a conceptual framework for this practice in relation to the wider context of cinema and moving image production. In the practice, visual effects technologies are employed site-specifically to create the impression of unknown yet familiar forms within the screen-space, creating new associations, fantastic implied narratives and extra-dimensional implications in otherwise mundane spaces. Still further removed from the profilmic event, these computer-generated images have no connection to the profilmic beyond an urge towards the ‘paradox of perceptual realism’. In this respect, CGI visual effects imagery may be analogous to Freud’s uncanny ‘double’.
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