Theaterwissenschaft München



Net Gain and Film Aesthetics

The project „Net Gain and Film Aesthetics“ investigates the impact of net based interaction and communication on stop motion animation film aesthetics. What aesthetic and economic results do we gain from the newest developments in regard to social networking sites (e.g. YouTube, MyVideo) that figure as framework for the presentation of stop motion films? Net based stop motion short film can only be accessed through these web sites – the medial framework of the filmic image can not be ignored. The film clip is classified in different tables and schedules, ratings and the number of visitors flash on the screen, and the archive of chat contributions to the film can be accessed here. On one hand, the clip becomes a debated object of discussion, the film author donates his film to the chat community. On the other hand, the film is valued by ratings and comments and becomes an estimated consumable. The collective evaluation process – shaped by unconscious clicks, the counting of visitors, but also by diligently written critique – starts a feedback loop with the film authors and leads to a disciplinary intervention in their aesthetic work. YouTube authors are ‚serial perpetrators’, as well as YouTube film critiques. Frequently, both communicative roles fuse into one: commentators are also film authors and relate to their own work in their comments. Consequently, traditional ideas of linear ways from film production to distribution and reception have to fail here in investigating processes that rather can be described in terms of loops and net configurations. This is also true for e.g. net based  popular music and video that rely on social networking sites to create stars and big selling products independent from big labels and distributing agencies.

Social networking sites, e.g. YouTube, MyVideo, StopMo, position themselves between the poles of community and commerce. Since the mid-80s – „The Well“, origin of all net based communities, was created in 1985 – virtual communities were considered to hold great potential for political action and fed the hopes of social utopian projects. Since the mid-90s –heyday of the dot-com business – economics were in search of exploiting the solid bonds existing between the ‚netizens’ to deflect their solidarity towards marketable products. Ever since we are observing a growing number of web sites fusing the idea of community with profitable commerce, Ebay is just one of the most popular platforms here. In regard to this fusion this project focusses on the productivity of the ‚netizens’ themselves. We will not only ask how virtual communities can be used for the marketing of stop motion film, how chats, forums and ratings can influence the desire of consumers and the prices of products, but we will also investigate the netizens’ and the products’ media performance and their potential to create and evaluate films and film aesthetics.

Dr. Meike Wagner