Moving Image Theory: Ecological Considerations

Moving Image Theory: Ecological Considerations

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Book DescriptionBlending conventional film theory with traditional psychology to provide a radically different set of critical methods and propositions about cinema, Moving Image Theory: Ecological Considerations looks at film through its communication properties rather than its aesthetic ones.

Drawing on the tenets of James J. Gibson’s ecological theory of visual perception, the fifteen essays and forty-three illustrations gathered here by editors Joseph D. Anderson and Barbara Fisher Andersonoffer a new understanding of how moving images are seen and understood, emphasizing cinema’s ability to convincingly portray reality.

Film studies have chiefly focused on critical interpretation of symbolic and aesthetic expressions, but these traditional approaches to film studies can be complex, confusing, and elaborate, often with no moorings in reality. Hinging on a simplified perception of the world and cinema in an attempt to move film theory closer to reality, Moving Image Theory proposes we should first understand how cinema communicates information about the representation of the three-dimensional world through properties of image and sound. In place of interpretation and symbolic meaning, this anthology parses the boundaries between that in cinema which is culturally coded and that which is rooted more in the biology of perception and information-processing.

Ecological psychology asserts we have evolved in an environment that has provided the things we need for survival and that we, through evolution, have developed the capacities to gain the information to guide our actions in that environment. Applying this concept to film, contributors with backgrounds in computer animation, media research, psychology, philosophy, film studies, and other fields demonstrate the realistic attributes in time and space.

Going beyond conventional film studies, the essays contribute to a radical, interdisciplinary way of viewing moving images. The result is an innovative articulation of how theinformation transferred to the audience depicts a screen world by building from analogous information sources in the real world, providing insight into why many responses to moving images are universal and cross-cultural and addressing many of the fundamental questions that have plagued film scholars since the middle of the twentieth century.