"Media Dispositifs, Screen Advertising, and the Notions of Program and Flow"
Résumé de la conférence :
Despite the high prevalence of screen advertising in the history of cinema and television and despite its (experienced) ever-increasing pervasiveness in the present digital media landscape, the history of screen advertising has been a rather neglected area in media studies. In terms of methodology, the limited number of histories written about moving image advertising has privileged medium, country, or period to approach the topic.
Recent initiatives emerging within the field of useful cinema studies have demonstrated increasing interest in the history and historiography of moving image advertising. My presentation is located within this scholarly context and focuses on questions of methodology. It wishes to inquire the potential of screen advertising to rethink media histories from the margins by revisiting a ‘central’ approach and concept – the dispositif – from the perspective of a neglected object.
Taking Jean-Louis Baudry’s notion of the dispositif as a starting point, the paper (re-) visits two historically and geographically distinctive dispositifs in which screen advertising was and is involved in: post-war cinema in Western Europe and contemporary train platforms in Germany equipped with digital out-of-home screens. Particular attention is paid to the temporaldimension of time-based media dispositifsand to the procedural elements in the positioning process in order to determine screen advertising’s place in the temporal structure of the two dispositifsand to learn more about screen advertising’s role in the process of positioning viewers. To this end, I explore screen advertising as an element in the time structure and chronological sequencing of movement(moving images on the screen, bodily movements of the viewers, and movements of objects) within the above-mentioned dispositifs.This approach directs the focus to the programstructure of moving images within specific dispositifs, as well as to the notion of the flow, and to screen advertising’s place in it.
Overall, my notion of dispositif is not that of Baudry’s narrow focus on the cinematic dispositif,but a broadened understanding of the dispositif as the configuration or arrangement of heterogeneous elements, or, as Michel Foucault has put it, the ‘connection that exists between these heterogeneous elements’. Following Frank Kessler, I take the concept of dispositif as a heuristic tool that offers ‘ways to account for the complexities of media (texts) in situational contexts offering, or aiming at producing specific spectatorial positions’.
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