SOFT CINEMA: Navigating the Database
One of the pioneers of 'database cinema' just released a new non-linear DVD of his work, Soft Cinema...It would interest all PixelACHE attendees and artists.. -tim (RESPAM)

Lev Manovich and Andreas Kratky

SOFT CINEMA: Navigating the Database

DVD-video with 40 page color booklet

The MIT Press, 2005

ISBN 0-262-13456-X

What kind of cinema is appropriate for the age of Google and blogging?
Automatic surveillance and self-guided missiles? Consumer profiling and CNN?
To investigate answers to this question Lev Manovich - one of today¹s most
influential thinkers in the fields of media arts and digital culture ­ has
paired with award-winning new media artist and designer Andreas Kratky to
create the Soft Cinema project. They have also invited contributions from
leaders in other cultural fields: DJ Spooky, Scanner, George Lewis and
Jóhann Jóhannsson (music), servo and Andreas Angelidakis (architecture),
Schoenerwissen/Office for Computational Design (data visualization), and
Ross Cooper Studios (media design).

SOFT CINEMA: Navigating the Database is the Soft Cinema project¹s first DVD
published and distributed by The MIT Press (2005). Although the three films
presented on the DVD reference the familiar genres of cinema, the process by
which they were created and the resulting aesthetics fully belong to the
software age. They demonstrate the possibilities of soft(ware) cinema - a
'cinema' in which human subjectivity and the variable choices made by custom
software combine to create films that can run infinitely without ever
exactly repeating the same image sequences, screen layouts and narratives.

'Mission to Earth' is a science fiction allegory of the immigrant
experience. It adopts the variable choices and multi-frame layout of the
Soft Cinema system to represent Œvariable identity¹. 'Absences' is a lyrical
black and white narrative that relies on algorithms normally deployed in
military and civilian surveillance applications to determine the editing of
video and audio. 'Texas' is a Œdatabase narrative¹, which assembles its
visuals, sounds, narratives, and even the identities of its characters from
multiple databases.

The DVD was designed and programmed so that there is no single version of
any of the films. All the elements ­ including screen layout, the visuals
and their combination, the music, the narrative, and the length ­ are
subject to change every time the film is viewed.

The development of Soft Cinema project was made possible by the commissions
from ZKM Center for Art and Media and the BALTIC, The Centre for
Contemporary Art. The resulting computer-driven installations and films have
been exhibited in museums, galleries, media and film festivals around the
world, including ZKM, Karlsruhe; the ICA, London; SENEF, Seoul; the ICC,
Tokyo; DEAF, Rotterdam, Transmediale, Berlin; and Chelsea Art Museum, New

Lev Manovich www.manovich.net is the author of The Language of New Media
(The MIT Press, 2001) which is hailed as "the most suggestive and broad
ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan." He is Professor of Visual
Arts, University of California, San Diego visarts.ucsd.edu and a
researcher at California Institute for Telecommunications and Information
Technology www.calit2.net.

Andreas Kratky has been responsible for media design and co-direction of a
number of groundbreaking new media projects, including the award-winning
DVDs That¹s Kyogen and Bleeding Through ­ Layers of Los Angeles 1920-1986
(both published by ZKM).

SOFT CINEMA: NAVIGATING THE DATABASE is available through The MIT Press mitpress.mit.edu, online resellers www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com,
etc.) and selected bookstores.

Additional information: www.softcinema.net

email: manovich at ucsd.edu