Calculative Cinema: Technologies of Speed, Scale, and Explication


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Film Studies


In recent years, as digital technologies have swept across the motion picture industry, scholars have seen the need to rethink what cinema is today and in what capacity it can be said to continue. Studies typically resolve this crisis in one of two ways: by proclaiming the "end of cinema" or by showing how new technologies satisfy the continued demands for narrative and photorealism. What has largely escaped consideration is that the "digital revolution" opens up a new understanding of the history and trajectory of cinematic technologies. This dissertation explores how cinema was calculative from the very beginning, with celluloid film being used in areas that had no pretensions toward narrative or photorealistic representation such as scientific imaging, data storage, and early analog computing.