The Multiplicity of the Loop: The Dialectics of Stillness and Movement in the Cinemagraph
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The possibilities for recombination offered today by digital media tend to blur the boundaries between the stasis of photography and the movement of film. This redefinition suggests that photography no longer focuses exclusively on concepts such as instantaneity and stillness. The cinemagraph is a particular type of animated GIF that is almost entirely static, apart from some small details within the image that move subtly in an infinite loop. Its contemporary emergence seems closely connected with the present reconfiguration of the traditional categories of stillness and movement from the standpoint of interconnectedness and simultaneity. With the loop as its structural principle, based on repetition and brevity, the cinemagraph’s iterative operation generates an analytical experience that suggests that it is impossible to look at the image’s movement without simultaneously seeing its static ‘counterpart’, thus confusing notions such as instant and duration. The cinemagraph’s loop also implies an ‘archaeological’ concept of animation that affords the viewer an exquisitely ‘monstrative’ pleasure that transcends any narrative quality of the image, recalling the attractive compulsion to repetition of pre-cinematic optical toys.
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