Film School Rejects reconsiders David Cronenberg’s Videodrome (previously) in light of recent developments in mass media. The three changes they credit Videodrome with predicting are:
Either way, it’s not only the “video” of “Videodrome” itself that spreads like a virus; the individual’s psyche is also affected. And this points to the more nuanced ways that the standardization of viral media has changed our perception of it – we become less patient with long-form media, our work lives are regularly interrupted by these viral representations which changes our routines, and our social lives are often characterized by the inclusive/exclusive practice of disseminating viral media, which makes for a rather different form of water cooler socialization than, say, traditional media like the last episode of MASH.
Blurring of Hot and Cool media
This readymade understanding of media technology speaks more readily to our current digital moment than to 1983. We no longer think of technologies or media artifacts as a given in terms of the way they’re presented to us: smart phones can be retooled for unintended use, movies can be re-edited and distributed on the web, and the supposed obsolescence of “older” technologies and media delivery formats only provide more opportunities for rethinking them. Thus, hot and cool mediums become more and more difficult to distinguish. The option for participation is not so much determined by the design of the media itself, but whether or not we choose to activate our own agency.
Technology is not only modeled as an extension of the human body; it is the human body. Renn’s fingers become an abject flesh-machine hybrid that fires bullets, and his lower chest is transformed into a vaginal cavity for both consuming and delivering media. Now, while the reign of all things Apple may not mean that we’ll all develop electromechanical chest-vaginas, that distinctions between flesh and technology will continue to blur is certain, and this fact has both hopeful and strange implications.
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