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Anatoly Prohorov , Tatyana Shulga
From the History of Theoretical Views on the New Media. Russia, 1980-1990's (1993)

Язык оригинала: русский

Speaking of the history of Russian theoretical thinking in the field of the new media, we can single out two major periods: the pre-history and the history in the proper sense of the word.

The pre-history includes all those ideas on broad possibilities of communication between people, which have been pronounced throughout the 20th century by theoreticians of literature (OPOYAZ, M.M.Bakhtin, Y.M.Lotman and others), theatre avant-guarde (Vs.Meierhold, E.Kharitonov and others), cinematography (S.Eysenstein, D.Vertov, L.Kuleshov and others), visual art (V.Kandinsky, K.Malevich, El Lissitsky and others), music (B.V. Asafiev and others), and which are implemented today with the help of digital technologies. However, all this is a subject for a special discussion and for a special essay.

Here we present a concise report of the work, which has been done since mid-1980s by a group of researchers in the cinematographic theory and cultural philosophy.

This informal group year by year generated a small streak of chamber events, related to the theory of the “new screen”: seminars, round table discussions and conferences.

It can’t be said, that it was the unique source of public events, where under discussion were humanitarian and artistic aspects of the emergence and development of digital (computer) technologies. For instance, the magazine “Voprosy Filosofii” has organized and published a number of panel discussions on this subject.

Similar or related problems interested a number of researchers in the humanities, whom we didn’t know at that time. Hence, the following “inventory” doesn’t claim to cover all the developments in this sphere.

I hope, that in future we will be able to represent in more detail the Russian theoretical thinking in the new media in terms of its historical development.

However, at that time our group’s public and research activity was undoubtedly one of the major “streaks” in the field of the new media, and the most known to the art world.

For the sake of convenience we split our small “scroll” into four periods, each of which had its own form of organization.
1. From 1987 to 1989 in the Central House of Film-Makers (Moscow) were held annual theoretical conferences, titled "Animation Readings".
Their participants numbered directors of animation films, art historians, psychologists and culturologists, interested in classical and computer animation: Fyodor Khitruk, Yuri Norstein, Prijt Piarts, Anatoly Prokhorov, Kiril Razlogov, Naum Kleiman, Agris Redovich, Alexei Orlov, Alexander Rappoport, Evgeny Steiner, Mikhail Gurevich, Mikhail Yampolsky, Anatoly Krichevets, Victor Petrenko and others.

Animation Readings ’87. May 14, 1987
Major reports:
Evgeny Steiner. Dynamic painting: animation and video art
Anatoly Prokhorov. On the philosophy of animation
Mikhail Yampolsky. Repetition and Variation in the animation film
Natalia Tabachnikova. The poetic of transformation: theatre and animation
Anatoly Krichevets. Animation of computer graphic

Animation Readings ’88. June 7, 1988
Major reports:
Alexander Rappoport. Space in the animation film
Mikhail Gurevich. The animation film and the general cultural context
Alexei Orlov. Emotiogenic factors of novelty, complexity and uncertainty in animation films
Victor Petrenko. Psychological aspects of the professions of animation director and artist-animator
Anatoly Prokhorov. ‘Primeval’ genres of virtual realities

Animaton Readings ’89. May 23, 1989
Major reports:
Alexander Rappoport. Abstract pictures and an abstract film
Alexei Orlov. Reflexion on the animation avant-guarde
Anatoly Prokhorov. McLaren’s ideas in video art
Nikolai Izvolov. Arseny Avraamov and the drawn sound in Russia
Maria Maevskaya. Predecessors of the pra-cinescope in the age of developed animatograph

Animation Readings ’90. May 29, 1990
Major Reports:
Anatoly Prokhorov. The screen culture: technology of the framed stream
Mikhail Gurevich. On the language of animation
Nikolai Izvolov. The history of the drawn sound in Russia

2. In 1991-1993 the Animatographic Centre “Pilot”, set up in 1991, participated in the preparation and organization of a number of scientific-practical conferences, dedicated to computer technologies in art and culture.

Conference Computer Animation: Problems and Prospects. November 1991. Central House of Film-Makers (Moscow). The conference was organized together with the Screen Culture Council of the Unions of Film-Makers Confederation and the joint-stock company “Create” (St.Petersburg).
At the conference the following reports were delivered:
Oleg Genisaretsky. The screen as a contact surface: psychotechnical effects of the screen process
Boris Dolgovesov. Novosibirsk. Computer animation using systems of the real time visualization
Bulat Galeev. Kazan. Computer art in the system of art culture
Stanislav Amshinsky. St.Petersburg. Introduction of new technologies into the screen culture
Anatoly Prokhorov. Computer animation and computer encouragement
Yuri Bayakovsky. Problems of computer animation (survey of foreign press)
Georgy Pachikov. Animation in computer games
Alexei Orlov. The aesthetic of computer film: historical parallels

Conference Computer games as the art of the reacting screen. April 1992. The House of Film-Makers, Bolshevo, near Moscow. The conference was organized together with the Unions of Film-Makers Confederation and the joint venture “ParaGraph”.
At the conference were present Russian and international companies, specializing in computer games: “Gamos”, “Mir-Dialogue”, “AIST”, “Nikita”, “ParaGraph” and others. Specialists demonstrated computer games, created by these companies, which was followed by professional discussion of psychological, social, aesthetical and other humanitarian aspects of creation and functioning of computer games.
Scientific practical seminar Computograph: from concepts to image. September 30 - October 2, 1992. Moscow (Kuskovo). The seminar was organized together with the joint venture “Elogar” and was held within the programme of the Second International Scientific Conference on Computer Graphic and Visualization “Graphicon ’92".
At the seminar were discussed issues, relating to the state and prospects of computer art in terms of the theory of audio-visual culture and current state of technology.
Leading Russian experts in the theory of cinema and audio-visual culture, philosophers and psychologists, interested in computer art, as well as specialists in computer science, dealing with computer graphic and the appropriate software, participated in the seminar.
The participants of the seminar were acquainted with commercial clips and non-commercial animation films, created in Russian computer studios, as well as with video-materials of the conference “SIGGRAPH ’92" (Chicago, USA, June 1992).

The conference Multi-Media: Environment as Culture, Culture as Environment. February 25-26, 1993. Central House of Film-Makers (Moscow). The conference was organized together with the Unions of Film-Makers Confederation and the company “R.U.I Apple Computer Inc.”
The conference defined the contemporary level of multi-media systems and prospects of multi-media application in culture and art. Among other issues under discussion, the conference numbered the following ones:
Different branches of multi-media technologies and their penetration into various spheres of human activity;
The sum of multi-media technologies as not simply a set of new means to keep, deliver and make available the information, but as a currently forming wholesome informational environment. The interaction of this new environment and the traditional cultural space;
Multi-media as an instrument of research and interpretation, a creative medium for the artist;
Problems of the man-machine interface, emerging together with multi-media systems; new “temporal” types of computer data. The use of the achievements of audio-video culture to develop a new generation of interfaces. Virtual reality;
Elaboration of theoretico-cultural concept of multi-media; extension of cultural consiousness of architects and computer systems developers.
The conference’s programme included:
Demonstration of multi-media capacities of APPLE computers;
Presentation of a number of Russian and foreign MM products;
Examples of the use of multi-media technologies in museum work;
Presentations of new publications and forthcoming actions and events, dedicated to computer art.
The conference also featured cinema and video programmes on the festivals of computer art “Imagina 92”, “Ars Electronica 92”.
At the conference were delivered the following reports:
a) culturological aspects of multi-media:
Oleg Genisaretsky. Vitual realities
Inna Antsyferova. Body as screen
Anatoly Prokhorov. The giant has moved, and cuts the waves. It sails. And where shall we sail?
Galina Kurierova. The screen and the veil: on the anthology of contemporary project culture
Piotr Shchedrovitsky. Culture as environment: notes about poly-screenness
b) multi-media technologies in museums:
Dmitry Pertsev. The concept of museum informatisation
Olga Kissel. Prospects of organization of a museum multi-media centre in St.Petersburg
Sergei Senkin. The ART-INFO project: evolution of points of view
Lev Nol. Multi-media in museum. Our ideas
Alexander Dremailov. Practical use of computer technologies in museum
Karen Grigoryan. The cycle of multi-media works in Eastern and Western art in museums of Armenia and Armenian diaspora
Andrei Narvsky, Kirill Rozhdenstvensky. An approach to the use of multi media in museums
c) MM in creative work. New interactive arts.
Andrei Rodionov. The Composer and MM
Tatiana Balakhovskaya. The Conference “IMAGINA-93”
Marina Bessonova. The complex of breaking mechanisms: the “off-the-frame” perception of reality in istallations of 1970-90s
Daniil Dondurei, Victoria Dubitskaya. The rich also cry: pra-consciousness in computer age
Victor Kaptilinin. MM in education: from techno-romanticism to cognitive realism
d) MM and the man-computer interaction.
Yuri Gornostaev. Plans of the Moscow group MOSCHI ACM SIGCHI
Mikhail Donskoi. The use of MM capacities for building interfaces
Georgy Pachikov. MM and education
Alexei Orlov. The ecological aspect of MM
Alexander Guiglavy. MONDO: the magazine on the verge of two sub-cultures
Valery Ponomarev. Cyberpunk

3. In September 1993, during the work of the first International Forum of Computer Art In Search of a Third Reality, was founded a club of experts “New Technologies of Culture”.
Among members of the expert club are prominent Russian specialists in sciences and humanities, representatives of periodicals and research institutes, interested in new technologies.
During its existence, the international club of experts “New Technologies of Culture” held a number of sessions, focusing on different aspects of the existence and functioning of new technologies.

September 13-17, 1993, Repino, St.Petersburg
The first session of the Club of Experts within the programme of the First International Computer Forum In Search of a Third Reality.
The main subjects under discussion:
The expansion of dialogue: from literature to interactive film;
Types, genres and forms of computer art;
Attraction as the nature of cinematography;
Technology as an istrument of estranging reality;
Virtual realities: the Discovery of America or the Conquering of Syberia?

March 17-18, 1994, Moscow
The second session of the Club of Experts: “Modern Technologies of Communication (Humanitarian Aspects of Telecommunications)”.
Principal subjects under discussion:
Modern technologies as “the Gordean knot” of the human and the technological;
Communicative situation of the “World Village” and the “World Bouillon”: new values and goals, motivations, ideologies and modes of life;
Socio-cultural market of communication: first steps towards the awareness of what has long existed;
Telecommunicative products: artistic cover or creative essence?

March 20, 1994, Krasnaya Pakhra, Moscow.
The organizational session of the Club of Experts.
Major subjects for discusson:
The perspective plan and possible forms of work;
The status of the Club of Experts.

May 17-23, 1994, Moscow.
The third session of the Club of Experts “New Visuality” (within the programme of the Second International Festival of Computer Graphic and Animation “AniGraph’94").
Major subjects under discussion:
The philosophy of the visible: between the Scylla of stasis and the Charybdis of dynamics;
From representational art to visual art: the change of name, concept or the world?
The new technology of vision or the new vision of technology? New visuality: dawn or twilight?
Russian swerves in new screen technologies (NST): in which direction?
Between the programmer and the user: the production status of the NST artist.
November 27, 1994, Moscow.
The fourth session of the Club of Experts: “Arts - Environments - Realities: Meta-interactivity.
Major subjects for discussion:
The movement of socio-cultural reality through new environments;
The artist: a visualiser or a social interactivist?
Telecommunicative globalism: from communism to communalism?
Communicator: ancient roots and new looks of the profession.

4. On April 19, 1994, with the support of the Russian Union of Film-Makers was founded the Association of New Screen Technologies (ANST), Russia’s first public organization to deal with new technologies and related issues in arts and humanities.
The major idea of the Association is to unite efforts of specialists in technology, humanities and sciences to develop new screen technologies (NST), and, more precisely, computer cinema (graphic, animation, special effects), interactive cinema and television, video-art, multi-media works, telecommunications etc.

Selected Bibliography:

Orlov A.M. The Spirits of Computer Animation, Moscow, “Mirt”, 1993;
Prokhorov A.V., Razlogov K.E., Ruzin V.D. “The Culture of the Coming Millenium”. Voprosy Filosofii, 1989, No 6;
Prokhorov A.V., Ruzin V.D. Metamorphoses of Scientific Research in the Age of the Screen Culture, Moscow, Research Institute for Culture of the Academy of Science, 1991;
Animatographic notes, Theoretical almanac, iss. No 1, the Animatographic Centre Pilot and Research Institute for Culture of the Academy of Science, 1991;
Animation, Animatograph, Phantomatics..., collection of articles. Edition of the First All-Union Festival of Animation Films “Krok ’89", Kiev, 1989.
Besides, several articles were published in periodicals: Iskusstvo kino, Sovetsky Film, Voprosy Filosofii, Mir PC and others.

In Russian: Из истории теоретических взглядов на новые медиа. Россия, 1980-90-е годы

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