In My Hands: A Glimpse

We often try to touch something to find out if it is really there. Material presence of an object is determined by its material tangibility, or in other words, “I can touch it, therefore it is there.

Film theorists often looked to the “plastic” materiality of film, photographic and cinematic alike, as proof of their “here-ness”. This became of exceptional importance when it came to discussing the “realism” of the filmic image: that the plastic materiality of the filmic image would anchor its validity as index to its referent. According to Robert Stam:

Since the photochemical processes entail a concrete link between the photographic analogon and its referent, the charismatic indexicality of photography was presumed to make possible unimpeachable witness to “things as they are”. (Stam, 2000, p. 74)

So when electronic and digital media began to provide the tools for producing images without apparent materiality or apparent referents, the substantiveness and meaningfulness of these images came to be questioned. How can something that we cannot hold in our hands exist? And how can it, in all its apparent immateriality, have such material effects on us? In sum: How can we touch the digital and the digital “touch” us?

References: Stam, R. (2000). Film Theory: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing.</blockquote>

An excerpt from my thesis on the phenomenology of touch and spatiality in the digital, taking the iPad and the digital games we play on it as a vehicle for exploration of these themes. And that’s that’s barely scratching the surface of what I was trying to do. By the Saturday (20th Apr) before presentation day, I realised that it was going to be impossible to present my paper in the 15 minutes that I had. I needed to discipline my paper, the unruly bastard child of a mind running gleefully rampant between so many fields that by the end of it, you had no idea what it was a product of. It was (and still stands as it is) a pile of vomit that needs to be sifted through for that key that was swallowed half-way through a drunken stupor.

So, as it stands, this is as much as I am willing to publish from my paper. You could dig it up from the DR, but then that’s your perogative, not mine.