A HYBRID BETWEEN AN AUDIO-VISUAL ART GENRE AND A MEDIUM IN CHINESE CYBER CULTURE Three Perspectives on Micro Film
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In 2001, the term micro film was proposed by director and music producer Zhiping Yang, referring to a novel form of online audiovisual art, which is short in terms of duration and production process with small-scale investment. This thesis aims to contribute to the fundamental research of micro film in Chinese media studies on the definition of micro film and offer three particular perspectives on the form. Contrary to current research that regards micro film as a new audio-visual art genre, I propose to view micro film as a hybrid between a genre and a medium in Chinese cyber culture. This will be addressed through the perspective of the art form of micro film, the genealogy of micro film, and micro film as a “new” medium. In the first perspective, I engage into the ongoing debate around which art form micro film is, that is, whether micro film is film or video. I argue that as different audio-visual art forms, film and video address their ideal spectators differently. Thus, the art form of micro film can be defined by analyzing the ideal spectatorship of film, video and micro film, respectively. The second perspective focuses on the hybridity of micro film as a new art genre, which is argued as the other reason contributing to the debate around the defining issue of micro film. I suggest studying the history of micro film to understand its hybrid feature. Rather than tracking the micro film history in a linear way as what Chinese researchers did, I propose to study the genealogy of micro film, which stresses the historical affiliations and resonances of micro film. I argue that short film, amateur video of egao and advertisement are the three main cultural forms which are remediated by micro film. The third perspective discusses the characteristics of micro film as a medium. By studying the argument that micro film is the product of “new media”, I criticize that Chinese researchers who propose this argument avoid answering the most fundamental questions: what is the definition of “new media” to which they refer and what are the characteristics of these “new media”? Furthermore, I argue that it is problematic to adopt the term “new media” and suggest using participatory digital media instead. I continue to discuss that as a medium, what the characteristics of micro film are in relation to the specifics of participatory digital media. Last, I analyze the problems for the further development of micro film. I argue that the root of these problems lies on the current way that micro film is defined since it cannot reflect the distinct characteristics of micro film as a hybrid between a genre and a medium.