In his 1926 essay “Cult of Distraction,” Siegfried Kracauer drew attention to the recently constructed grand movie theaters of the time, calling them “palaces of distraction” and “shrines to the cultivation of pleasure.” In such palaces, he wrote, “the stimulations of the senses succeed each other with such rapidity that there is no room left for even the slightest contemplation to squeeze in between them.”
Today, these distracting stimulations—and our attraction to them—seem only to have increased. Yet, while distraction is generally seen in negative terms, as a loss of focus or deficit of attention, distraction also hints at the possibility of a radically new means of seeing the world, in which we become increasingly capable of absorbing images, sounds and information from multiple sources at once.
What, then, might “cinemas of distraction” look like? What films or other media would exemplify distraction, from Eisenstein’s “montage of attractions to Vertov’s A Man with a Movie Camera to Nam June Paik’s multi-screen video installations, from YouTube videos to interactive documentaries to video games?
We seek essays, films, and other media (including new media) that address the topic of Cinemas of Distraction for the initial issue of the new online journal of the School of Cinema: Cinemedia. We are particularly interested in works that offer new and innovative ways of thinking about distraction and its possibilities, including works that make creative use of distractive techniques.
Suggested Deadline for Submissions: April 24, 2017
Send to: cinemedia AT sfsu.edu