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Surveillance Cinema$
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Catherine Zimmer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479864379

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479864379.001.0001

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Temporality and Surveillance II

Temporality and Surveillance II

Surveillance, Remediation, and Social Memory in Strange Days

(p.181) 5 Temporality and Surveillance II
Surveillance Cinema

Catherine Zimmer

NYU Press

The final chapter provides detailed analysis of the1995 film Strange Days, which historically reframes the discussion of temporality in surveillance narratives and surveillance practice. The film works around and through the entangled racial tensions and media landscape of the 1990s, most fully represented by its visual and narrative references to the videotaped police assault on Rodney King. Bringing together this mise-en-scène of historicized racial violence with a science-fictional virtual reality fantasy, Strange Days represents a media and surveillance culture on the cusp of digitization, serving as a form of what certain new media theorists have conceptualized as “remediation.” The reading of the film in this chapter suggests that it is through such remediation that resistant politics might be located in the cinematic narration of surveillance, in part by redefining circularity and repetition. The chapter concludes with the point that “surveillance cinema” necessarily makes clear not just the contiguities but also the inconsistencies between the ideological premises of surveillance and the demands of narrative form, and thus cinema can be seen, even as it functions alongside other surveillance formations, as a point of access to the often failed performances of surveillant power.

Keywords:   digitization, new media, racial violence, remediation, repetition, resistant politics, Rodney King, Strange Days, temporality, virtual reality

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