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Database | Narrative | Archive

Seven interactive essays on digital nonlinear storytelling
edited by Matt Soar & Monika Gagnon

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Cha's Dream/Screen-space

A substantive traveling exhibition of Cha’s artworks at the Berkeley Art Museum in 2001, entitled Dream of the Audience, captured in its title a statement Cha made about her 1975 performance A BLE WAIL and wanting “to be the dream of the audience.” In 1980, a concise book edited by Cha, Apparatus, united essays on the cinematographic apparatus by Dziga Vertov, Christian Metz, Jean-Louis Baudry, Roland Barthes, Maya Deren, Cha herself, and others, and gives a glimpse into the complexity of Cha’s understanding of what ‘being the audience’s dream’ might be when transposed to film. As Cha describes in her introduction, this understanding accounts for the multiple vectors and relationships composing the cinematic experience: filmmaker, camera, screen and screen image, spectator/audience. Psychoanalytic film theory, as some of the essays elaborate, elucidate how the cinematic apparatus replicates aspects of the psychic process; and further, how psychic mechanisms of the film viewing experience are akin to those that structure our experience of dreams, hence: screen-space as a kind of dream-space. Grounding her own practices in these theoretical frameworks anchor and expand her points of reference and aspiration.

Notwithstanding that the online archive of California website can technically support multimedia formats, we are unable to view moving images or sound files, as the Cha online collection is composed solely of still images and reproductions. Electronic Arts Intermix undertakes the distribution for Cha's completed videos; various 8mm and 16mm films, including the thirty minutes of rough footage for White Dust from Mongolia, can be viewed at BAM. The online aspect of Cha's archive increases public access, but the multimedia inaccessibility is a limitation in several ways, primarily, in that it fragments portions of the collection and her oeuvre.
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