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Cinematicity in Media History$
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Jeffrey Geiger and Karin Littau

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748676118

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748676118.001.0001

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Miniature Pleasures: On Watching Films on an iPhone

Miniature Pleasures: On Watching Films on an iPhone

(p.196) Chapter 11 Miniature Pleasures: On Watching Films on an iPhone
Cinematicity in Media History

Martine Beugnet

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter, written by Martine Beugnet, responds to the common complaint that watching movies on a smartphone is ‘uncinematic’, and investigates precisely the cinematicity particular to such devices. While, for instance, the tiny screen of an iPhone is paradigmatic of spectatorial habits in the digital age, it is equally redolent of the kinetoscope’s peephole apparatus prior to the emergence of the film theatre. Although the very antithesis of the collective viewing practices of cinema audiences, the iPhone as a screening device envelops these practices within a broader and more individuated experience of cinematicity. Beugnet proposes to leave the debate about ‘proper’ ways of screening films to one side, and to concentrate instead on the specific characteristics of watching films on very small screens and with sound-isolating devices. Drawing on haptic theories of visuality as well as on the history and aesthetics of miniature art forms and the curio, the chapter examines issues of mobility, manipulability and distracted-versus-attentive viewing, before focusing on the effect of miniaturization on the film image itself.

Keywords:   Miniature, Smartphone, iPhone, Streaming video, Cinema aesthetics, Digital cinema, Haptic

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