The Politics of Ephemeral Digital Media
Permanence and Obsolescence in Paratexts
In the age of "complex Tv", of social networking and massive consumption of transmedia narratives, a myriad short-lived phenomena surround films and TV programs raising questions about the endurance of a fictional world and other mediatized discourse over a long arc of time. The life of media products can change direction depending on the variability of paratextual materials and activities such as online commentaries and forums, promos and trailers, disposable merchandise and gadgets, grassroots video production, archives, and gaming. This book examines the tension between permanence and obsolescence in the production and experience of media byproducts analysing the affections and meanings they convey and uncovering the machineries of their persistence or disposal. Paratexts, which have long been considered only ancillary to a central text, interfere instead with textual politics by influencing the viewers’ fidelity (or infidelity) to a product and affecting a fictional world’s "life expectancy". Scholars in the fields of film studies, media studies, memory and cultural studies are here called to observe these byproducts' temporalities (their short form and/or long temporal extention, their nostalgic politics or future projections) and assess their increasing influence on our use of the past and present, on our temporal experience, and, consequently, on our social and political self-positioning through the media.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Politics of Ephemeral Digital Media: Permanence and Obsolescence in Paratexts Sara Pesce and Paolo Noto Part I: Understanding "short shelf-life" Media 1. Short Shelf-Life Media: Ephemeral Digital Practices and the Contemporary Dream of Permanence Sara Pesce 2. The Politics of Paratextual Ephemeralia Jonathan Gray 3. Paratext between Time and Space in Digital Media Giulio Lughi 4. Beyond the Threshold: Textual Transcendence and Transmedia Narratives Valentina Re Part II: Screen Time and Memory 5. Googling Sherlock Holmes: Popular Memory, Plaforms, Protocols and Paratexts Roberta Pearson 6. Nostalgia for the Future: How TRON Legacy’s Paratextual Campaign Rebooted the Franchise Kim Walden 7. Hoaxing the Media: 1920s Film Ballyhoo and an Archaeology of Presence Fabrice Lyczba 8. Sound Memories: "Talker Remakes," Paratexts, and Cinematic (Self-)Historicization Kathleen Loock 9. Paratexts from Cinephilia to Mediaphilia (through Ludification Culture) Roy Menarini and Lucia Tralli Part III: Mutant Paratexts: Communication, Promotion, Gameplay, Fandom 10. Interactivity and the Modalities of Textual-Hacking: From the BIble to Algorithmically Generated Stories William Uricchio 11. One Does Not Simply Walk Away from the Past: The Dynamics of Memory, Spreadability and Retrobranting in the Van Der Memes Case Paolo Brembilla 12. "You Had to Be There:" Alternate Reality Games and Multiple Durational Temporalities Stephanie James 13. The TV Recap: Knowledge, Memory and Complex Narrative Orientation Claudio Bisoni 14. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Paratexts and Temporality in a Flexible World Marta Boni 15. TV Series, Convergence Culture and the Davy Crockett Hat Guglielmo Pescatore and Veronica Innocenti
Sara Pesce teaches film history and performance studies at the University of Bologna. She’s published on the historical roots of Hollywood, cultural memory, and performance. She wrote books on Hollywood Jewish founders (Dietro lo schermo, 2005), on WWII memory in Italian film (Memoria e Immaginario, 2008), on Laurence Olivier (Laurence Olivier nei film, 2012).
Paolo Noto is Lecturer in film history at the University of Bologna. He is one of the editors in chief of L'avventura. Internation Journal of Italian Film and Media Landscapes and the secretary of the open access journal SERIES (series.unibo.it). He has authored two books, dedicated to the Italian neorealism (Il cinema neorealista, with Francesco Pitassio, 2010) and to the application of genre theory to the Italian post-war cinema (Dal bozzetto ai generi, 2011).