Spaces Mapped and Monstrous

Digital 3D Cinema and Visual Culture

Nick Jones

Columbia University Press

Spaces Mapped and Monstrous

Pub Date: April 2020

ISBN: 9780231194235

304 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $35.00£27.00

Pub Date: April 2020

ISBN: 9780231194228

304 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $140.00£115.00

Pub Date: April 2020

ISBN: 9780231550710

304 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£30.00

Spaces Mapped and Monstrous

Digital 3D Cinema and Visual Culture

Nick Jones

Columbia University Press

Digital 3D has become a core feature of the twenty-first-century visual landscape. Yet 3D cinema is a contradictory media form: producing spaces that are highly regimented and exhaustively detailed, it simultaneously relies upon distortions of vision and space that are inherently strange.

Spaces Mapped and Monstrous explores the paradoxical nature of 3D cinema to offer a critical analysis of an inescapable part of contemporary culture. Considering 3D’s distinctive visual qualities and its connections to wider digital systems, Nick Jones situates the production and exhibition of 3D cinema within a web of aesthetic, technological, and historical contexts. He examines 3D’s relationship with computer interfaces, virtual reality, and digital networks as well as tracing its lineage to predigital models of visual organization. Jones emphasizes that 3D is not only a technology used in films but also a tool for producing, controlling, and distorting space within systems of surveillance, corporatization, and militarization. The book features detailed analysis of a wide range of films—including Avatar (2009), Goodbye to Language (2014), Love (2015), and Clash of the Titans (2010)—demonstrating that 3D is not merely an augmentation of 2D cinema but that it has its own unique properties. Spaces Mapped and Monstrous brings together media archaeology, digital theory, and textual analysis to provide a new account of the importance of 3D to visual culture today.
This book’s highly polished arguments situate digital 3D cinema within major debates about the role of the image in contemporary society as well as related structures of power. Jones’s historical focus and interaction with significant visual culture debates situate the unique contribution this book has to offer. Miriam Ross, author of 3D Cinema: Optical Illusions and Tactile Experiences
At once rigorously historical, inventively erudite, and highly original, Spaces Mapped and Monstrous combines digital theory, screen aesthetics, and media archaeology to persuasively argue that the digital aesthetics in 3D cinema should not be dismissed as "failed realism" or cheap gimmicks. Instead, these examples provide new spatial relations and epistemological regimes that help us better understand digital technologies more broadly. Julie Turnock, author of Plastic Reality: Special Effects, Technology, and the Emergence of 1970s Blockbuster Aesthetics
In this expansive inquiry, Nick Jones dispels the myth that 3D is simply a variant of planar cinema. For over a century, Jones contends, 3D has been vital to a shifting understanding of what images are and how we are mobilized through them. Encompassing both its experimental anamorphic facets and its complicity in the instrumentalization of the visual field, this account is a call for us to think 3D again. Janet Harbord, author of Ex-centric Cinema: Giorgio Agamben and Film Archaeology

About the Author

Nick Jones is a lecturer in film, television, and digital culture at the University of York. He is the author of Hollywood Action Films and Spatial Theory (2015).