Celluloid Film as Digital Art

Aesthetics of Translation, Information and Intermediality in the Works of Cory Arcangel

  • Jakub Zdebik


The multidisciplinary artist Cory Arcangel questions the nature of contemporary representational strategies by exacerbating the rift between digital and celluloid images: Untitled Translation Exercise (2006) is Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused (1993) overdubbed it with voices of workers from an Indian outsource firm reading the original film’s script; Colors (2006) vertically outstretches each colour pixel constitutive of the cinematic image of a Dennis Hopper film resulting in a projection that resembles a Molinari painting; Structural Film (2007) is a 16 mm projection of a glitchy digital film that seems to be a “fake†avant-garde film.  These three works are explored through notions of translation, information, and intermediality that shed light on the zone of indiscernibility between celluloid and digital images by suggesting a concept of the image based on varying degrees of formal and abstract arrangements. With the help of thinkers such as Benjamin, Heidegger, de Man, Massumi and Deleuze and recent theories by Kalindi Vora, Carolyn L. Kane, Irina O. Rajewski, this paper maps out the intermedial haptic zone full of redundancies, pure information, scrambled codes and nontranslations.  

Keywords: Digital Art, information, data aesthetics, intermediation, translation, code


Cory Arcangel. Super Mario Clouds, 2002– . (Installation view, Synthetic, Whitney Museum of American Art, 2009.) Handmade hacked Super Mario Brothers cartridge and Nintendo NES video game system. Edition no. 2/5. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee 2005.10.© Cory Arcangel. Courtesy of Cory Arcangel.
Aug 15, 2017
How to Cite
ZDEBIK, Jakub. Celluloid Film as Digital Art. Semiotic Review, [S.l.], n. 3, aug. 2017. Available at: <https://www.semioticreview.com/ojs/index.php/sr/article/view/36>. Date accessed: 23 july 2024.