The Age of Ilinx: Aesthetics of Movement, Virtual Kino Eye, and Perceptions of Public and Private Space in Digital Cinema, Virtual Worlds, & Video Games
Ilinx is one of game theorist Roger Caillois’s four categories, for games "based on the pursuit of vertigo and which consist of an attempt to momentarily destroy the stability of perception and inflict a kind of voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind. In all cases, it is a question of surrendering to a kind of spasm, seizure, or shock which destroys reality with sovereign brusqueness” (Caillois, Man, Play, and Games). Vertigo, the perception of motion while the body is still, is increasingly triggered by the rapid and sweeping movement of the synthetic camera, or virtual kino eye, of CGI filmmaking, modeled on the fly-throughs possible in video games and virtual worlds. This presentation examines examples of how the virtual kino eye plunges into public and private spaces, pushing viewers to access public areas like cities and landscapes, private interior spaces, or even the body with an intensely first person point of view, conflating public and private in an unsettling vertiginous experience. Examples include Fight Club (1999), The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Crank (2006), The Adventures of Tintin (2011), and The Amazing Spiderman (2012). By comparing video game representations of public and private space with their film counterparts, and speculating on spectatorship in virtual environments, the paper ponders relationships between different kinds of spectatorship of public and private space in film, virtual worlds, and video games. It considers new relationships between previously separated perceptions of movement and stasis, of embodiment and presence, outside and inside, seen and hidden, public and private, all manifestations of increasing virtualization of space and place in the age of ilinx.