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After UniquenessA History of Film and Video Art in Circulation$
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Erika Balsom

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780231176934

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231176934.001.0001

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The Promise and Threat of Reproducibility

The Promise and Threat of Reproducibility

(p.25) 1 The Promise and Threat of Reproducibility
After Uniqueness

Erika Balsom

Columbia University Press

Film theory has largely overlooked the fact that film and video are founded in an economy of the multiple. In this chapter, I outline a theory of the moving image as a reproducible medium that considers the way an image may be copied repeatedly so as to facilitate circulation across distribution networks. By moving into this domain, one confronts not the questions of indexicality, documentary, and realism that so often get asked in relation to the image’s status as a copy of the profilmic; rather, issues of authority, originality, and authenticity become paramount. This chapter unfolds what is at stake in approaching the moving image in this way and will examine how its reproducibility has been conceived of as both a utopian promise and the site of a dangerous inauthenticity since its emergence in the late nineteenth century.

Keywords:   Authenticity, Rarity, Reproducibility, Copy, old media, new media

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