Low Resolution Reality

If we consider the truthfulness adressed to low quality videos, it comes with no surprises that this sort of choice has been widely used for producing several films, particularly the horror ones. Here there are two instances of horror films, both based on the use of low quality tools of filming: “Paranormal Activity 4” and “The fourth kind”.

The first one is the sequel of the “Paranormal Activity” film series and it is obviously a fake documentary, set in November 2011. The plot is about a girl, Alex (Kathryn Newton), obsessed by a supernatural presence, manifested in her house when a new family moved into the neighborhood. The teenager connects the phenomena to a kid who likes to make jokes, but decides to film everything with a camera.

The second one (“The fourth kind”) purports to be based on actual events occurring in Nome, Alaska in 2000, in which psychologist Dr. Abigail Emily “Abbey” Tyler uses hypnosis to uncover memories of alien abduction from her patients, and finds evidence suggesting that she may have been abducted as well. The film has two components: dramatization, in which professional actors portray the individuals involved, and video footage purporting to show the actual victims undergoing hypnosis. (At some points in the film, the “actual” and dramatized footage is presented alongside each other in split-screen.)












Amateur Pornographic Productions

“No reflection on digitally pirated cultural products is complete without some discussion of pornographic materials. More interesting than the mere proliferation of international bestsellers is the increasing amount of amateur materials. These amateur productions are important because they undermine the model of sexuality based on the obsessive repetition of insubstantial narrative routines”

“The element of fantasy that is always censured by ‘mainstream’ pornography regains life in amateur pornographic productions, such as in private videos that have been stolen and, more rarely, in artistic pornography. In these cases, viewers are encouraged to construct a narrative … In other words, viewers are encouraged to open the doors to fantasy. These realities are finally antagonistic to the industry’s attempts to crystallize an aesthetics of desire. As users of pornography become used to equating low-resolution images with the truth, and increasingly reject the commercialized images as unrealistic, the industry seeks to recover its market share by producing fake amateur videos – thus reinforcing the shift towards disturbed aesthetic experiences”.

Web Aesthetics, p. 164 – 165.