The Reality of Found Footage: Surveillance, Voyeurism and the Construction of a New Digital Spectator
(2016) The Reality of Found Footage: Surveillance, Voyeurism and the Construction of a New Digital Spectator, no. 32.
Introduction (part): In recent years cinema has undergone drastic changes in how people make, consume and relate to films. This has in part been instigated by a gradual change towards a more immersive digital culture. As a result the stories that we now tell on media enabled screens have been altered. As we move into an age where media has become embedded into our everyday experiences, it has affected the way that we interact with one another. For film and media creators this has changed the overall style and aesthetic of their products. Media has become a much more private experience, which has filtered through into every aspect of our lives. As such we have entered into a dependant relationship with media and the image. This dissertation looks to focus on how technology has altered the way that we perceive these interactions, leading to a culture of broadcast and documentation through more accessible and integrated forms of technology. This has resulted in recording and documentation being put in the hands of individuals and cemented the rise of YouTube culture and private video sharing. The media industry more broadly has attempted to utilise these developments into its products with the rise of reality television and home-made footage. Mainstream film has in turn attempted to comment on our relationship to new media and the implications this has in regard to reality. This is done frequently within horror, a genre which relies on perceptions of the real to be most effective. With the emergence of 'torture porn' in the early twenty first century films such as Saw (2004) and Hostel (2005) highlighted a move towards hyper-realistic and hyper-violent horror film-making, aided by new and emergent technology. From this moment found footage films also began to gain popularity. These films used the concepts of do-it-yourself film making and the dominance of reality television aesthetics from shows such as Most Haunted (2002-) and Ghost Hunters (2004-), to emphasise their verisimilitude and comment more widely on our dependence to technology.