So in reality there is nothing particularly ironic about using negative film for originating digital work.
It is within the context of comparing digital to 8mm film, which is what I was doing.
Yes. And quite right too. The context is very important there. And Roger's main argument is, in any case, quite correct methinks.
I upgraded from a Canon514 to a 1014XLS back in the day. I stopped making Super8 films in about 1985, when the 1014 was stolen rather than for any other reason. Last year I started again: "upgrading" to a Leicina Special having worked in CGI, video, 16mm, digital, and 35mm during the intervening years. However today, for me at least, it is no longer a question of which is "better/cheaper/faster" (the NASA formula). Or rather: no longer just that.
The next great paradigm shift in industrial art technology will involve the exploitation of fundamental forces that are neither analog nor digital but an "entanglement" of both and characterised by equations first elaborated in the 1920s. Quantum mechanics.
In this domain, light (as much as anything else) is characterised in terms of both an analog component (called a wave function) and a digital component (called a particle detection). But it is not a case of conversion (or not) between one and the other, or a this/that choice but a radical decisiveness/indecisiveness between the two. It will be in the exploitation of this [in>decidability, inherent in the fundamental nature of the material universe, that will deliver unimaginably massive computational power and possibilities.
These ideas can be explored ahead of the game, through experiments in either/both analog and/or digital systems. Indeed such ideas have been prefigured by film makers such as Alain Resnais. Last Year at Marienbad is an important film in this respect.
Deleuze refers to what he calls the in-compossible
at work in such a film.
The Belgian philosopher, Henri Vanlier, has argued that photographs are inherently digital because they are obtained by the conversion of silver particles into "darkened/not darkened", that is, a choice "yes/no", or "0/1".
However this does not take into account that important variables in a definition of the silver particles are their position, size and distribution, which are not digital.
A counter-argument might be that such variables, insofar as they have an arbitrary
value, are unimportant. Indeed pre-digital theorists positioned the arbitrary as the antithesis of the analog. This can lead to an incorrect formula (conflation) where the arbitrary is equated with the digital. But the original proposition is an incorrect formula. The cinema, in particular, does not seek to distance itself from the arbitrary. On the contrary the arbitrary is that which distinguishes cinema from earlier forms of philosophical art. The arbitrary, whether analytic (dada) and/or purely synthetic, has a particularly fundamental role in the cinema (whether analog and/or digital). Scripts, cinematography, acting styles - there is a movement to endow or otherwise extract a sense of the arbitrary. The accidental. But not noise. The fortutious. Whether actual or virtual. Macgiver just happens to find the right set of materials with which to construct an ad hoc solution to some immediate life threatening problem. Or a detective, listening to some arbitrary conversation at the next table, at breakfast, just happens to ignite an "of course" brainwave that solves the whodunnit. Or the dear hunter, seeing the deer in a particularly evocative but simultaneously arbitrary light, decides not to shoot it.