READING: Fuller, “Boundaries of Participation”

Aspects of the Fuller online essay reminded me of the Pickford Paradox article we read last week. Specifically, it was the contrast between early film’s visual vocabulary and contemporary videogame’s almost identical aesthetic, i.e., the noticeable similarities of an older medium with a newer one— and how in Fuller’s article she referred to how early audiences were initially considered “raucus” (76) and how film was considered by many 20th century denizens as a “narcotic.” All of this helped me realize, “Hey!, this sounds a-heck-ov-alot like Youtube!” Although this analogy may be imperfect, a lot of similarities still hold. Youtube, like early early film, isn’t viewed in a stately theatre, but is instead seen in a public environment, with friends, who may or may not be cavorting, conversing and complaining all at the same time. It is, in part, this communal element of Youtube and the benefit of sharing new video gems with friends, that make Youtube so popular, and perhaps was what also helped early film-going be so compelling in the first place. Returning to the previously mentioned second parallelism, that of early film/ new visual media being a narcotic, I’ve had many a friend who disabled Facebook because of its addictive nature, and others who equally avoided frequenting Youtube due to a similar concern. Whether these fears, modern or old, were ever justified is certainly up for debate. But, nonetheless, these parallelisms do  exist and, perhaps, can even help us understand better audiences’  degree of engagement with visual media, and how boundaries of participation have been established throughout film’s history.