Chapter 22: Organizational Principles of Video Data

Simone Santini
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, California, USA

1. Introduction

Extending his right hand on the book opened in front of him and pointing his left hand toward the majestic silhouette of Notre Dame cathedral visible through the window, the archdeacon Dom Claude pronounced the words that would give Victor Hugo a permanent place in all citation manuals:

H las ! ceci tuera cela. [1]

With these words, Dom Claude who (we are, of course, in the novel Notre Dame de Paris) spoke at the end of the XV century expressed his preoccupation that the newly invented printing press would destroy the pedagogical function of the cathedral, at the time the greatest effort of the Catholic church to encode in a visible form not only the histories of the Bible but also, subtly encoded, the essence of Thomas Aquinas's scholastic philosophy [1].

The worries of Dom Claude may have been excessive. Just to stay in the neighbourhood of Quasimodo's home, one can notice that Viollet-le-Duc, who presided over the great restoration of Notre Dame in the XIX century, was something of an architecture theoretician, well known for his many books. His professional figure, his culture, and the philosophy of art history upon which the restoration was based would not have been possible without the printing press. Dom Claude's cry, however, is particularly poignant for anybody who might want to analyse the complex relation between multimediality, [2] the Internet, and preexisting forms of communication like video, images, text, diagrams, and so on.

Of particular interest in our context is the relation between the new channels of information dissemination and video—relations that, if on one hand seem to promise new openings and new avenues for the diffusion of video artefacts, on the other hand embody a crisis of the seriality (and, on a different plane, of historicity), so characteristic of video.

The symbiotic/antithetic relationship between the "New Media" [2] and video is, on one hand, at the origin of the frustration that many researchers experiment when trying to merge the two while, on the other hand, can give us some useful information on how such a symbiosis can be made to work.

This chapter will start with a few theoretical statements about video, the Internet, and the relations between the two. One of the results of this analysis will be the division of the general video universe into two parts, which I will call semiotic and phenœstetic, characterized by very different relations with the Internet medium. I will argue that the two types of videos deserve two very different treatments when it comes to Internet distribution and, in the following sections, I will introduce some of the techniques already developed or hypothesizable for distributing and experiencing these types of video on the Internet, referring mostly to phenœstetic video.

[1]Alas! This will kill that.

[2]The term multimedia itself is quite infelicitous, at least in the high-tech sense in which it is customarily used: both the media that the archdeacon was indicating, the book and the cathedral, are, according to any reasonable definition, multimedia devices. I will try, whenever possible, to avoid using the term multimedia and derivates.

Handbook of Video Databases. Design and Applications
Handbook of Video Databases: Design and Applications (Internet and Communications)
ISBN: 084937006X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 393 © 2008-2017.
If you may any questions please contact us: