Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.L.A.

Degree Granting Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Major Professor

Scott Ferguson

Keywords

3-D, Augmented Reality, Digital Media, Film, Neoliberalism

Abstract

This work theorizes the contemporary attraction to three-dimensional media. In doing so, it reframes ongoing debates surrounding digital three-dimensional media in order to critique the neoliberal social relations such media engender. I argue that the contemporary interest in dimensionality, especially regarding digital media, is symptomatic of a broad cultural shift, wherein millions of lives are now essentially being lived through two-dimensional, "flat" media, which have consequently generated a lack of spatial relationships and a craving or desire for "depth." This "desire for depth" has arisen in contemporary society because people are being "spread too thin" through a combination of the radical connectivity afforded by digital technology and the demand for limitless flexibility imposed by the market: a condition I call hyper-extensionality. My work examines how neoliberal capitalism necessitates the individualized, radical connectivity now experienced by millions of people, and subsequently generates our attraction to three-dimensionality in digital media. Through analyses of select, prominent forms of three-dimensional media, I show that commercial three-dimensional media largely functions to maintain the status quo by helping alleviate the feeling of "depthlessness" in the social unconscious.

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