POV-Matter, cinematic POV and algorithmic POV between affects and umwelten


  • Mitra Azar




The essay refers to affect theory as a conceptual toolbox to draw a genealogy of POV (Point of View) that goes from the formation of the first organic POV to the reinvention of POV by the cinematic apparatus up to the latest development of algorithmic POV in machine vision and AI. The essay engages with Bergson’s conviction that there’s no perception without affection, and tests it against a phenomenological, cinematic and machinic notion of POV. To do so, the essay introduces what the German biologist Jacob von Uexküll has called Umwelt — the ecological niche emerging from the affordances between organisms, space, and (when applicable) technology. Furthermore, fundamental categories of both phenomenology and psycho-analysis are put at work in relation to cinematic POV and to the algorithmic POV produced by Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), which seems to re-invent the relationship between seeing/seen (Merleau-Ponty) and eye/gaze (Lacan). This re-invention confirms the category of Umwelt and affect as markers for understanding the transformation between a phenomenological, cinematic and algorithmic notion of POV.