Daniel Kulle

The New Freedom. Postdigital Film Production Between Prosumer Culture, Art and New Social Movements

The promise of the postdigital era is clear: Consume to produce and you will craft your self in a creative and inspiring way. In prosumer culture, consumers are always regarded as producers and producers as consumers. Until recently, amateur and professional production of movies have been strictly separated practices. The development of digital means of production, however, of cameras, editing systems, methods of distribution and exhibition, have blurred the distinction between the two.

The paper will analyze, whether these new means and strategies of film production can be explained by a concept of postdigital prosumer culture. However, unlike usual approaches, which would look for the roots for these practices in home and amateur production, this paper will take into account two rather neglected models of cultural creativity: the do-it-yourself-movement that is drafting a counterstory to a society of industrial mass production; and a classical concept of digitality that develops a utopia of emancipation and self-realization through digital transcendence in which the self playfully produces itself in immaterial virtuality.

Postdigital prosumer culture refers to both concepts while stripping them of their subversive potential. DIY’s romantic notion of a fragmented self that is constantly creating itself is replaced by a continuous optimization of a modular body of production, an optimization that is possible only through permanent consumption. And the utopia of digital transcendence gives way to marketing’s promise of a diffuse ‘inspiration’ that contaminates users of digital services through technological nodes and connected friends, consumers and ads.

On the other hand, classical notions of DIY that have been developed in New Social Movements as well as in art still continue to work, opening themselves to strategies and practices of the digital. In a postdigital continuation of situationism, communication guerilla or punk, the new means of film production allow for alternative media use that connect cinematic practices with political performativity, thus sketching an alternative approach to consumeristic prosumer culture.


CV  Daniel Kulle, film and media scholar in Hamburg. Studies of biology and geography. Research journeys to Namibia, Honduras, New Zealand, Spain, and the Antarctic. Cinema Studies in Zurich. Research Assistant in Zurich, Bonn, and Hamburg. Dissertation on „Ed Wood. Trash and Irony“. Research areas: DIY, dilettantism/professionality, kinesthetic of the cinema, queer media.