Untimely Bollywood

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Exploring the ramifications of globalized media, he sheds light on how cinema and other popular media organize bodies, populations, and spaces in order to manage the risky excesses of power and sensation and to reinforce a liberalized postcolonial economy. Paperback Cloth. Availability: In stock. Add to cart. Open Access. Request a desk or exam copy.

Table of Contents Back to Top. Cinema Becoming New Media 1. Toward an Ontology of Media Durations 3. Rights Back to Top. Awards Back to Top. Additional Information Back to Top.

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The Forms of the Affects. On Decoloniality.

Porn Archives. The Undersea Network. No Future. Cultural Politics. These processes inform all aspects of contemporary life across heterogeneous populations, and thus call for a multidisciplinary framework: in a phase transition, where the ontologies durations of consumption are serially tweaked producing quantum effects, a pragmatic combination of disciplinary formations helps to illuminate different facets of this new assemblage.

In this study, then, media studies offers a body neurally implicated in audiovisual technologies of memory; postcolonial studies offers the critique of global capital as a violent and value-yielding machining of gendered, raced, and sexed population flows and the subjugation of historical contents and forms of sociality; feminist literary studies offers an attention to the resonances of narrative unfolding the expressions of a dissociated self, with an insistence on the material effects of language in and through the situated body; and political philosophy offers the strategies of correlating bodies and technologies as biopower.

In this time of deterritorializing and reterritorializing media how is it that Hindi-Urdu cinema has come to assume the characteristics of a "national" cinema, and has done so for the first time? For unlike most national cinemas throughout the later half of the twentieth century, Hindi-Urdu commercial cinema was never a state-sponsored project. On the one hand, as I shall argue, "Bollywood" and I am fully aware ofthe gross inadequacies ofthis term has never had a deeper global market penetration, and the impact of south Indian film populations, specifically south Indian directors, on Bombay cinema has enabled its Introduction 17 entry into many new circuits.

These multiple becomings have their own speeds, and nothing but a teleology could yield predictions at a moment of such thoroughgoing restructurings. I will, however, suggest certain tendencies in the social, bodily, technological, institutional, and commercial reorganization of Hindi-Urdu popular media, each of which has a duration that penetrates the others, thereby forming new "contact actions" and new relations of motion. One important place to diagram this affective restructuring is in the creative engagement with processes of "branding" in piracy cultures. Taking this example as paradigmatic, the argument throughout this study is that an ecology of sensation specific to India's experience of globalization is restructuring and refunctioning the temporalities ofHindi-Urdu media experience.

My research into exhibition practices and film population norms in a "nonmetro" north Indian city, Bhopal, and my interviews with South Asian Bollywood fans in the New York metropolitan area have focused on India's new media assemblage. A media interval is an emergent property of variously connected flows, human and nonhuman energy, capital, timespaces, and image-sound flows.

In one of its capacities it functions as a gateway tracking the gradients of the very flows from which it emerges. Intervals thus organize these flows, and by assembling novel mechanisms and forms of connectivity and resonance they establish a phase separation from the flows through which they emerge. Intervals are the qualitative durations constituting the continuous multiplicity of a media assemblage, their mode of self-organization. Potential examples of such intervals are intermissions, shot length, exhibition schedules, rates of data transmission, attention spans, event anticipation, the public lifespan of a media stream "catchy" media , and the evolution of a given media habituation.

Obviously such a capacious notion ofthe interval can easily become so diffuse as to lose its analytic force, where any randomized gap in a flow becomes a decisive interval. It is important then to specify a set of concepts drawn largely from biopower analyses that can help us adjudicate the important interval from the unimportant one. First, media intervals are stochastic and patterned; as gradient-tracking gateways for a heterogeneous set of flows they organize statistically controlled populations of media culture that will always also swerve from their given trajectories what I term in my conclusion clinamedia.

Second, intervals render assemblages in perpetual nonequilibrium conditions, and yet they are more or less consistent over the lifespan of that singular assemblage. Third, and following from the second assumption, media assemblages are temporally bound structures through which definite sets and forms of information circulate, thereby producing variations that can form further novel assemblages dissipative phase transitions.

In these eddies of media various forms of energy and matter dissipate irreversibly through the interval gateway. This book comes out of the belief that contemporary film and media studies must address the kind of contagion that audiovisual movement Introduction rg has become. Neither formalist analyses of film culture nor representational theories of subjectivation addresses the particular interval involved in the global becoming of control media: namely, the bodily dispensation of the digital.

That untimely interval is in the production of affect, in the co-dependent emergence of human populations and media technologies.

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The interval happens in the very interaction of all the various elements of a media assemblage; those in-between processes through which constituting powers enable modes of negotiation and flight, processes that render relations of force at once most visible and least vulnerable. That is also why different strategies of writing are called for to inhabit the same book. It is in the interval, says Giorgio Agamben, where the question of the biopolitical subject itself can be posed. The interval is neither an absence or lack nor merely production; instead, it is a remainder.

The interval subject can only be conceived "in terms o f a process of subjectivation and desubjectivationor rather as an interval o r remainder between these processes. This ambiguity is to diagram the event of media assemblages as an untimely becoming: to go, as Deleuze states, "back into the event, to take one's place in it as in a becoming, to grow both young and old in it at once, going through all its components and singularities.

Becoming isn't part of history; history amounts [to] only the set of preconditions, however recent, that one leaves behind in order to 'become,' that is, to create something new. It conjures up images of Bollywood faithfuls gathering, struggling, and scrambling to be one of the elect few to say, coolly, "Dekhli [saw it]-first day, first show.

The chapters that follow build on these sitespecific encounters, drawing most heavily from my extended research into new media assemblages in Bhopal-the City of Lakes and the capital of Madhya Pradesh. Bhopal is a city that was torn through by a rampaging death-gas secreted by a Union Carbide plant in December , which killed thousands and thousands of mostly poor Muslim people within hours, and which continues to claim the lives offifteen people each month.

It is also the city of my birth and home to my father's extended upper-caste, middle-class Hindu family. Historically it was a walled-in city ruled for over a century by the Begums of Bhopal, the Muslim descendants of its founder the Afghan Dost Mohammed Khan.

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Today, Bhopal is a segregated city: the old gated city, home to the now minority Muslim population, is overwhelmingly poor and overcrowded; the new Bhopal, Hindu dominated, is home to politicians, state legislators, landowners, businesspeople, and Dominos Pizza and the Dalit workers who service them. The rest are all in the Muslim-majority areas o f the erstwhile walled city. The difference is not only in location but can be seen in terms o f numerous factors such as accessibility quality of roads, density o f trafic, availability o f parking, etc. This spectrum of differences indexes the emergence o f a new kind of connectivity across the multiple dynamic thresholds ofmedia technologies, cultural forms, subjectivities, neighborhoods, regions, nations, ideologies, and perception; it indexes as well the complex relationship between the new media and the changing strategies of India's globalizing elites.

Very simply, all these new connectivities imply a fundamental shift in the sensations of cinema. Certainly today cinematic practices, not just the cinematic image, are indissociable from the Internet, Dolby sound, or satellite TV as folds of each other. And certainly the form of bodily attentionexteroception, proprioception,' interoception; in short, affect-produced through the cinematic sound-image and its constitutive intervals practices, institutions, sensori-motor circuits, and spatiotemporalities has fundamentally changed in being folded into the new media.

Untimely Bollywood

Thus, if a qualitatively different human-media interface is coming into dominance through these technologies and the active bodies o f media consumers, then the thought of cinema itselfmust change. We chart these becomings through diagramming the body's sensations in and through the nonlinear dynamics o f this new media assemblage.


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But whose body? And which media technologies? In response, two initial "method" problems present themselves. First, does this suggest that all bodies, regardless of gender, religion, class, caste, race, sexuality, etc.

Second, does this assume that satellite, Internet, and cable, etc. To my mind these two questions should be reposed as: How can we think of the transformation in Bollywood cinema's ecology o f sensation in the era of its new media assemblage as a qualitatively different kind of solicitation of the body's essential creativity, its openness as a center of indetermination-in short, its virtuality? Simultaneously, how can we think of the assemblage's specific form of power-as a violent machining, as the reproduction and containment, or reframing ofdeeply entrenched and repeatedly produced inequalities, cliches, and habituations across heterogeneous populations, a human multiplicity structured in dominance?

Throughout this study I attempt to hold these lines of critique in productive tension: namely, Bollywood's global media assemblage as a historically specific unfolding of virtualization-containment, the unpredictable but patterned emergence of new media habituations. This approach follows through on Bernard Stiegler's startling suggestion that a "peoplen-ethnic, racial, national, regional, populational-is not defined by its past memory, culture, traditions, "genius" but by its future; that is, by the line of mutation that orients it to a technologically constitutive outside, by its assembling along a machinic phylum.