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date: 08 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics edited by John Richardson, Claudia Gorbman, and Carol Vernallis. While the commercial and sociological aspects of technological convergence have been discussed among scholars, producers, and consumers, this chapter explores the aesthetics of convergence and how the technological/historical/aesthetic conventions of distinctly different media can be used as “meta” gestures. Two multimedia products focusing on the same complex topic-climate change-are used to illustrate how audiovisual space is configured differently in “theatrical” and “cinematic” modes and how those spaces can create a higher level rhythm and texture. The film documentary An Inconvenient Truth alternates rhetorical theatrical and affective cinematic spaces. The three-part television series Climate Wars is markedly more complex and contrapuntal, “theatricalizing” the audience-screen relationship of cinema and deploying a dense, layered visual texture. The soundscape and visual field organize information from relatively straightforward, reinforcing “harmony"; to a counterpoint commenting on earlier documentaries; to streams of information that can overwhelm comprehension, creating affective “bursts” akin to musical stings.

Keywords: convergence, multimedia, documentary, film, climate change, An Inconvenient Truth, Climate Wars

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