Beautiful images in spectacular clarity : spectacular television, landscape programming and the question of (tele)visual pleasure
Wheatley, Helen (Helen M.). (2011) Beautiful images in spectacular clarity : spectacular television, landscape programming and the question of (tele)visual pleasure. Screen, Vol.52 (No.2). pp. 233-248. ISSN 0036-9543Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/screen/hjr004
In establishing television's difference from cinema, scholars have too quickly dismissed the medium's spectacular qualities. Arguments about television which emphasize comparison with cinema typically position the medium as visually inefficient, sound-led and lacking in visual detail. Theories of television's distracted viewership also understand television as anti-spectacular, and, as Mimi White has argued, ‘the emphasis on the temporality of liveness on television (immediacy, interruption) distracts from consideration of the medium's spatial articulations’. It is these articulations, in the form of the spectacle of landscape on television, which this essay addresses. Considering the recent cycle of ‘landscape programming’ on British television, this essay explores television's spectacular aesthetic. An analysis is offered of the pictorial qualities of programmes such as Coast (BBC2/1, 2005-), A Picture of Britain (BBC1, 2005), Wainwright Walks (Skyworks for BBC4, 2007), Britain's Favourite View (ITV1, 2007) and Britain from Above (Lion for BBC1, 2008), and visual pleasure on television. It is argued that these programmes presume a contemplative mode of viewing more traditionally associated with the spectacular in other media (landscape painting, film). Whilst rejecting a technologically determinist argument about the rise of HD shooting and viewing technologies and the advent of this genre of programming (particularly through attention to the history of this genre), these recent programmes are understood as post-digital revolution television. This is simultaneously ‘slow television’ which allows for a contemplative gaze on spectacular ‘natural’ landscapes, and also a heavily-CGI'd cycle of programming which draws on a ‘Google Earth’ aesthetic to produce a frenzy of dazzling cartography, showcasing the spectacle of ‘new’ technologies.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Arts > Film and Television Studies|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Television -- Aesthetics, Television -- Stage-setting and scenery -- Great Britain, Television program locations -- Great Britain|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Screen|
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press|
|Page Range:||pp. 233-248|
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