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Mark Z. Danielewski$
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Joe Bray and Alison Gibbons

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719099335

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719099335.001.0001

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Houses of leaves, cinema and the new affordances of old media

Houses of leaves, cinema and the new affordances of old media

Chapter:
(p.52) 3 Houses of leaves, cinema and the new affordances of old media
Source:
Mark Z. Danielewski
Author(s):

Paul McCormick

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719099335.003.0004

Paul McCormick takes a narratological approach in examining the cinematic qualities of House of Leaves as part of the book’s ‘media interface.’ Borrowing the term ‘affordance’ from ecological psychologist J. J. Gibson, which signifies both the inherent properties of an artefact and its perceived usage, McCormick proposes that Danielewski transposes the media affordances of cinema into the book medium in four central ways: a video diary, the perceptual frame of a surveillance camera, the concept of cinematic montage, and a documentary film. These borrowings create what McCormick calls a ‘postmodern uncertainty’ and a ‘level of indeterminacy’ which render the novel both eternally incomplete and firmly situated within the media environment of 1990s America.

Keywords:   Cinema, Affordance, Video diary, Surveillance camera, Montage, Documentary film, Postmodernism, Media culture

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