The Ghost in the Cinema Machine

Doru POP


The main purpose of this paper is to overview the differences between various embodied experiences we, as users, can have when interacting with contemporary visual media. By using the concept of modes of imagination, the author is approaching the problem of media specificity from another perspective. Using the four different “Ghost in the Shell” narratives as a coherent case study, the paper discusses the different modalities in which the most important categories of contemporary visual forms of representation (cinema, animated cartoons, graphic novels and video games) create immersive practice. The assumption is that “cinematic mode” or the “gaming mode” have their own ghost-like “modality”, as they bringing the user/ reader/ viewer inside their imaginative world differently. The discussion about modes and modalities is not rejecting the semiotic modes theories, it rather proposes a change of view. Starting with the philosophical intuition of Jacques Derrida, who claimed that what we imagine is never the image that we see, by the fusion of the two fundamental dimensions of any illusion, this author takes into consideration the deep separation between image and imagination. Using the insightful method of “hauntology”, the author overviews the most important theories about media specificity and proposes the use of cinematic modalities as experienced by the users of film as fictional world.

Keywords: cinema, anime, Ghost in the Shell, media specificity, mode and modality, immersion

DOI: 10.24193/ekphrasis.17.2