- Preemptive Narratives, Modes of Attention, and the Politics of Perception
- Volume | Issue number
- 34 | 2
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
This paper looks at the narrative technique of the preempted ending, which consists in anticipating an episode’s or season’s ending at the very beginning of the episode or season. Focusing on the TV shows Flashforward and Damages, the paper explores the various ways in which this strategy connects innovative standards in writing, production, distribution and consumption around an aesthetic experience of time. First, the argument highlights the technics of preemptive narratives to investigate their technological conditions such as production-for-streamability and video-on-demand distribution. In a second step, the focus will be on the aesthetic potentials of preemptive narratives, which include different forms of suspense and modes of attention, to explore how we watch differently if we know the ending of a narrative. Finally, the paper addresses the relation between this
narrative technique and contemporary trends towards premediation and a politics of preemption. In this way, the paper shows how preemptive narratives on TV connect technical, aesthetic, and political concerns in order to sensitize viewers to the perceptual dynamics of contemporary culture.
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