UK lags behind in DV revolution

January 14, 2000

Universities and colleges are missing a precious opportunity to win European funds for research and development of digital video technologies.

Graeme Harper, director of the Development Centre for Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Wales, Bangor, says that continental European institutions are way ahead of their counterparts in the United Kingdom in obtaining millions of Euros in funding for digital video technology applications.

"This is truly revolutionary technology that will affect every aspect of the way we communicate digitally. It is the convergence between video and all the other communications technologies. It is about making bridges," he said.

Dr Harper, who sits on the European Commission's panel for multimedia, media and film research and training, believes that most UK institutions have yet to grasp the full import of the DV technologies.

But he is also surprised that many students are also unable to grasp the extent to which their learning and working lives will be changed by DV technologies, not least in the use of Digital Versatile Disks to store and forward entire remote access learning courses.

"It looks very much as though the generation that will really take these technologies to heart will be those who are going through school right now," he said.

"What we've found is that our students really still lack personal contact with PC technology. The 18 to 21-year-olds are still a generation left in the old technologies. The DV technologies will create aesthetic categories as viewers become creators, using web and cinematic techniques."

Some of these changes are being explored by Dr Harper in a conference series. He persuaded Canadian director David Cronenberg to take part in the series via a video/audio conference link. Mr Cronenberg's most recent film eXistenZ, explores themes linked to the way in which technologies reshape people and their lives.

When asked about cinema, technology and the physical attributes, Mr Cronenberg said that newer technologies this century would increasingly bring about convergence. He said: "The human body, as we understand it, has been made obsolete. We have seized control of our own evolution, and we have been altering our bodies in accordance with our ideal of what the human body should be now and how open it should be."

The centre is planning six more video links in the first half of this year. These will form part of the digital download resource base on the website. Details:

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