Random Theory

until-dawn-hayden-panettiere-ps4-e1407974438229So, I’m watching #TomorrowDaily–and my mind has already been blown by the Pokemon thing, but then there’s something else. In the review of #UntilDawn, the host, Ashley, identifies #HaydenPanettiere by name,  then says “that’s her” as a clip from the entirely digitally-rendered game is shown.  A common enough thing, for sure, but she calls attention to it by amending it: she stipulates that Panettiere ‘did the voice for that character’, but it’s clear how easy it is for us to conflate representation with the thing itself, and even how much harder that distinction might be getting to make in the first place. But, then, I see another character who looks very much like #BrettDalton and, sure enough, according to the IMDb, Dalton provided a voice for the game.  So, I didn’t actually have to see or hear him, nor read his name in print, even, to have initially associated him with this game. And, I think any consumer might do the same, might say ‘Oh, this looks cool! I’ve seen these actors in other stuff I like!’, and that is, of course, exactly what’s intended by the renderings. What’s neat, though, is that they’re not necessarily thinking about the fact that that intermediary, the rendering that lies in the series of so many other steps between them and the actors themselves, even exists. These renderings are so close to their subjects that they can be, at times, taken for the real thing. Yet, since they’re not material, they are both infinitely manipulable and infinitely resilient renderings.  Replicating actors’ voices isn’t an issue, either, given similar audio innovations. So what then does this mean for the identity of that rendering,  especially given their potential to provide performances the actors themselves might never have given? What does it mean for the performance of the actor who provided at least the initial work of inserting that avatar into a narrative, who gave that rendering ‘life’ in the first place? #randomtheory


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