“Dan Mu” in Bilibili: Understanding of a Model of Movie-Watching in the Context of Assemblage


Dan mu can also be called as “bullet screen” which is a model of movie-watching that has been widely used by website and has been introduced in certain cinemas in China since 2014. It is the function that allows audiences to text message during they watch a video and their message will be projected onto the screen which means it offers a access for audience to exchange their opinions and ideas about this video in a virtual “public space”. Casstti argues that assemblage is “what transforms a collection [of components] into a whole” (80) , and it is a kind of unpredictable process which keeps developing and combines disparate elements into a dynamic circle.

In the case of “Dan Mu”,  audience’s discourse are added in this process which plays a role of re-decoding text.What needs to be paid attention to is that this kind of re-decoding are shared to other audiences directly, and even, this kind of sharing is not limited in time and space cause once audiences choose to turn on “Dan Mu”, the messages from people watched this before or are watching this can all be shown. So watching a video or film on Bilibili is not only a process that audiences connect with the content of video or the environment of watching it anymore, it is more like a process of discussing a certain topic or issues with other people. If cinema is like a ecosystem, I think the meaning of Dan Mu in those websites plays a role of what the first cognitive revolution plays in the history of humankind which means a kind of new mode to think and to communicate. It is the first cognitive revolution enables human approaches the top of food cycle in nature, and Dan mu may changes the way people identify cinema in there future.


Carol Vernallis (2013), “YouTube Aesthetics”, in: Unruly Media, New York: Oxford University Press

By Yi Zhang


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