An Aesthetics of Injury exposes wounding as a foundational principle of modernism in literature and film. Theorizing the genre of the narrative wound—texts that aim not only to depict but also to inflict injury—Ian Fleishman reveals harm as an essential aesthetic strategy in ten exemplary authors and filmmakers: Charles Baudelaire, Franz Kafka, Georges Bataille, Jean Genet, Hélène Cixous, Ingeborg Bachmann, Elfriede Jelinek, Werner Schroeter, Michael Haneke, and Quentin Tarantino.
Violence in the modernist mode, an ostensible intrusion of raw bodily harm into the artwork, aspires to transcend its own textuality, and yet, as An Aesthetics of Injury establishes, the wound paradoxically remains the essence of inscription. Fleishman thus shows how the wound, once the modernist emblem par excellence of an immediate aesthetic experience, comes to be implicated in a postmodern understanding of reality reduced to ceaseless mediation. In so doing, he demonstrates how what we think of as the most real object, the human body, becomes indistinguishable from its “nonreal” function as text. At stake in this tautological textual model is the heritage of narrative thought: both the narratological workings of these texts (how they tell stories) and the underlying epistemology exposed (whether these narrativists still believe in narrative at all).
With fresh and revealing readings of canonical authors and filmmakers seldom treated alongside one another, An Aesthetics of Injury is important reading for scholars working on literary or cinematic modernism and the postmodern, philosophy, narratology, body culture studies, queer and gender studies, trauma studies, and cultural theory.
This volume attempts to join the disparate worlds of Egyptian, Maghrebian, South African, Francophone, and Anglophone African cinema—that is, five “formations” of African cinema. These five areas are of particular significance—each in its own way. The history of South Africa, heavily marked by apartheid and its struggles, differs considerably from that of Egypt, which early on developed its own “Hollywood on the Nile.” The history of French colonialism impacted the three countries of the Maghreb—Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco—differently than those in sub-Saharan Africa, where Senegal and Sembène had their own great effect on the Sahelian region. Anglophone Africa, particularly the films of Ghana and Nigeria, has dramatically altered the ways people have perceived African cinema for decades. History, geography, production, distribution, and exhibition are considered alongside film studies concerns about ideology and genre. This volume provides essential information for all those interested in the vital worlds of cinema in Africa since the time of the Lumière brothers.
2015 African Literature Association First Book Award
2013 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
African Video Movies and Global Desires is the first full-length scholarly study of Ghana’s commercial video industry, an industry that has produced thousands of movies over the last twenty years and has grown into an influential source of cultural production. Produced and consumed under circumstances of dire shortage and scarcity, African video movies narrate the desires and anxieties created by Africa’s incorporation into the global cultural economy.
Drawing on archival and ethnographic research conducted in Ghana over a ten-year period, as well as close readings of a number of individual movies, this book brings the insights of historical context as well as literary and film analysis to bear on a range of movies and the industry as a whole. Garritano makes a significant contribution to the examination of gender norms and the ideologies these movies produce.
African Video Movies and Global Desires is a historically and theoretically informed cultural history of an African visual genre that will only continue to grow in size and influence.
After Authority explores the tendency in art cinema to respond to political transition by turning to ambiguity, a system that ideally stems the reemergence of authoritarian logics in art and elsewhere. By comparing films from Italy, Hungary, South Korea, and the United States, this book contends that the aesthetic tradition of ambiguity in art cinema can be traced to post-authoritarian conditions and that it is in the context of a transition away from authoritarianism where art cinema aesthetics become legible. Art cinema, then, can be seen as a mode of cinematic practice that is at its core political, as its constitutive ambiguity finds its roots in the rejection of centralized and hierarchical configurations of authority. Ultimately, After Authority proposes a history of art cinema predicated on the potentials, possibilities, and politics of ambiguity.
Television is evolving rapidly. How, then, might we respond to television today in light of its past? And do the old theoretical concepts still apply, or must we invent a new framework for this mutable medium? To answer these fundamental questions, the contributors to this provocative collection examine diverse case studies, including up-to-date scholarship on the current television zeitgeist, nostalgic programming on broadcast television, YouTube, and public television art programming of the 1980s. As a whole, these essays challenge the supposed crisis in television in the light of its burgeoning development.
Against Immediacy is a history of early video art considered in relation to television in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. It examines how artists questioned the ways in which “the people” were ideologically figured by the commercial mass media. During this time, artists and organizations including Nam June Paik, Juan Downey, and the Women’s Video News Service challenged the existing limits of the one-to-many model of televisual broadcasting while simultaneously constructing more democratic, bottom-up models in which the people mediated themselves. Operating at the intersection between art history and media studies, Against Immediacy connects early video art and the rise of the media screen in gallery-based art to discussions about participation and the activation of the spectator in art and electronic media, moving from video art as an early form of democratic media practice to its canonization as a form of high art.
Alexander Kluge is best known as a founding member of the New German Cinema movement, but his work has spanned a number of genres and media. This wide-ranging book assembles a diverse selection of texts, from nonfiction writings and short stories by Kluge, to critical essays by renowned international scholars on Kluge’s work, to transcripts of interviews with the artist himself. A valuable collection for students and scholars in the fields of film, television, and media studies, Alexander Kluge: Raw Materials for the Imagination is a perfect introduction to Kluge’s key themes and ideas.
In Archiveology Catherine Russell uses the work of Walter Benjamin to explore how the practice of archiveology—the reuse, recycling, appropriation, and borrowing of archival sounds and images by filmmakers—provides ways to imagine the past and the future. Noting how the film archive does not function simply as a place where moving images are preserved, Russell examines a range of films alongside Benjamin's conceptions of memory, document, excavation, and historiography. She shows how city films such as Nicole Védrès's Paris 1900 (1947) and Thom Andersen's Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) reconstruct notions of urban life and uses Christian Marclay's The Clock (2010) to draw parallels between critical cinephilia and Benjamin's theory of the phantasmagoria. Russell also discusses practices of collecting in archiveological film and rereads films by Joseph Cornell and Rania Stephan to explore an archival practice that dislocates and relocates the female image in film. In so doing, she not only shows how Benjamin's work is as relevant to film theory as ever; she shows how archiveology can awaken artists and audiences to critical forms of history and memory.
In this jarring look at contemporary warfare and political visuality, renowned anthropologist of violence Allen Feldman provocatively argues that contemporary sovereign power mobilizes asymmetric, clandestine, and ultimately unending war as a will to truth. Whether responding to the fantasy of weapons of mass destruction or an existential threat to civilization, Western political sovereignty seeks to align justice, humanitarian right, and democracy with technocratic violence and visual dominance. Connecting Guantánamo tribunals to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, American counterfeit killings in Afghanistan to the Baader-Meinhof paintings of Gerhard Richter, and the video erasure of Rodney King to lynching photography and political animality, among other scenes of terror, Feldman contests sovereignty’s claims to transcendental right —whether humanitarian, neoliberal, or democratic—by showing how dogmatic truth is crafted and terror indemnified by the prosecutorial media and materiality of war.
Excavating a scenography of trials—formal or covert, orchestrated or improvised, criminalizing or criminal—Feldman shows how the will to truth disappears into the very violence it interrogates. He maps the sensory inscriptions and erasures of war, highlighting war as a media that severs factuality from actuality to render violence just. He proposes that war promotes an anesthesiology that interdicts the witness of a sensory and affective commons that has the capacity to speak truth to war. Feldman uses layered deconstructive description to decelerate the ballistical tempo of war to salvage the embodied actualities and material histories that war reduces to the ashes of collateral damage, the automatism of drones, and the opacities of black sites. The result is a penetrating work that marries critical visual theory, political philosophy, anthropology, and media archeology into a trenchant dissection of emerging forms of sovereignty and state power that war now makes possible.
Edited by Ian Christie Amsterdam University Press, 2012 Library of Congress PN1995.9.A8A95 2012
Moving away from the recent prevalence of text-based analysis in the field of film studies, Audience tackles one of the most important issues in cinema—how the audience engages with film. Ian Christie has assembled contributions from many of the major figures in media studies, including Gregory Waller, John Sedgwick, and Martin Baker, in order to provide a wide-ranging survey of viewers’ relationships with the screen. Audiences utilizes psychoanalysis and psychology, which dominated early academic examinations of film, to parse and explain modern film-viewing habits. This wide-ranging volume also takes advantage of new technology to gain access to important data on audiences, from traditional box office studies to information on digital access to movies in the home. With a particular interest in individual consumers and their motivations, this timely collection spans the spectrum of contemporary audience studies.
As the film experience fragments across multiple formats, Audiences studies a broad range of viewers, andis essential reading for scholars and lovers of cinema.