edited by the NECS Open Scholarship Committee – Bregt Lameris, Miriam de Rosa, Jeroen Sondervan, Victoria Pastor-González and Tereza Czesany Dvořáková This special section guest edited by members of the NECS Open Scholarship Committee invites submissions that engage with questions of openness as an inherently broad notion. Such a concept underpins a variety of practices in […]
About Greg DeCuir
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Entries by Greg DeCuir
PortCityFutures: Mindsets and values, contestation and friction by Vincent Baptist, Francesca Savoldi, and Carola Hein PortCityFutures is an interdisciplinary research center, originally set up between the Dutch universities of Delft, Rotterdam, and Leiden. It focuses on the legacies, uses, and future developments of port city regions, motivated to let port and city jointly evolve again, […]
A conversation with B. Ruby Rich, one of the most prolific film critics in the world. For decades she has been involved in film culture as a curator, film critic, professor, and journal editor. In this interview, Skadi Loist and Dagmar Brunow talk with Rich about her inspirations, her international encounters, and her take on film culture and criticism. Above all, this conversation highlights the importance of looking at the social relations that make film culture happen.
Introducing and contextualising the contributions to the thematic section on ports, we discuss the conceptual and empirical productivity of the port for media research. As material infrastructures, ports mediate between land and sea, nature and culture, centres of power and colonised/extracted peripheries. As logistic nodes, ports connect transport and communication, technological innovation and revolutionary agency. Their ambivalent and managed visibility makes ports an intriguing motif of media representations that is harnessed for dramatic narratives, cognitive mapping of capitalism, or for city branding. As such ports help to rethink ideas about the relationship between material and symbolic aspects of mediation, between technological innovation and cultural heritage, between metaphorical and literal media ecologies.
This article examines the representation of ports and shipyards within contemporary French cinema, addressing three works whose narratives centre around port towns on France’s Mediterranean coast: L’Atelier (2017), La Ville est tranquille (2000), and Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro (2011). The analysis places theories of left melancholy in dialogue with these films in order to explore their representation of the relationship between the Fordist past, neoliberal present, and any possible beyond. Consequently, it makes a case for the importance of the port as a site through which fundamental questions pertaining to cultural, social, and economic changes are explored within contemporary work-oriented film.
by María Vélez-Serna and Markus Stauff Any discussion of ports from a media studies perspective needs to take into account their complex and layered reality: the location, the function, and the visibility of ports result from and produce conflicting layers of geopolitical, infrastructural, legal, and economic dynamics. To integrate at least some aspects that might […]
Ports make visible neglected details in the history of film distribution. The international shipment of film connected for more than half a century the main nodes in the network of film distribution. This article maps questions on port-related logistical challenges, based on the personal and corporate collections of Swedish film distributor Oscar Rosenberg (1874-1943) and his film agency from around 1916 to 1930, also the changing conditions for four Swedish ports in the years around 1920.
The popularity and availability of Ernst Lubitsch’s cross-dressing comedy Ich möchte kein Mann sein (1918) sometimes creates the impression that it is a unique example of female-to-male cross-dressing in silent cinema. Likewise, attention to the gender and sexual play of Weimar-era (1918-1933) German cinema often eclipses cinema of the Wilhelmine era (1895-1918). This article asks: how does Ich möchte kein Mann sein fit into the wider ecology of German films featuring cross-dressed women, during both the Wilhelmine and Weimar eras? How are the cross-dressed women of German silent cinema similar to and different from silent films in other countries? After examining more than 47 German silent films featuring cross-dressed women, I argue that German films adapted transnational cross-dressing performance traditions to fit local contexts, offering audiences deliberately contradictory experiences of female masculinity and same-sex desire. Though scholars have focused on Weimar cinema as offering new possibilities for gender and sexuality, Wilhelmine cinema also offered varied visions of female masculinity – especially in Danish actress Asta Nielsen’s creative takes on cross-dressing traditions. Weimar films continued these traditions while making more explicit reference to real life lesbian and gay subcultures. Attending to the complexities of female-to-male cross-dressing allows us to see how popular culture envisions alternative gender and sexual scenarios while maintaining its popularity and, for the most part, dodging the censors’ scissors.
Through two Danish case studies, we investigate how the media of sound and film production are used in port city branding and transformation: in the port city of Struer through a somewhat unconventional branding strategy called ‘The City of Sound’; and in the port of Hirtshals, through film productions foregrounding cultural, social, and physical-material aspects of the port. The paper analyses the role of sound and film in place-branding and port city development and discusses the challenges and benefits of these ventures as a port city transformation strategy, and in the building of positive port city narratives.
In the contemporary media landscape, the visual component of armed conflicts tends to be articulated in two distinct imaginaries. On one hand, we observe a ‘view from above’ generated by aircrafts, UAVs, and satellites; on the other, we encounter videos and photographs shot with consumer technologies by people on the ground such as regular soldiers, militiamen, guerrillas, NGOs, and civilians. Through the internet, these ‘low images’ have created a new imaginary.
Among the devices that mark the iconography of the wars of the new millennium, a prominent place is occupied by minute-sized videographic instruments usually secured on the operator’s head, called helmet cameras. These devices are characterised by two elements: the first-person view and the prosthetic relationship with the human body. The machine vision hence presupposes a form of witnessing inextricably related to the subject’s mobility. Helmet cameras produce an embodied experience of war in which the visual perspective echoes the agency of a body at risk that is exposed to the stimuli and the dangers of the battlefield. Focusing primarily on the television docu-series Taking Fire (2016), the paper aims to explore all the elements that mark helmet cameras as a real topos of the contemporary war imagery, pointing to the relationship between vision, technical device, and body. The essay highlights recurring features of the images on both filmic and content levels, adopting an interdisciplinary perspective. Starting from studies on point-of-view shots and documentary filmmaking, the essay demonstrates how helmet camera images are profoundly influenced by several trends shaping the contemporary media landscape, including the post-photographic approach, the videogame world, the aesthetics of extreme sports, and the social network culture.
This article analyses cinematic exposition of aeriality in empire documentaries and avant-garde cinema from the interwar period to interrogate cinema as infrastructure, its weaponisation and deployment in the imperial project, and its convergence with aerial infrastructure which united the perception of Empire with the experience of modernity. I argue that the use of aeriality in the aestheticisation of infrastructures in avant-garde films like De Brug (Joris Ivens, 1928) and La Tour (Rene Clair, 1928) cannot be divorced from the ideology that is on overt display in Empire aviation documentaries such as Wings over Everest and Contact.
This article argues that the critical study of algorithms must shift its focus from solving the problem of the ‘black box’ to seeing the structures that surround and pose it as a problematic in the first place. By mapping the movements of what I call algorimages, and the socio-technical infrastructures through which they circulate, the apparently ‘hidden’ imperatives of algorithms are made visible. Through the case study of Twitter, this article undertakes a critical, materialist analysis of algorimages as logistics, excavating their technical substrates and social conditions of emergence within transformations of the capitalist mode of production since the 1970s.
This review examines two recent publications which explore cinema exhibition, alternative viewing practices, audience and reception studies. The books are María A Vélez-Serna’s Ephemeral Cinema Spaces: Stories of Reinvention, Resistance and Community (Amsterdam University Press, 2020) and Emma Pett’s Experiencing Cinema: Participatory Film Cultures, Immersive Media and the Experience Economy (Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2021). Both […]
An infinite exhibition fills the nave: Laurent Grasso’s ANIMA The world of analogies and meaning takes on its full scope, resonances prevail over impoverishing causality. Instead of being the sum of possessed objects, the world becomes the unity of all the spaces granted to the entities that populate it. – Grégory Quenet, curator of ANIMA […]
The Havana Film Festival New York (HFFNY) is the city’s longest continuously running Latin American/US-Latino festival. In this review I examine the nuances of the festival’s 22nd offering from 3-10 November 2022, as well as its unique premise, making it a key space for over two decades of cultural encounter and negotiation. Additionally, I highlight […]