Form and feeling: Kinaesthetic Knowing / Artificial Darkness

Formalism, as a term in the criticism of visual art, might be defined thus: as the conviction that forms contain their own syntax which acts on the spectator more or less directly. Further, the formalist maintains that experience of form is aesthetic experience; its effect is something called aesthetic emotion. And its opposite is not […]

(Re)imagining African Independence

In 2015, the former Portuguese colonies of Angola, Mozambique, Sao Tomé and Principe commemorated the 40th anniversary of their independence. In reality, the end of the Portuguese empire in the 1970s was as abrupt as its history had been exceptional in relation to the rest of the 20th century colonies: the length of the Portuguese […]

TV Socialism / Broadcasting Modernity

The study of television is often viewed as a crucial window into a given society’s popular culture. Dominant codes of meaning contained within the programming, and the ways in which various cultural groups decode those meanings – even the very broadcast technology itself – can reveal much about a society’s values, politics, and cultural traditions. […]

First Comes Love / Presumed Intimacy

Celebrity studies is now a burgeoning subfield within film and media studies, with its own journal (Celebrity Studies [founded in 2010]), international conferences, and a raft of publications that have defined its parameters, notably work by Graeme Turner (2014), Chris Rojek (2001, 2012), P. David Marshall (2014), Su Holmes and Sean Redmond (2006), Su Holmes […]

Inhuman Networks / Controversies in Digital Ethics

Talking about the rise of the internet is at once as trivial as it is banal. If I asked a friend a speculative question, how do I make my own sourdough culture, they would sarcastically respond, there is this new thing where you can type in these questions without asking me – it is called […]

Marx at the Movies / Cartographies of the Absolute

It is difficult to separate the history of cinema, a form of art so embedded within the twentieth century, from the history of Communism. Perhaps it is not only because of the coincidence of the two dates of birth but, rather, there is something more profound and more structural in regards to their common heritage […]

Social Media – New Masses / Updating to Remain the Same

Do we still live in a mass society? Does that foul spectre of the long and dark 20th century – the masses – extend into the 21st? We would perhaps like to believe that it does not. Or should we say they do not? Part of the anxiety over this strange socio-logical category can already […]

A new era of Maghrebi-French cinema: Two perspectives

From Tunis to Casablanca and further afield in the diaspora, Maghrebi-French filmmakers have articulated the historical transformations of their societies, including their changing place in the world. All the major events and historical moments that have shaped the Maghreb have been put on camera, with original and critical portrayals detailing the social, political, and economic […]

A geography of resistance: Locating US underground film and TV cultures

The latest collection from David E. James[1] and Adam Hyman (filmmaker and former executive director of the Los Angeles Filmforum) offers a historical and critical representation of the emergence and organisation of the US West Coast postwar experimental cinema scene. The book, titled Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980 (New Barnet: John Libbey […]

Dreaming of Cinema / Slow Cinema

Adam Lowenstein’s Dreaming of Cinema: Spectatorship, Surrealism, and the Age of Digital Media (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015) and Slow Cinema (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016), a collection of essays edited by Tiago de Luca and Nuno Barradas Jorge, are attempts to come to grips with some of the different ways that digital technology […]

New media configurations and socio-cultural dynamics in Asia and the Arab world

Today more than ever new media and digital technologies are embedded in everyday life and socio-cultural structures. In fact, the evolving nature of media platforms, the migratory feature of content across various media sites, and the adoption of a participatory culture have tremendously altered the social dynamics not only within the nation-state setting but also […]

Complex series and struggling cable guys

Both Jason Mittell’s Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling (New York: New York University Press, 2015) and Amanda Lotz’s Cable Guys: Television and Masculinities in the 21st Century (New York: New York University Press, 2014) significantly contribute to filling the gap in research on recent television series. Over the past two decades a […]

Cinema of the Swimming Pool / Cinema as Weather

In the introduction to their excellent edited collection on film location, Taking Place,[1] Elena Gorfinkel and John David Rhodes make a very sharp point about the fact that local specificity is not an alternative to ‘generalizing thought’ but a vital constituent of it. As they explain, ‘place, in its specific concreteness, does not act as […]

The Lumière Galaxy

At the outset of one of the more celebrated American novels of the second half of the 20th century, the main character and storyteller declares: [t]he fact is I am quite happy in a movie, even a bad movie. Other people, so I have read, treasure memorable moments in their lives: the time one climbed […]

Beautiful Data / The Democratic Surround

As the future approaches, equally digital and messy, it appears that there is considerable need for a thorough re-thinking of the postwar period which to a large extent determined the course of the current conditions. Such a broadly-conceived Foucauldian ‘history of the present’ attempts to shed new light on contemporary phenomena by rethinking their genealogy […]