by Martine Beugnet, Greg de Cuir Jr, Judith Keilbach, Skadi Loist, Toni Pape, Belén Vidal and Andrea Virginás The Spring 2022 issue of NECSUS has come together in the shadow of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, ongoing since 24 February 2022 and with no clear end in sight at the time of writing. Described by Western […]
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-19 11:59:032023-06-17 13:36:03Editorial NECSUS – Spring 2022_#Rumors
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-19 11:11:432022-06-19 11:11:43Anonymous, QAnon, Tik-tok teens, K-pop fans
by Michelle Cho A June 21, 2020 Breitbart story ‘AOC Praises Teens and Korean Pop Fans for Allegedly Using Chinese App to Meddle with Trump Rally’ attempted to deflect attention from the humiliatingly low attendance at a Trump rally by feeding its readers a chain of terms with negative associations. In keeping with Breitbart’s right-wing […]
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-19 11:05:162022-06-19 12:03:53The machine that makes gossip: Andy Warhol’s ‘Screen Test’ of Marcel Duchamp
This essay positions Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests alongside a range of rumors about their production. Drawing on interviews, memoirs, and photographic documentation, I reconstruct the proliferation of gossip surrounding the 1966 shoot of Marcel Duchamp. The rumors that circulated about this event – namely, that Warhol persuaded a young woman to caress Duchamp flirtatiously just out of frame – eventually made it into the ‘official’ historical record, appearing in popular biography and museum exhibition texts. Rather than asserting what truly happened during the making of this film, my analysis instead focuses on the reasons this rumor seemed credible. The minimal form of the Screen Tests, along with the casual terms of production and exhibition in Warhol’s Factory studio, encouraged the proliferation of unverifiable discourse about them. Using the Duchamp film as an example, I argue that we can view the Screen Tests as a body of work that generates and sustains gossip.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-19 10:25:392022-06-19 10:53:35Inhabited stories: An enactive media archaeology of virtual reality storytelling
What makes a story designed for (and experienced via) real or imaginary VR systems so different from other stories and storyworlds? Through an enactivist perspective on media archaeology, I will address the issue by discussing the notion of virtual reality storytelling (VRS) as the art of crafting ‘inhabited stories’ and a discursive frame where VR narrativity has been articulated. In fact, narratives of and for VR identify a recurring discourse, or ‘topos’, that circulated from medium to medium during Western media history. After discussing theoretical notions such as that of ‘virtual reality’, ‘storyworld’, and ‘presence’, I will address the historical and cognitive relationship between VR space design and narrative of environmental storytelling by exploring different examples from peep media tradition, gaming, and VR cinema. Second, I will propose a media archaeology of ‘human enhancement’, a recursive topos in real and imaginary VR and haptic technologies. In doing so, I will highlight some recurring narrative strategies at the basis of VRS: the illusion of non-narration, i.e. the ability to direct the story-making activity of the virtual user without his/her awareness; the craftsmanship of paths of ‘attentional matching’ made of haptic responses and spatialised stories; and the design of new senses which can disclose enhanced processes of world- and story-making.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-19 10:03:262022-06-21 07:20:12Uncanny sounds and the politics of wonder in Christian Petzold’s ‘Undine’
We examine uses of sound in German director Christian Petzold’s Undine (2020), based on the story of a water sprite who marries a human and acquires a soul. We employ the concepts of ‘acousmatic sound’ and ‘the acousmêtre’ to suggest that the film’s uncanny soundscape invites a mode of listening that challenges and transforms habitual perception. While Undine largely adheres to cinematic realism, its sound design evokes intrusion by the preternatural and fantastical. By auditory allusions to the mysterious and uncanny, Undine asserts the significance of fairy tales and storytelling for perceiving and understanding reality and for imagining alternatives.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-19 09:45:092022-06-19 11:02:31Vintage furniture: The significance of the casting couch as industry gossip and rumor
Hollywood gossip circulates through both formal publications and informal interpersonal networks. In this article, I argue that both types of gossip and rumor are essential for understanding Hollywood’s business inefficiencies. Focusing primarily on the role of informal gossip, I explore its importance for aspirant networking and, as #MeToo reporting revealed, as a warning mechanism for women who must navigate the predatory men of Hollywood. Tracing the history of casting couch lore as a particular genre of gossip, I show how informal gossip can empower women working in Hollywood yet also retrench gendered hierarchies.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-19 09:32:052022-06-19 11:07:02Mirror, mirror on the wall: AKS International Minorities Festival Pakistan 2021
AKS International Minorities Festival is a film festival that seeks to showcase films and art projects, as well as to create a dialog around the representation of minorities, particularly immigrants, sexual minorities, trans people, and people of colour. Since 2014, the festival has been held annually both in Pakistan and Denmark, establishing itself as an […]
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-19 09:15:082022-06-19 11:08:00Truth and truths-to-come: Investigating viral rumors in ‘Q: Into the Storm’
This article interrogates how Q: Into the Storm (HBO, 2021) pursues the conspiratorial thinking of QAnon adherents in two ways: first, as an investigative docuseries into the world of rumors, mapping the phenomenon for a wider audience, and second, as filmmaker Cullen Hoback’s entrance into QAnon as an alternative reality game (ARG), interacting with the sociotechnical network underpinning it. Both modes train viewers to anticipate truths-to-come, key to enjoying both media forms. Taking rumor-tellers seriously, Hoback intervenes in QAnon’s effects while indulging viewers’ prurient interest in the conspiratorial logic the series characterises as socially harmful. Considered in light of Bernard Stiegler’s concerns about the contemporary industrialisation of consciousness, the series fails as a consciousness-raising endeavor. We view Storm ambivalently as both an effective usurpation of such thinking and a reinstantiation of it.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-19 08:42:072022-06-19 11:06:11Against the tyranny of the fact: Autofabulation as a queer strategy of resistance
Queerness has always had a particularly vexed relationship to evidence. Because the latter has historically served to discipline the former, José Esteban Muñoz suggests that anecdotes can become queer acts of resistance against the ‘potential tyranny of the fact’. Drawing on this argument, this article examines the ways in which American artist, filmmaker, and AIDS activist Gregg Bordowitz uses autofabulation to destabilise evidential discourses in his performance practice. Specifically, it looks at ‘Some Styles of Masculinity’ (2017-ongoing), a series of anecdotal monologues in which Bordowitz reflects on the formation of his identity as a queer Jewish man living with HIV.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-18 18:26:552022-06-27 08:58:39All the Rumors Are True
by Nicholas Baer and Maggie Hennefeld There have been many who have accused me to you for many years now, and none of their accusations are true. –Plato, Apology All the rumors are true, yeah / What ya’ heard, that’s true, yeah –Lizzo featuring Cardi B, ‘Rumors’ Rumor had it that Socrates was impious […]
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-18 18:25:292022-06-19 10:56:31Screen decorum: Silent Hollywood and neoclassical concepts of acting
This article revisits the debates around the notion of ‘classical Hollywood cinema’ in order to call attention to how various traits of neoclassical aesthetics characterised discourses on film acting in American cinema of the silent era. Drawing on a host of film acting manuals, how-to guidebooks, magazine advice columns, and interviews with actors from the 1910s and 1920s, the article demonstrates that besides film’s indebtedness to melodrama, pantomime, and other contemporary theatrical practices, variants of neoclassical aesthetic ideas came to play an important role in informing how silent-era Hollywood reflected on ideal forms of screen acting. By placing the early discussions on silent film acting in the context of the American renewed interest in the classics during the early twentieth century, the article makes a case for the importance of classical ideas in Hollywood cinema, alongside – and indeed often in conflict with – the prominent demand for realism.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-18 18:09:582022-06-19 11:03:14Gossip’s ephemeral longevity: Power, circulation, and new media
This essay argues that gossip reveals cultural networks that can support a range of functions, whether celebrity visibility, crowd-sourced anonymity, or anti-colonial revolt. Examining gossip through interdisciplinary scholarship in subaltern studies, psychology, literary criticism, media studies, and history, the essay elaborates its imbrication in these cultural networks along with its role in the creation of new media forms. The first part of the essay traces the semantic permutations of ‘gossip’ alongside related terms, elucidating gossip’s function as a network builder and didactic mode via new media. The second part offers a series of non-exhaustive case studies from the 1600s to the present that demonstrate gossip’s role in creating new connected publics, exerting social pressure, providing protection, and offering resistance against established institutions. This transhistorical perspective for considering gossip in relation to print and digital media brings together eighteenth-century periodicals, the #FreeBritney campaign for Britney Spears, the ‘Shitty Media Men’ spreadsheet, and slave revolts. By examining how ‘ephemeral’ gossip creates material outcomes, the essay shows how gossip works while illuminating its contradictory designations of trivial irrelevance and dangerous power.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-18 16:37:252022-06-28 07:27:44Anger management, or the dream of a falsifiable film-historical past
The so-called ‘historical turn’ in Anglo-American film studies during the 1980s was an attempt to permanently derail what many influential scholars saw as the excesses of unfalsifiable theory. This widespread disciplinary intervention had the additional and relatively successful aim of delegitimising almost all previous published histories of Hollywood as prejudiced, unresearched, and, most damning of all, based on the repetition of popular legends and hearsay. Yet one such history has remained astonishingly useful to the successive iterations of the ‘new film history’, useful to the point of seeming indispensable for various scholarly and popular projects of correcting the historical record: Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon. This essay takes Anger’s film-historical practice seriously as an enduring challenge to both historicism and historical positivism because of its queer powers of attraction that have established beyond any doubt that deviance, in its various modes and permutations, is inexorably part of Hollywood’s story. The repeated returns to Anger by present-day film historians, constituting a reception history of Hollywood Babylon, demonstrate how the logics of hetero- and homonormative salvation continue to underwrite our current historiography of early Hollywood.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-18 16:14:422022-06-19 11:09:13‘I’m not a racist . . . but’: Conservative media and the plasticities of color-blind racism
This essay examines the role of color-blind racism and rumors in contemporary political media, especially as racial rumors circulate in right-wing political discourse and on the conservative cable news network Fox News. Analysing a variety of examples in which rumors proliferate and contribute to the policing of communities of color, the article surveys Catherine Malabou’s deconstruction of self-sovereignty, treating Malabou’s work as a useful theoretical supplement to relevant critiques of systemic racism as developed by scholars working in Black studies and critical race theory. Ultimately, the article argues that the emphasis on representation alone in media studies is inadequate to the study of race, rumor, and political media.
https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png 0 0 Greg DeCuir https://www.necsus-ejms.org/wp-content/uploads/Necsus-01.png Greg DeCuir2022-06-18 15:55:112022-06-19 10:57:27The filmmaker as Instagram auteur: A case study on Claire Denis
In this article I propose further inclusion of auteurs’ Instagram profiles within contemporary auteurism. Examining selected auteur profiles, I trace aesthetic and commercial tendencies. I compare the forms of film and Instagram, connecting this to Lev Manovich’s research and Timothy Corrigan’s ‘commerce of auteurism’. Instagram’s individualism extends Alexandre Astruc’s caméra-stylo theory. My case study is Claire Denis’ profile. I argue that her posts share aspects with her filmic ‘corpus’, like fragmentation and transience. Her profile has thus far expressed an anti-promotional stance, a distinctive design aesthetic, and the highly autobiographical part of her ‘work’ is indicative of Instagram’s authorial potential for filmmakers.