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Cinema, documentary, and the visual arts

Regarding the real: cinema, documentary, and the visual arts develops an approach to the study of documentary film focussing on its aesthetic and cultural relations to the modern visual arts, especially: animation, assemblage, photography, painting, and architecture. In particular, it examines how documentary practices have often incorporated methods and expressive techniques derived from these art forms. Combining close analysis with cultural history, the book re-assesses the influence of the modern visual arts in subverting the structures of realism typically associated with documentary film, and considers the work of figures whose preferred film language is associative, and fragmentary, and for whom the documentary remains an open form, an unstable expressive phenomenon that at its best interrogates its own narratives, and intentions. In the course of its discussion, the book charts a path that leads from Len Lye to Hiroshi Teshigahara, and includes along the way figures such as Joseph Cornell, Johan van der Keuken, William Klein, Jean-Luc Godard, Jonas Mekas, Raymond Depardon.

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photography and film making. In the late 1960s this included picking up on the dynamic image making associated with ‘Swinging London’. And we saw how in the development of television advertising the hybridizing and indigenizing of US practices contributed to the development of a distinctive British tradition. While this tradition had its roots in interwar developments in sponsored documentary film making and the traditions of press advertising in Britain, it was stimulated by the appropriation and reworking of US influences as well. The movement of US practices eastwards

in Hard sell

development of photography and film had important effects on the staging and impact of royal and princely voyages. Organisers initially had some difficulties in managing these ‘new’ media. Some photos were taken during Crown Prince Albert’s 1909 exploratory voyage, but they were not really destined for public circulation. 12 Media coverage (through long newspaper articles) was mainly limited to the prince’s homecoming, which was celebrated with

in Royals on tour
Editor: Mandy Merck

Moving images of the British monarchy, in fact and fiction, are almost as old as the moving image itself, dating back to an 1895 dramatic vignette, The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Led by Queen Victoria, British monarchs themselves appeared in the new 'animated photography' from 1896. Half a century later, the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II was a milestone in the adoption of television, watched by 20 million Britons and 100 million North Americans. At the century's end, Princess Diana's funeral was viewed by 2.5 billion worldwide. Seventeen essays by international commentators examine the portrayal of royalty in the 'actuality' picture, the early extended feature, amateur cinema, the movie melodrama, the Commonwealth documentary, New Queer Cinema, TV current affairs, the big screen ceremonial and the post-historical boxed set. These contributors include Ian Christie, Elisabeth Bronfen, Andrew Higson, Steven Fielding, Karen Lury, Glyn Davis, Ann Gray, Jane Landman, Victoria Duckett, Jude Cowan Montague, James Downs, Barbara Straumann, Deirdre Gilfedder, Jo Stephenson, Ruth Adams, Erin Bell, Basil Glynn and Nicola Rehling.

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Between battlefield and fairground

Dada bodies focuses critical attention on Dada’s limit-forms of the human image from an international and interdisciplinary perspective, in its different centres (Zurich, Berlin, Cologne, Hanover, Paris and New York) and diverse media (art, literature, performance, photography and film). Iconoclastic or grotesque, a montage of disparate elements or reduced to a fragment, machine-part or blob, Dada’s bodily images are confronted here as fictional constructs rather than mimetic integrated unities. They act as both a reflection of, and a reflection on, the disjunctive, dehumanised society of wartime and post-war Europe, whilst also proposing a blueprint of a future, possible body. Through detailed analysis of works by Max Ernst, Francis Picabia, Hannah Höch, Marcel Duchamp and others, informed by recent theoretical and critical perspectives, the work offers a reassessment of the movement, arguing that Dada occupies an ambivalent space, between the battlefield (in the satirical exposure of the lies of an ideology that sought to clothe the corpse of wartime Europe) and the fairground (in the playful manipulation of the body and its joyful renewal through laughter, dream and dance).

Sarah Turner’s Perestroika

– to employ the term developed by Laura Marks – halt the directional flow of the journey and carve out a space of embodied reflection, where individual identities dissolve into a state of collective becoming. 15 While the persistent movement of the train is central to its aesthetic and conceptual framework, we might also consider Perestroika as characterised by a tension between stillness and motion, and by a constant negotiation between photography and film. In a broad sense, the film hinges on two ghostly images: a still photograph of

in British art cinema
Futurist cinema as metamedium

‘aeropoetry’; prose and drama; synthetic, variety and total theatre; dance; photography and film; advertising and mass communication (Crispolti 1986). Giacomo Balla and Fortunato Depero’s project was thus conceived on a global scale, involving a range of disciplines, united by a desire to create a total reality. In contrast to Adamowicz and Storchi, Back to the Furutists.indd 274 01/11/2013 10:58:55 Rethinking interdisciplinarity 275 the fin de siècle’s resistance to change, Futurists assumed their important historic role of trying to unveil the future of a new era

in Back to the Futurists

restricted arts analysis to medium-centric discussions, or arts magazines producing market-friendly journalism. Writing about the historical precedents of artists’ radical use of medium specificity populated many of the texts published in October from the late 1970s into the 1980s, with special attention paid to photography and film. This was in part due to the renewed influence of the work of Walter Benjamin, who was reclaimed as a key theoretical source in the criticism of many October contributors such as Benjamin Buchloh, Douglas Crimp, Rosalind Krauss, and Annette

in Engendering an avant-garde
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Monstrous media/spectral subjects

relationship between the (new) media of modernity – photography and film – and the shocks of industrial and urban life. Another figure, another medium, is also introduced in Sade’s discussion: describing the ‘sorcery and phantasmagoria’ of the new novels, he refers to a popular visual medium of the time, magic lantern shows (1989: 108). Fashionable across Europe during the period of

in Monstrous media/spectral subjects
Undead aesthetics and mechanical reproduction – Dorian Gray, Dracula and David Reed’s ‘vampire painting’

particular historical moment when vampirism in literature responded to mechanical reproduction and the new media of photography and film. In an attempt to find out how these ideas resonate in contemporary painting, I examined Reed’s journal: May 20th: [T]he painter Dona Nelson … spoke about how abstract painting reflects not the actual

in Open Graves, Open Minds