Wednesday, December 11, 2013

abstract submission - rejected

The paper will argue that recent films which feature space images, such as Lars von Trier’s Melancholia (2011), Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life (2011), and Patricio Guzman’s Nostalgia for the Light (2010) base their use of cosmic imagery from Hubble Telescope Photographs, not just in the visual sense, but ideologically too. Space imagery, in their current discursive representation, is made to be visual manifestations of anthropomorphism. Their reception in the form of the contemporary version of the sublime experience is no longer in the pictorial representation but in the telescopic technology behind the creation and reproduction of imagery, in both photographs and cinema. In this manner, the human eye is made to be the center of an orderly universe, contrary to recent discourses on decentered human subjectivity. The widespread availability and use of cosmic images in mainstream society is made possible by an ideology of a fixed, linear past, which in turns affects the way the present and the future is understood as chaos. This limited reading of time has the effect of narrowing the possibilities of understanding the non-past as they shape the imagination of future utopias/dystopias and the concept of the human. On the other hand, a closer inspection of these films appears to make an argument about the connection between space imagery technology, cinematic special effects, and the changing nature of cinema by changes in film production and exhibition (i.e. the death of cinema) that may in fact destabilize the usual functions of cosmic imagery. The narrative form of these films reveal a desire for an alternative way of looking, story consumption, and imagining the future by inscribing the imperiled, vanishing human figure. It is only in the disappearing presence of the human, visually and ideologically, that can ease the capitalistic strictures of visual technologies.


Govind R said...

etc said...

this sounds like an awesome paper--should you write it or have written it, i would love to read it.