About

Patricia Pisters is professor of Media Studies (with a specialization in film studies) at the University of Amsterdam. She is director of research of the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis (ASCA), one of the researh schools of the Faculty of Humanities. She is member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW). Between 2010 and 2013 she was chair of the department of Media Studies. Between 2011 and 2015 she was elected member of the steering committee of NECS (European Network for Cinema and Media Studies). She is one of the founding editors of the peer reviewed Open Access journal NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies and co-editor (with Bernd Herzogenrath)  of the series Thinking I Media at Bloomsbury. Her research and teaching focuses on film-philosophy, in conjunction with neuroscience and on political implications of contemporary transnational screen culture and media ecologies. Currently she works on a book on cinema and psychopathologies of media culture; and on a multi-media project on metallurgy, alchemy and media art. She also writes and lectures regularly about classic film authors and about Dutch film culture.

 

Patricia Pisters is associate of the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) at the University of Amsterdam. She member of the supervisory board of the Dutch Film Fund (Nederlands Film Fonds) and member of the advisory board of the Dutch Film Academy (Nederlandse Film Academie). She is connected to NICA (Netherlands Instititute for Cultural Analysis), RMeS (Research School for Media Studies) and member of SCMS (Society for Cinema and Media Studies). She is director of the research group Neuroaesthetics and Neurocultures and co-organisor of the PhD seminar on Film and Philosophy.  In 2010 she was research fellow at the IKKM (Internationales Kolleg fur Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie) of the Bauhaus University in Weimar (Germany). In 2010 she co-directed with Rosi Braidotti (University of Utrecht) the third International Deleuze Studies Conference Connect, Continue, Create which included a summer school "Mille Gilles" and a double art exhibition The Smooth and the Striated. For the Rietveld Academy Studium Generale Festival she curated an international art and science program entitled Give me a Brain! Clash Continuum Senses of Cerebral Screens. In 2013 she was co-director (with Josef Fruchtl) of the Film-Philosophy conference in Amsterdam, in collaboration with EYE Film Institute Netherlands. In 2016 she co-directing the International Symposium 'Worlding the Brain', dedicated to Patterns, Rhythms and Narratives in neuroscience and the humanities. In 2017 Worlding the Brain has its second edition in Amsterdam, focussing on Affect, Care and Engagment, including one evening program in the Stedelijk Museum. See Worlding the Brain2017 website. From 2018 onward Worlding the Brain will move to other countries. Together with Adam Nocek from the Laboratory of Critical Technics of Arizona State University, she inititated the GeoMedia Research Network which had its first meetings in June 2017 at Mediamatic in Amsterdam, including a workshop and public program.

Photo by Bas Losekoot

About the homepage graphic

The opening sequence of Fight Club (David Fincher, 1998) is an iconic image of contemporary cinema where we quite literally have moved into characters’ brain spaces. We no longer see through characters’ eyes; we are most often instead in their mental worlds. On the DVD of Fincher’s film, two audio track commentaries explain how this sequence was made: by synergizing the visual effects of a cinematographic immersive ride and a neuroscientific brain mapping process. The idea for the shot was that it would start in the amygdala, then backtrack to the frontal lobes and to the outside of the forehead. The artists of the visual effects department and the neuroscientists consulted for the sequence discovered they had actually quite similar (digital) visualization techniques and were able to work together very well.

Using Deleuzeand Guattari’s typology of interdisciplinary interferences in What is Philosophy?, we could say that they worked together extrinsically. The visual artists wanted to create a sensation of a function, the feel of a ride from the amygdala to the frontal lobes as “dark, scary, wet and very visceral,” while the neuroscientists focused on the function of a sensation, in which different parts and chambers of the ride are correct in their neurological detail. The sequence is thus also emblematic given how it invites further investigations into the various implications of such encounters at the same junctions my book The Neuro-Image (Stanford University Press, 2012) hopes to contribute to.

The Fight Club opening sequence and its audio commentaries can be found at artofthetitle.com.