A new issue of Necsus - European Journal of Media Studies is out, with among others an interview with Richard Dyer in the feature section, a special section on "Small Data", new audio-visual essays and reviews of special festivals, exhibitions and books. All in Open Access. For keeping Open Access really open access, support is needed. ;-)
Issue no # 10 of Cine-Files is out, with a special dossier with short articles on Cinematic Affect. Edited by Anne Rutherford. With contributions from among others Jennifer Baker, Gertrud Koch, Laura Marks, Angela Ndalianis, Anna Powel, and Steven Shaviro. And a contrinution by Corey Creekmus on "Affective Video Criticism". See the issue on the Cine-Files website. My contribution is on the affects of compulsive dancing, comparing the different affective contexts between The Red Shoes (1948) to Black Swan (2010).- expressed in the digital form of GIFs. See here for this article, entitled "I just want to be perfect".
20 May 2016: A symposium on Deleuze and Guattari. See here the website of the event. Organized by Halbe Kuipers, Nur ozgenalp and Patricia Pisters for the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA). In A Thousand Plateaus Deleuze and Guattari discuss their concept of the war machine in relation to weapons and tools that are defined in an 'ecosystem' which is traversed by a 'machinic phylum'. Deleuze and Guattari see the machinic phylum as technological lineage (for instance, the iron sword descending from the dagger, the steel saber descending from the knife). Whether something becomes a weapon or a tool depends on the specific assemblages these metallurgical machines enter into. When Deleuze and Guattari speak of 'ecosystems' these are to be understood as the triply folded and complexly interwoven system of what Guattari has called the 'three ecologies' of environmental, social and mental ecologies. The connection and synthesis of these heterogeneous ecologies Deleuze and Guattari term 'machinic' (ATP 330) Therefore the metallurgical transformations of the machinic phylum have to be thought in ever changing and heterogeneous machinic assemblages, from materiality of the earth to our social life and collective and individual consciousness. We aim to get a deeper understanding of the power and necessity of Deleuze and Guattari's machinic ecosophy in a techno-permeated world.
Nouchka van Brakel is the first female directore who graduated from the Dutch Film Academy. Her films such as A Women like Eve in 1979 (with Monique van de Ven and Maria Scheider, see image above) and The Cool Lakes of Death (1982) are still remarkable classics. EYE Film Institute, The Dutch Film Academy and the University of AMsterdam (Department of Media Studies and Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis) organize on 18 May 2016 a symposium on the question of the female point of view. See here the program. In the evening there is a special screening of The Cool Lakes of Death. Programme is in Dutch. See also the EYE website.
Ben River's The Sky Trembles, the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes are Not Brothers programmed in Cracking the Frame. An introduction to this hauntingly beautiful film can be found below. Cracking the Frame is a platform for Art Documentaries and Artist Films. See Cracking the Frame's website.
Circling around the Sky Trembles
Introducing a film is always a delicate matter. Words may color the experience of the images and sounds that will follow. Introducing a film like The Sky Trembles, the Earth is Afraid and the Eyes are not Two Bothers is particularly challenging because no words can replace the beauty of the images that you are about to see, the sounds you are about to hear.
Images and Sounds
The deep pink-orange-yellow colors of the sunlight blending into in the earthy dusts of the desert, the glistering reflections of the light fall on rippling river water, the framing and compositions of the people in the sandy rocks, caves or empty shadowy alleys, trees that look like green cotton mist, the magic beauty of the horses who always seem to know more; these are all ‘nearby-descriptions’ of the visual aesthetics of Ben River’s film.
The beauty of the images is rendered more mysterious, sublime even, because of the mixture with the sensibilities of sonic worlds, moving in and out of synch with the images: a barking dog, clacking bells, footsteps on the rocks, chirping birds, a baby crying, scraping noises, the hoarsely bellowing of a donkey, the threatening duration of a metal song, the rhythm of hands clapping, drums beating, the sounds of silence. These are ‘nearby descriptions’ of the soundtrack that opens up the images into other dimensions, transporting the materiality of the earth into an other-worldly, spiritual dimension. In this way the film “salutes all parts of the sky and the earth” – an explicit acknowledgment at the opening of the film that may count as the films poetic mission.
Within these visual and sonic worlds much is hidden, never directly expressed but one can sense a thousand ghostly presences. Instead of analyzing the film in a precise way, I will simply try to unfold some of these haunting presences buried in the depths of the images and sounds, so that they may reveal themselves perhaps at various moments during or after the screening, without precise location or moment. I will “circle around” the film so to speak by addressing the two interlinked themes that The Sky Trembles, The Earth if Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers addresses.