Special Issue Necsus #Intelligence




  Necsus: European Journal of Media Studies, Spring 2020 # Intelligence.  

  Edited by Patricia Pisters and Ruggero Eugeni.


The Artificial Intelligence of a Machine: Moving Images in the Age of Algorithms

This NECSUS Special Section #Intelligence, includes seven essays   addressing the impact of Artificial Intelligence on cinema and media from a   cultural perspective. More particularly, three levels of pertinence are focused. At a first level, selected papers analyse several representations of  non-human intelligence confronted with human one, as provided by film,  television series, and video games. At a second level, a set of mutual functioning dynamic between A.I. and the media are identified and scrutinised. Finally, the contributing authors consider how A.I. algorithms lead cinema and media theory to deeply rethink its assumptions about creating and viewing moving images.



New Blood in Contemporary Cinema: Women Directors and the Poetics of Horror

Discusses how contemporary women directors have appropriated horror aesthetics, enlarging its generic scope and expanding its emotional spectrum

  • Revisits themes and concerns of the horror genre, from the perspective of women directors
  • Includes case studies of important female directed films, including A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Evolution, Raw and Atlantics.
  • Revisits feminist themes such as female agency, gender and race relations and affect by returning to the work of feminist directors of the 1970s and 1980s (not necessarily considered as generic horror films), in comparison to contemporary women directors
  • Includes women of colour as well as white women directors, thus acknowledges both differences of the specific ethnic and social political contexts and shared concerns

Since the turn of the millennium, a growing number of female filmmakers have appropriated the aesthetics of horror for their films. In this book, Patricia Pisters investigates contemporary women directors such as Ngozi Onwurah, Claire Denis, Lucile Hadžihalilović and Ana Lily Amirpour, who put ‘a poetics of horror’ to new use in their work, expanding the range of gendered and racialized perspectives in the horror genre.

Exploring themes such as rage, trauma, sexuality, family ties and politics, New Blood in Contemporary Cinema takes on avenging women, bloody vampires, lustful witches, scary mothers, terrifying offspring and female Frankensteins. By following a red trail of blood, the book illuminates a new generation of women directors who have enlarged the general scope and stretched the emotional spectrum of the genre. The book has appeared in 2020 with Edinburgh University Press.

See here for some online presentations of the book. The booklaunch in EYE Filmmuseum can be seen here (in Dutch). An online lecture for the University of Southhampton about the book can be watched here (in English).

Sleutelteksten Film en Mediatheorie, deel 2

Het tweede deel van de serie Sleutelteksten in film- en media-theorie is gewijd aan de klassieke en moderne filmtheorie, vanaf 1945 tot aan 1976. In deze periode ging de aandacht allereerst uit naar de aard en status van de film, gevolgd door interesse in de taal en vertelwijze van de film. Zo bevat dit deel beschouwingen over enkele doorslaggevende ontwikkelingen in de naoorlogse film, waaronder het Italiaanse neorealisme en de Franse Nouvelle Vague, de bloei van Hollywood, en de ‘auteurtheorie’. Vanaf de jaren zestig wordt de film voorwerp van academische studie, en bieden disciplines als linguïstiek, semiotiek en psychoanalyse nieuwe gereedschappen voor de analyse van de film. De in deze periode ontwikkelde theorieën hebben een blijvend stempel gedrukt op de moderne filmwetenschap.

De hier verzamelde teksten bieden een overzicht van de belangrijkste theorieën van de klassieke en moderne film: van pioniers als Maya Deren, Alexandre Astruc, François Truffaut en Pier Paolo Pasolini tot invloedrijke auteurs als André Bazin, Andrew Sarris, Christian Metz en Laura Mulvey. Sommige van deze essays waren niet eerder in het Nederlands beschikbaar. Alle teksten worden ingeleid en in hun historische context geplaatst om hun blijvend belang voor het denken over film en media te onderstrepen.

Samenstelling en redactie: Annie van den Oever (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen),Frank Kessler (Universiteit Utrecht),Philippe Meers (Universiteit van Antwerpen), Patricia Pisters (Universiteit van Amsterdam) en Steven Willemsen (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen); met medewerking van Tom Paulus (Universiteit van Antwerpen) en Giovanna Fossati (Eye Filminstituut Nederland, Amsterdam). Nijmegen: Uitgeverij In de walvis, 2016.

Sleutelteksten Film- en Mediatheorie, deel 1

Is film kunst of verstrooiing? Een nieuwe manier van tonen of een nieuwe manier van zien? Waarin schuilt de magische aantrekkingskracht van de close-up? En waarom gaan we naar de cinema? Als nieuw medium en jonge kunstvorm sprak film sterk tot de verbeelding van vele denkers, schrijvers en kunstenaars.  De in deze bundel verzamelde teksten registreren met een intense nieuwsgierigheid de effecten van de opkomst van de film, tussen circa 1895 en 1930: de ervaringen van de eerste toeschouwers, de nieuwe esthetische vormen, de reacties van de avant-gardes en de invloed van film op de bestaande cultuur. 

De nieuwe boekenserie Sleutelteksten in Film- en Mediatheorie is een uniek project voor Nederland en Vlaanderen. De serie heeft tot doel om de invloedrijkste teksten uit de geschiedenis van het denken over film en audiovisuele media voor het eerst in het Nederlands bijeen te brengen. Naast gereviseerde vertalingen van sleutelteksten die lang niet beschikbaar waren, onder andere van denkers en filmmakers als Menno ter Braak, Sergej Eisenstein, Maxim Gorki, Georges Méliès en Dziga Vertov, bevat dit eerste deel ook nieuwe vertalingen van internationale sleutelteksten die nooit eerder in het Nederlands verschenen, zoals van Béla Balázs, Germaine Dulac, Louis Delluc, Jean Epstein, Siegfried Kracauer, F.T. Marinetti, Hugo Münsterberg, Paul Valéry en Virginia Woolf. Alle teksten zijn ingeleid en in hun historische context geplaatst om hun blijvend belang voor het denken over film en media te onderstrepen. 

Samenstelling en redactie: Frank Kessler (Universiteit Utrecht), Annie van den Oever (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), Patricia Pisters (Universiteit van Amsterdam) en Steven Willemsen (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen). Nijmegen: Uitgeverij In De Walvis, 2016


Filming for the Future

Patricia Pisters, Filming for the Future: The Work of Louis van Gasteren (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2015)

Book on the work of Grand Old Master of Dutch cinema Louis van Gasteren; illustrated and including 3 DVDs containing 7 films (with English subtitels). Published by Amsterdam University Press. The film titles are A New Village on New Land (1960), The House (1961), Hans Life Before Death (1983), A Matter of Level (1990), The Price of Survival (2003), Changing Tack (2009) and Nema Aviona Za Zagreb (2012).

Louis van Gasteren (1922-2016) was one of the Netherlands’s most prolific filmmakers. He has made about eighty documentaries as well as two feature films, art works, and several publications. His film Now Do you get it Why I am Crying? (1969) played an important role in the recognition of the enduring psychological effects of war trauma. Hans Life Before Death (1983) presents a deeply empathic portrait of the post war generation of youth rebels in Amsterdam in the 1960s that addresses major existential questions. In his autobiographical film, Nema Aviona Za Zagreb (2012), Van Gasteren declares his passion for filming and his desire to register everything from both the outer world as well as from inner life. This book presents a journey through the rich audio-visual and artistic sources of the world of a filmmaker who, over the last sixty years, and long before we all became accustomed to carrying mobile cameras in our pockets, always had his camera on standby.

Van Gasteren has been relentless in filming a range of topics, phenomena, and events of national and international scope and universal value. His camera eye was visionary, documenting not only the tumultuous happenings of the different presents that he witnessed, but also the return of the past and anticipation of the future. His work demonstrates a fascination for technology, a deep interest in politics, and a continuous concern for the traumatic effects of war and the passage of time itself; always looking for new doors of perception, always returning to his home in Amsterdam, always departing again to new or recurring points of interest. Filming for the Future explores the most salient features of a wide-ranging and vital oeuvre that becomes ever more amazing and important as time goes by. Van Gasteren’s work is an invaluable source of historical documentation and percipient cultural analysis made by an adventurous ‘participating observer’ of the twentieth century that is worthwhile (re)discovering in and for the twenty-first century.

On the occasion of the passing away of Louis van Gasteren on 10 May 2016, the EYE film institute organized a special screening of Nema Aviona za Zagreb. The introduction (in Dutch) to this film can be read on my blog entree here.

Filming for the Future was awarded the Louis Hartlooper Prize for Best Film Publication 2016. 

Revisiting Normativity with Deleuze

Rosi Braidotti and Patricia Pisters (eds.), Revisiting Normativity with Deleuze (Continuum, 2012 forthcoming)

This volume assembles some of the most distinguished scholars in the field of Deleuze studies in order to provide both an accessible introduction to key concepts in Deleuze’s thought and to test them in view of the issue of normativity. This includes not only the law, but also the question of norms and values in the broader ethical, political and methodological sense. The volume argues that Deleuze’s philosophy rejects the unitary vision of the subject as a self-regulating rationalist entity and replaces it with a process-oriented relational vision of the subject. But what can we do exactly with this alternative nomadic vision? What modes of normativity are available outside the parameters of liberal, self-reflexive individualism on the one hand and the communitarian model on the other? This interdisciplinary volume explores these issues in three directions that mirror Deleuze and Guattari’s defense of the parallelism between philosophy, science, and the arts. The volume therefore covers socio-political and legal theory; the epistemological critique of scientific discourse and the cultural, artistic and aesthetic interventions emerging from Deleuze’s philosophy.