Film and Media Studies Presents
Catherine Grant, University of Sussex (UK), "Sensuous Methodologies: On Audiovisual Film Studies"
Monday, March 20, 4:30PM
In this illustrated talk Catherine Grant will explore how film and screen media criticism and scholarship have been enriched by the use of readily available digital post-production and distribution tools, which facilitate audio-visual forms of film
analysis and publishing, and favour creative/critical methods that turn on immersion and immanence. Indeed, to paraphrase Walter Benjamin, a champion of such methods, if all criticism is an experiment on the work of art, contemporary screen criticism is literalizing that experiment, and digitally generating new audio-visual frames for the kinds of perceptual possibilities also invoked, some twenty-five years ago, by Italian critic-scholar Umberto Eco: “The poetics of the ‘work in movement’...sets in motion...a new mechanics of aesthetic perception...It poses new practical problems by organizing new communicative situations. In short, it installs a new relationship between the contemplation and the utilization of a work of art.”
With reference, primarily, to her own videographic experimentation (with making, teaching and publishing) over the last decade, Grant will show how the “sensuous methodologies” of audio-visual essays often frame particularly persuasive kinds of phenomenological possibility for time-based media studies. As well as an exposure to audiovisual argumentation (involving selection of evidence, montage and mise en scene, titling, sound editing and other creative effects), they offer an active viewing process, one of live co-research, or participant observation. Unlike written texts, they don't have to remove themselves from film-specific forms of meaning production to have their knowledge effects on us. And we can feel, as well as know about, the comparisons these videos enact, enabling us as scholars “to critique affect by means of affect,” as Richard Dyer has recently written.
Catherine Grant teaches and researches film studies at the University of Sussex (UK). She has published widely on theories and practices of film authorship and intertextuality, and has edited volumes on world cinema, Latin American cinema, digital film and media studies, and the audiovisual essay. A prolific video essayist as well as a pioneering publisher and curator of such works (including at Film Studies for Free
), she is founding co-editor of the first peer-reviewed publication for audiovisual essays on film and media studies topics, [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film
and Moving Image Studies
, which was awarded the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Anne Friedberg Innovative Scholarship Award of Distinction for 2015.
She will deliver a second talk, "What Can the Portrait-Homage Do for Screen Star Studies" at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Cinema Studies on Tuesday, March 21 at 6pm in Fisher Bennett Hall 401.
Swarthmore's Film and Media Studies Department is particularly excited to welcome Grant to the College. For the past several years, Film and Media Studies professors have been assigning video essays in their classes as a way for students to produce critical works about moving image media with media tools. Students have excelled at the genre.