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Upcoming Talk: Dr. Inga Pollmann
November 11 @ 12:00 pm
We are pleased to announce the next talk in our speaker series Digital Aesthetics: Critique, Creativity and Selfhood in Computational Culture. Part of the continued partnership between King’s College London and UNC, we are inviting scholars from both institutions to give a series of Zoom lectures this semester. Our next speaker is UNC’s own Dr. Inga Pollmann (ECL and GSLL), who will give a talk titled “Cameras, Guns, Drones and Point of View: Realist Film Theory as Environmental Media Theory” on Tuesday, November 11 at 12.00PM Eastern. Register here.
This talk confronts classical film theory with various images – from turn-of-the-century photography to contemporary drone videos – to argue that realist film theory, and Siegfried Kracauer’s work in particular, can be productively understood as media theory for the present, digital moment.
Kracauer provides us with a notion of medium that is not restricted to a particular technological apparatus but rather encompasses milieu and mood, allowing us to read his texts on film as well as his street texts as a kind of environmental media theory/aesthetic. Such a perspective allows us to critically engage with media objects that formally seem to insist on a definite perspective or standpoint, one that conjoins apparatus and spectator. One striking example of such media objects are photographs and films that invoke, in one way or another, the hunt as paradigm. Historically, camera and gun have been entwined media. With Kracauer, we can read various media objects against and beyond the paradigm of the hunt to invoke the power of aisthesis and the possibility for critique in an environment that is increasingly mediated itself.
Inga Pollmann is Associate Professor for Film in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages & Literatures and the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work attends to the history of film theory within a comprehensive aesthetic context, with a particular focus on the intersection of film and media studies, philosophy, and history of science. She has published essays on topics ranging from early cinema to contemporary art cinema. Her monograph Cinematic Vitalism: Film Theory and the Question of Life was published in 2018 with Amsterdam University Press. Currently, she is a senior fellow at the Cinepoetics Center for Advanced Film Studies at the Free University Berlin.