Metacritic Journal for Comparative Studies and Theory, Vol 5, Iss 1, Pp 77-95 (2019)
theatre, visual arts, postcolonial studies, decolonial studies, subversive art, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
Zimbabwe has a culture of protest art in theatre with a long history that goes back to the country’s independence from British colonial rule in 1980. However, a culture of subversive art in other artistic genres, such as visual arts, has emerged in recent years. This paper focuses on the fate of two art events, a theatre play and a visual arts exhibition, both closed down and banned in Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city, which is also regarded as the country’s cultural capital. In 2007, The Good President, a play by the Zimbabwean playwright and theatre director and producer Cont Mhlanga, was stopped from running in the city and banned from stage in the country (Mwando 1). This is despite the fact that the play had had an unhindered run in Harare, the capital city, where it had premiered. In 2010, visual artist and painter, Owen Maseko’s exhibition focusing on the 1983 – 1987 Gukurahundi genocide was shut down (Sokwanele 1, Ncube and Siziba 233, Mpofu 60). The closing down of his exhibition and the closing off of that section of the gallery that housed his exhibition symbolised that Matabeleland, as a region, is still a crime site. Located within anti-colonial – postcolonial and decolonial - theoretical lenses, in this paper, I read the two events around the aborted staging of the two arts events to consider definitions and self-definitions of subversive art (Wiseman and Yuedi, Sulieman, Cohen 69) in Zimbabwe. In that the Matabeleland region has always been characterised as the hotbed of opposition politics, I ask the question of why art produced and performed in Matabeleland is viewed with suspicion by the country’s rulers.
Television series, Medical drama, Television genre, Medical anthropology, Medicine and health in fiction, Visual arts, N1-9211, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
The article is dedicated to American TV series that belong to the medical drama genre. The first part of the work is aimed at providing a brief summary of the evolution of the main features of the genre with respect to settings, protagonists and their representation in fictional products. We therefore want to trace the main transformations of the longest-running products among contemporary fictional shows, from the first medical series to the ones still running today. Through literature review, we will then highlight the undisputed interest that popular cultural products, such as medical dramas, have stimulated in researchers working in different fields. In particular, we want to note the attention researchers in the field of medical anthropology have devoted, and are still devoting to this day, media studies.
Italian Communist Party, readers, magazines, Il Calendario del Popolo, Rinascita, Vie Nuove, Visual arts, N1-9211, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
In 1953 Aldo D’Alfonso edited the volume Mille domande a Vie Nuove. Mille risposte a Vie Nuove, the first collection of letters published in the Communist magazine Vie Nuove concerning the column dedicated to the correspondence, that so called Corrispondenza con i lettori. Taking this seminal work as a starting point, I will focus on studying the correspondence within the Communist periodicals in the second post-war period. In order to achieve this purpose in a more extensive and complete way, I will also examine the letters published in two other periodicals of the same period – Rinascita and Il Calendario del Popolo – taking into account those letters specifically dedicated – in various ways – to cinema. In particular, I will analyze the topics of these letters dealing with the relationship between cinema and readers in non-film specific cultural magazines, with the aim to provide a picture of how people experienced and perceived cinema and, analyzing the geographical origin and the age of the letters writers, to trace out a profile of the readers.
Complex Television, Serie tv, American Vandal, Visual arts, N1-9211, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
In the last few years the new television series was considered as an important subject in the field of both Television and Media Studies, which have highlighted its complexity considered as a key concept emphasizing not only on a narrative basis but also on the basis of audience reception. Taking into account those aspects and also considering the current context of media convergence, this essay intends to propose the analysis of the American tv series American Vandal — broadcast by Netflix between 2017 and 2018 — considered as a representative and innovative product within the so-called “complex television”. The TV series, which takes place in a school setting, revolves around the world of teenagers but stands out from the majority of other contemporary teen dramas because of its original style and insights which make American Vandal a very interesting and topical product.
Lunardi, Videoarte, Pittorialismo, Deleuze, Visual arts, N1-9211, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
In recent years the work of the Lucchese video artist Marcantonio Lunardi (1968) won several awards at national and international level, also receiving some attention from critics. The complexity of his language, which shows a propensity to combine painting schemes and solutions within filmic antinarrative strategies, lends itself to many levels of interpretation. In this essay we try to understand the poetics of Lunardi by analyzing some of his main and most recent video works, using theoretical tools from visual studies. A first stylistic evaluation provide a place the author’s work within a line of research that extends the operational approach of pictorialism photo to video art. For this purpose, Victor Stoichita’s theories on the framework of the painting are useful. A second way of investigation motivate the author’s technical and formal choices within a broader culturologic perspective, with the use of Lev Manovich’s theories on new media. A third way of reflecting, however, concerns the temporality of the video image, analyzed through the notion of “crystals of time” formulated by Gilles Deleuze.
cineromanzo, rivista, Italia, italiani, lettori, Visual arts, N1-9211, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
The epistolary column has always played a fundamental role both in women's and men’s cineromanzi: in these periodicals, many publishers have dedicated numerous pages to the direct confrontation between readers and mysterious advisors. Following an archival research carried out at the Bibliomediateca Mario Gromo of Turin, this essay aims to investigate how the most important cineromanzi have dealt with the mail (and the photos) sent by the public, also tracing the different policies adopted in the responses. After an introductory paragraph dedicated to tout court cineromanzi, the corpus of the discussion will be organized in two steps, respectively dedicated to the melodramatic and erotic ones, investigated in the light of the different forms of piccola posta - the prose letters column - and the vetrina dei lettori – the photographic insert of the readers.
cinema, storia del cinema italiano, storia della critica cinematografica, Guido Aristarco, Cinema Nuovo, Visual arts, N1-9211, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
The goal of this article is to present and comment upon the findings of some preliminary surveys in the archive of Guido Aristarco, and to outline a few operational hypotheses for a research that investigates Italian film criticism as a field of professional and cultural relations. The figure of Aristarco and the experience of his journal Cinema Nuovo are analyzed through the copious mail archive of the critic, an ideal source to reconstruct both the private and professional relationships in which he was involved. The employed materials come largely from the personal archive of Aristarco, divided into two different repositories, one kept at the library of the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia “Luigi Chiarini” in Rome, the other at the library of the Cineteca di Bologna “Renzo Renzi”.
silent cinema, Frankenstein, fantasy, voice, silence, Visual arts, N1-9211, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
The myth of Frankenstein received little attention from the world of international silent cinema. However, with the transition to sound, it was quickly embraced by the silver screen. This work will examine three specific issues: the voice and the silence of the Monster; the recognition of the genre of the fantastic in Italian silent cinema; the shared nature of both the Monster and the cinematographic apparatus.
Cinema, Inflight, Global, National, Branding, Visual arts, N1-9211, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
Airplanes have emerged as less and less peripheral spaces of cinematic fruition. Inflight entertainment, indeed, is currently perceived as an amenity commonly provided onboard aircrafts. On these assumptions, the essay examines on-the-fly cinema primarily in terms of industrial practices and commercial strategies. A theoretical overview will clarify some of the issues most recurrently associated to film consumption within planes, often described as enclosed topological environments featuring a composite social structure dominated by a sense of transience and in-betweenness. Inflight distribution has developed as a crucial stage for the global circulation of hundreds of cinematic titles, as well as a highly-lucrative niche market. First and foremost, such a unique receptive frame implies questions of physical and cultural mobility. Consequently, the study is based on a multivariable data-oriented analysis, conducted on the onboard videocatalogues of five European full-service carriers. The findings derived from comparative assessments indicate that inflight cinema became a sign of the times of civil aviation mainly due to its disruptive role for differentiation among companies. In detailing this, tensions between local and global stances have necessarily to be taken into account. Given that the same aggregation of contents may be regarded as a process of branding, the exaltation of various geographies, both on a suvra-national and hyper-domestic level, is identified as the main factor driving the airlines within the filmic selection.
Cinema, Erotic Magazine, Letters, Playmen, Stardom, Visual arts, N1-9211, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
This article examines several trends in the Readers’ Letters column of Playmen, the Italian erotic monthly magazine, during the first five years it was published. In particular, the essay aims to investigate the role of the column and readers’ letters in deciphering the change in male and gender roles in Italian society of that time. We will examine the development of a new readership, users of popular magazines dedicated to men, and a complex network of media products related to eroticism and sexuality as we look at themes and trends arising in each month’s letters. We will observe in detail the role of films and filmmaking, and fan worship fantasies in this period of social change and intermedia exchanges.
guerrilla tv, cinematic devices, experimental, video, radical design, Visual arts, N1-9211, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
The essay examines a programmatic letter written by the English neo-futurist group Archigram to the magazine “IN. Arguments of images and design” in 1972. Informed by the theories of Marshall McLuhan and the coeval practices of Guerrilla Television, the letter was decisive for the project of La cellula abitativa, an experimental audiovisual communication system designed by Ugo La Pietra that forecast the characteristics of web and social networks. The propotype of the device, that was technically practicable, was presented the same year in the pivotal exhibition Italy the New Domestic Landscape at the MoMA of New York.
spielraum, farocki, benjamin, serious games, play, Visual arts, N1-9211, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
The essay acknowledges, through an aesthetic perspective, the relationship between training and therapy, meant as a play or work on oneself. Through the analysis of Harun Farocki’s Serious Games, which examines this relation with reference to two virtual devices of the US Army, the essay shows how the training provides an early mastery of the traumas, while the therapeutic work offers a postponed learning. In fact, they are both based, on the one hand, on the individual ability to distance oneself from the body shock par excellence, death. On the other hand, they aim to integrate the image with a sensorimotor interaction that ultimately creates a positive feedback. The innervation of body space and image space provides the Spielraum that Benjamin perceives as an immersive space of the play, where the repetition of the experience allows the incorporation of a habit. The military context is an emblematic example of these relationships, by managing the precarious balance between the domination of the space and the freedom of movement.
Faust, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Aleksandr Sokurov, Screen Adaptation, Modern Myth, Visual arts, N1-9211, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
Aleksandr Sokurov's Faust is the closing chapter of a film tetralogy aimed to explore the devastating effects of power, consisting of Moloch, Taurus and The Sun, focused respectively on Hitler, Lenin and Hirohito, the three major XX-century representations of totalitarianism, which Sokurov chose to de-monumentalize through “the slow emergence of [their] body” (Mario Pezzella). This process of embodiment is central to Faust as well, applied not only to its main characters – whom Sokurov wants to depict as pure bodies, deprived of any spiritual concern, dominated by merely physiological instincts – but to the film image itself. As a matter of fact, Sokurov attempts to give “a dynamic and real quality to his painterly images” (Thorsten Botz-Bornstein) by intervening on the film frame with constant pictorial manipulations, in order to add the bodily, pigmental quality of the painting to the genetic immateriality of the film image. The article proposes then a focus on the concept of embodiment in Sokurov's Faust, showing how it shapes both the director's strategy of adaptation of Goethe's masterpiece and his pictorial work on the film image.
mostra, moda, cinema, installazione, arte, Visual arts, N1-9211, Literature (General), and PN1-6790
This essay investigates the role moving images play in fashion shows, analyzing the case of Fendi Studios, an exhibition organized at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome between October 2017 and July 2018. The essay reflects on the different presentations of moving images in the show. Firstly, it discusses the short circuits created by the sequences in the original film, which are visible on small screens, and the concreteness of the clothes, which seem to break out from the projected images. Secondly, the focus turns to consider the relationship between the cinematographic devices and the audience members as participants. The visitors are called upon to interact with the devices, which make them an integral part of the moving image. The conclusion of the show is marked by a traditional cinematographic projection. At the end of the essay, some considerations are formulated on how, thanks to social networks, the amateur moving image has managed to overcome the spatial boundaries of the exhibition.