Reflexive Cinema: Rethinking Self-Consciousness, Affect and Intermediality in the Moving Image
How may we best understand reflexivity, self-consciousness, and 'metacinema,' including in relation to cinematic fiction, style, emotion, and affect? Which reflexive and metareferential forms and processes does cinema share with other arts/media, and which are specific to it? What does the operation of cinematic reflexivity reveal about narrative filmmaking and film spectatorship, more generally?
My transdisciplinary research re-conceives cinematic reflexivity, metacinema, metareference, narrative and stylistic self-consciousness, and related processes, from a twenty-first century standpoint. I analyze cognitive-semiotic, intermedial, and notably under explored affective and immersive – including ‘embodied’ – dimensions of reflexivity, understood as a major aspect of cinematic meaning and experience. Arguing against widespread views of reflexivity as inherently anti-immersive, and drawing on general semiotics and aesthetics, as well as film and media theory, the resulting book (under contract with Oxford University Press) also builds significant bridges between the philosophy of film in both continental (e.g., phenomenological, Deleuzian) and analytic-cognitive traditions of thought, which are most often pursued in isolation. During my NIAS fellowship, I will focus on reflexivity in relation to cinematic affect and emotion, embodied cognition, and intermediality, taking advantage of considerable research and dissemination opportunities in Amsterdam and the Netherlands in these areas.
– Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema (Columbia University Press, 2015).
-“Recursive Reflections: Types, Modes and Forms of Cinematic Reflexivity” in Metacinema: The Form and Content of Filmic Reference and Reflexivity. David LaRocca ed., Oxford University Press, 2021, 85-115.
-“Doubled Visions: Reflexivity, Intermediality and Co-Creation in von Trier’s and Leth’s The Five Obstructions and Clouzot’s The Mystery of Picasso.” New Review of Film and Television Studies, 18:4 (2020), 452-479.
– “Film and the Phenomenology of Art: Reappraising Merleau-Ponty on Cinema as Form, Medium, and Expression,” New Literary History, 47:1 (2016), 159-185.
More about myself
I have been Associate Professor and Director of the Film Studies Program at The University of Edinburgh, a senior research fellow at the Cinepoetics Center for Advanced Film Studies at the Freie University Berlin, and a NIAS fellow (in 2021/2). I am the author of Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema (Columbia UP) and have published in New Literary History, New Review of Film and Television Studies, Film-Philosophy and other journals. My two in-progress books are: Reflexive Cinema: Rethinking Self-Consciousness, Affect and Intermediality in the Moving Image (OUP), and The Oxford Handbook of Moving Image Atmospheres and Felt Environments (OUP; co-edited with Steffen Hven) featuring original essays from leading film and media scholars. My research has been supported by The British Academy, and I hold a PhD in film studies from the University of Edinburgh, an MA in philosophy from the University of York, UK, and pursued undergraduate study at Connecticut College and Amherst College. I am on the editorial board of Brill’s recently relaunched ‘Contemporary Cinema’ book series.