Reflexive Cinema: Rethinking Self-Consciousness, Affect and Intermediality in the Moving Image
How may we best understand reflexivity and 'self-consciousness' in cinema, e.g., in relation to moving-image signification, narrative, style, emotion, and affect? Which reflexive forms and processes does cinema share with other arts and 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 and related processes – including narrative and stylistic self-consciousness; ‘metareference’; metalepsis; mise-en-abyme; direct address – from a twenty-first century standpoint. I analyze cognitive-semiotic, intermedial, and under explored affective (including ‘embodied’) dimensions of reflexivity, understood as a major aspect of cinematic meaning, expression, and experience. Drawing on certain ideas in 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/emotion, embodied cognition, and intermediality, and take advantage of 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: Self-Consciousness, Affect and Intermediality in the Moving Image (OUP) and Cinematic Atmospheres: Felt Environments in the Moving Image (co-edited with Steffen Hven). My research as also been supported by The British Academy, and I hold a PhD from the University of Edinburgh in film studies, 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.