'Aesthetic Violence in the Anarchival Turn: On the Infinite Visions of History'
Excerpt: ’In this article, I examine three films: two features—Rey (Niles Atallah) and Spell Reel (Filipa César)—and my own short film, I Think You Should Come to America in relation to my concept of aesthetic violence. I consider aesthetic violence to be a politically necessary artistic action that aims to expose the workings of what cultural theorist Rob Nixon calls slow violence: violence that “occurs gradually and out of sight, a violence of delayed destruction that is dispersed across time and space, violence that is typically not viewed as violence at all” (Nixon, 2013:2). Each film discussed here combines archival footage with new material to portray instances of long-term violence. Rey’s historical context is the oppression of the Mapuche tribes by the 19th century Chilean government. Spell Reel explores the Portuguese colonisation of West Africa’s Guinea-Bissau. I Think You Should Come to America interprets Hollywood representations of American Indians as part of the oppression of Native American populations. Through these three films I see aesthetic violence as a plea for productive (as opposed to reproductive) ways of analysing and critiquing contemporary uses of media. ‘
Published in Found Footage Magazine, Special Issue 5, March 2019
'unruly gestures: seven cine-paragraphs on reading/writing practices in our post-digital condition', co-authored with Janneke Adema
Synopsis: This performative essay aspires to break down preconceptions about gestures of reading/writing that relate to their agency, media-specificity, (linear) historicity and humanism. Informed by Tristan Tzara’s cut-up techniques, where through the gesture of cutting the Dadaists tried to subvert established traditions of authorship, intentionality and linearity, this visual essay has been cut-up into seven semi-autonomous cine-paragraphs, accompanied by text.
This essay is accompanied by a video.
Published in Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research, vol.11, issue 1, 2019
‘Karol Irzykowski and Feliks Kuczkowski: (Theory of) Animation as the Cinema of Pure Movement’
Synopsis: ‘Karol Irzykowski’s The Tenth Muse: Aesthetic Aspects of Cinema (1924) is the first extended study exploring the status of cinema as art in the Polish language. This article looks at these aspects of Irzykowski’s book that relate to his theory of animated film. As the author shows, Irzykowski’s perception of animation can be seen as an effect of his rapport with a Polish animator, Feliks Kuczkowski, as well as Irzykowski’s admiration of Paul Wegener’s films. However, Irzykowski did not always perceive film as art in the same way as he did painting and sculpture. It is the author’s contention that it was the German critical thinker Rudolf Maria Holzapfel’s theory of appropriate and inappropriate arts that prompted Irzykowski to reconsider his views on film as art. As will be shown, Irzykowski’s theory of animated film developed largely through his familiarity with Kuczkowski’s work and Kuczkowski remains the only known Polish figure who made animated films since 1916. In line with many contemporary developments in the arts, Kuczkowski made his films according to his principle of ‘synthetic-visionary’ film. His innovative ideas are thought of as having influenced such key figures of Polish animation as Jan Lenica and Walerian Borowczyk, while aspects of Irzykowski’s theory can be found in the work of such key Polish avant-garde filmmakers of the 1930s as Jalu Kurek and Stefan Themerson. This article will demonstrate that the rapport between Irzykowski and Kuczkowski was crucial to establishing a dialogue between theory and practice as will be later seen in relation to the emerging film avant-gardes.’
Published in animation: an interdisciplinary journal, vol.11, issue 3, 2016
'Cinema Without Film: A Sketch of a Fragmented History of the Polish Avant-Garde Film, 1916 – 1934'
Excerpt: ‘Fragmentation 5: Polish Constructivism and Abstract Film: Henryk Berlewi’s (Unmade) Mechanofaktura (1924). Polish Constructivist (1921-1934) was arguably the most important of all Polish avant-garde formations. Although much in line with the Soviet avant-garde, Polish Constructivists did not develop any coherent theory of montage. Neither did they make any films, despite the attempts to create abstract films influenced by the German Absolute film. These unmade projects, however, testify that had the artists’ visions been realised, abstract films in Poland would have been created on the fringes of Constructivism. Instead, the Polish Constructivists’ attempts at making experimental films, like those of Vladimir Mayakovsky and Kasimir Malevich, remained theoretical.’
Published in Cingergie. Il cinema e le altre arti, no.7, 2015
‘A CURATED OBJECT AND A DISRUPTIVE E-ANARCHIVE’
Excerpt: ‘In her book The Chronology of Water Lidia Yuknavitch recalls a novel writing workshop led by Ken Kesey at the University of Oregon in the late 1980s (2010: 113). Inspired by a news clipping, Kesey and a group of thirteen graduates collaboratively wrote a novel titled Caverns (1989), which was credited to O.U. Levon. In his 1997 novel All the Names José Saramago engages with a possibility of breaking into an archive. The novel’s main protagonist, an anti-hero called José – a Kafkaesque Everyman – is working in the Central Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths in Lisbon. José’s desire to rearrange the Registry’s order constitutes the core of the story and symbolises a disruption in a larger sense, whereby the archive stands for a hierarchical and authoritarian structure. These two examples foreground the key characteristics of Photomediations: An Open Book that this essay introduces and engages with: its collaborative curatorial aspect and a disruptive gesture at the heart of it, which challenges traditional ways of composing books and archives.’
Published in Photomediations Machine, October 2015