Splinter in my Eye : Structural/Materialist Film

Johns, Deniz (2024) Splinter in my Eye : Structural/Materialist Film. In: The Palgrave Handbook of Experimental Cinema :. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. ISBN 9783031552557

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Abstract

In this chapter, I reconsider Peter Gidal's Structural/Materialist film project and its relationship with Marxist political and aesthetic theory. My aim is twofold: first, to ascertain the extent of their alignment; second, to assess if and how the aesthetic strategies Gidal developed -based on Marxist underpinning- remain relevant and useful today. Gidal began developing his concept of Structural/Materialist film in the 1970s, as a radical Marxist materialist film practice that aimed to transform the existing capitalist modes of relations in film production and film viewing, towards dialectical-materialist modes. He developed numerous aesthetic strategies against illusionistic film and its identification processes, which are in line with his anti-narrative and Althusserian Marxist stance. Within this framework, my particular focus will be on three specific strategies that I consider most significant and pertinent to his practice: “the construction of non-identity in the filmic process”; “de-subjectivization” and “the emptying-out of potent signifiers, of meaning”. I explore these concepts through critical readings of Room Film 1973 (1973) and Denials (1986) in the context of Marxist political and aesthetic discourse, drawing on key texts by Althusser, Adorno and Jameson, in order to ascertain if they can still be relevant to contemporary film and video practices. While my critique reveals certain flaws and limitations in some of Gidal's aesthetic strategies, I contend that his Structural/Materialist film theory retains significance as a starting point to define the contemporary terms of critical experimental cinema.

Item Type:
Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Research Output Funding/no_not_funded
Subjects:
?? materialist filmpeter gidalmarxist aestheticsno - not fundedarts and humanities(all) ??
ID Code:
215892
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
17 May 2024 11:00
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
17 May 2024 11:00