For the last month or so, I have been developing a new blog for the University of Aberdeen’s George Washington Wilson Centre for Visual Culture. I am a member of the Centre and its Associate Director; I will also be making occasional contributions to the GWW blog. I just posted my first piece, “Object Lessons,” which reflects on the recent cancellation of Exhibit B at the Barbican in London.
For the purposes of studying what he calls “staging,” Steven Soderburgh has released a black-and-white version of Raiders of the Lost Ark (Spielberg, 1981). He has also removed the film’s original sound/dialogue and replaced it with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s soundtrack to the Social Network (Fincher 2010). He writes:
I operate under the theory a movie should work with the sound off, and under that theory, staging becomes paramount.
Soderburgh describes this project as a process that simplifies the image, strips it down. The assumption here is that black-and-white images and contingent sound allow viewers to concentrate their minds (on staging…). However, there’s nothing all that simple about this audio-visual concoction, which brings the tools of silent cinema together with the golden age of the Hollywood blockbuster and the sounds of its collapse in the era of social media.
The Ithaca Silent Cinema community celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the famed Stewart Bridge trolley crash, staged for the Prince of India (Wharton Brothers, 1914). More information on Ithaca’s history in silent cinema can be found here. And if you are wondering whatever happened to the Wharton Brothers’ films: check the bottom of Cayuga Lake.
Passed along by one of my students: a former communist film archive in Cluj, Romania becomes a celluloid playground.
David Archibald of the University of Glasgow recently circulated an abstract for a paper I will be giving in March as part of their seminar series. The full abstract and details for the event can be found here.
Leo Enticknap, a Lecturer at Leeds in Visual and Communication Arts, read the abstract on the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies email list and wrote the following (italicized portions are excerpts from my abstract):