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Wednesday 13 January 2016

Professor Felicity Colman

A Philosophy of Materialist Film


This lecture will ask how we can speak of Materialist Film Practices as practices and theories that form matter into specific communicative modes. With use of the expression “new materialisms”, with reference to the creative arts, comes the reflection that the “new materialisms” postdate the erstwhile industrial film processes of the twentieth century. By definition, “materialist” film practices in film theory are qualified through specific approaches, for example; feminist (Kuhn; de Lauretis; Hougisto), historical (Kracauer; Metz), dialectical (Beller), ecological (Smithson; Varda), structuralist (Snow; Gidal), parasitic (Serres; Hogg), surrealist (Balazs; Delluc; Deren), spatial (Bruno; Mroz; Parks); and speculative materialisms (Lye; Pasolini; S.Benning) - each classifiable by specific properties, processes, discourses, and outcomes.

This talk will address the expressive span of definitions of “materialist film,” looking to some of the modes of filmic methodologies that define materialist film practices (such as work by Maya Deren, Len Lye, Nancy Holt, Robert Smithson, Michael Snow, Chantal Akerman, Agnes Varda, Todd Haynes, Sofia Coppola, Elke Marhöfer), with a focus on the hypotheticals offered by a New Materialist Film Philosophy, asking what constitutes “new,” what are the modeling tools that new materialist theory offer for screen analysis, and what do they express? Film analysis frequently turns the components of the screen environment into languid theoretical categories. Can new materialist analyses avoid the instrumentality of intention that film theories can thrust upon the reader, and instead offer a more holistic, or poetic evaluation of the screen ecology?

Professor Felicity Colman holds a Chair in Film and Media Arts at the Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University. She is the author of Film Theory: Creating a Cinematic Grammar (Columbia University Press, 2014), Deleuze and Cinema (Bloomsbury; Berg, 2011), and editor of Film, Theory and Philosophy: The Key Thinkers (McGill-Queens University Press; Routledge; Acumen, 2009), and co-editor of Global Arts & Local Knowledge (Lexington, 2016), and Sensorium: Aesthetics, Art, Life (Cambridge Scholars, 2007). She is Co-Editor [with Dr David Deamer and Prof. Joanna Hodge] of the A/V Journal of Practical and Creative Philosophy. Her current book projects are on “Digital Feminicity”, and “Materialist Film”.  She is working on collaborative research projects on “What is Creativity?” and the production of an “Ethics of Communication”. She is the Vice-Chair of the EU funded COST [European Cooperation in Science and Technology] Network Grant Action IS1307 on New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on 'How Matter Comes to Matter [2014-2018]

Part of the ASK (Art Seeks Knowledge) Open Lecture Series by Professors and visiting Professors at the Manchester School of Art.

All are welcome to these open talks, which offer a snapshot of the breadth and depth of some of our research and practice at the cutting edge of our disciplines.

Admission is free, please book your ticket online.