To have done with the perspective of the body: Gaspar Noe´’s Enter the Void, somatic film theory and the biocinematic imaginary
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In this paper, I examine the ways in which the relationship between spectator and screen has been figured in a body of recent scholarship on the cinema that both corporealises the cinematic event by focusing on the body of the spectator and the body of the film whilst, simultaneously, decorporealising it by seeing in the relation between spectator and screen the means to produce a new kind of properly cinematic thought, a new form of philosophy that can only be born out of this relation. Taking as paradigmatic examples of the different ways in which this relationship has been figured in recent film scholarship, I examine the works of Sobchack and Shaviro as examplars of the somatic turn in film studies, before going on to examine Deleuze's philosophy of the cinema. In the final section of the paper, I suggest, through an analysis of Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void, that, firstly, the potential pitfalls of somatic film theory and Deleuze's philosophy of the cinema as a tool for filmic analysis can be avoided. I then go on to argue that these different approaches do not need to be held apart from each other and that Deleuze's formulations can usefully inform a somatic film theory if we reconfigure the way we think about the cinematic body, moving from a biological understanding of it to an anatomical one. This discussion of the anatomical body is fleshed out in particular via an in-depth examination of the work of Waldby on the Visible Human Project and I conclude by suggesting that the cinematic spectator can be re-imagined or reanimated as a synthetic product of techno-bio-cultural and cinematic processes
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