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Iconic image research project
Transcript of Iconic image research project
Dr Libby Saxton examines the interactions between film and continental thought, especially philosophies of ethics; French cinema; and representations of the Holocaust and the Algerian War of Independence. She is the author of Film and Ethics: Foreclosed Encounters, co-authored with Lisa Downing (London; New York: Routledge, 2009) and Haunted Images: Film, Ethics, Testimony and the Holocaust (London: Wallflower, 2008).
Dr Jeremy Hicks is an expert in 1920s Soviet literature and cinema, Soviet film during World War Two, the reception of Soviet film in the West (1920s-40s), and the theory of non-fiction & documentary. He is the author of the award-winning First Films of the Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and the Genocide of the Jews, 1938-46 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012) and Dziga Vertov: Defining Documentary Film (London: IB Tauris, 2007). See: http://qmul.academia.edu/JeremyHicks
Professor Janet Harbord's work engages with philosophies of screen media in a post-cinematic context. She has written on the subjects of memory, the image and archives; montage and cutting; cultural translation and supplementation. She is the author of Chris Marker: La Jetée (London & Cambridge, Massachusetts: Afterall Books & MIT, 2009), The Evolution of Film: Rethinking Film Studies, Cambridge UK & Malden USA: Polity Press, 2007) and Film Cultures, Sage Publications: London: New Delhi and Thousand Oaks, 2002).
Dr Gil Toffell's work examines the cinemas and exhibition spaces of Jewish neighbourhoods in interwar Britain using an archival and oral history approach. He is the author of ‘Come See, And Hear, The Mother Tongue!’ Yiddish Cinema in Interwar London’, Screen, 50/3 (2009): pp.277-298.
Dr Guy Westwell's work focuses on the war film and history film, 9-11 and Hollywood, theories of political ideology and film, and iconic images in photography and film. He is the co-author of Oxford Dictionary of Film Studies with Annette Kuhn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) and War Cinema: Hollywood on the Front Line (Wallflower Press, 2006). See: http://qmul.academia.edu/GuyWestwell
Keywords: photography, film, propaganda, icon/iconicity/iconography, still/moving image, digital image, stasis, fixity, archive, post-modernism, indexicality, the post-cinematic, translation, intermediality, appropriation, ideology, cultural memory, oral history, aura, appropriation, digitization
We plan to build a database/inventory of selected iconic images (and their reproduction and traces across a range of media and cultural contexts) which will be made available to researchers and the public through a website. Careful thought will be given to designing software and analytical tools that allow us to interact with iconic photographs and their interconnections in innovative ways. This inventory will underpin and disseminate scholarly activity and cultural production and we hope to attract sponsorship/support from non-commercial and commercial stakeholders. This aspect of the project also has the potential to shed light on the sale and trafficking of images in rapidly changing digital contexts.
Queen Mary is hosting a series of talks on the topic. These have included Roy Grundmann discussing the Crystal Image as guiding concept in the work Matthias Mueller, Damian Sutton examining the use of digital time-lapse photography of San Francisco in David Fincher’s Zodiac, and David H. Jones exploring the use of iconic images in the work of Silvia Kolbowski.
We will design and teach a dedicated research-led MA module in which students will contribute to the inventory through research on particular images and/or the production of short visual essays.
A project based at Queen Mary, University of London that explores iconic photographs of political violence and their after-lives on film and in post-cinematic media
A number of refereed journal articles and monographs by lead researchers will be published and these outputs will be submitted to REF 2020.
We also plan to develop a network of experts working on iconic images across a range of disciplines, institutions and national contexts. Knowledge will be shared and disseminated through a series of national and international conferences. The inventory and database will also be accessible to a wide range of users/collaborators. We will also work with new methods such as crowd-sourcing to gather information about the appropriation and reproduction of iconic images across a range of different national contexts.
The database/inventory will have a commercial element, with shortcut links to rights holders for clearing copyright etc; through the use of grants/prizes the project will inspire and sustain the production of a number of essay/documentary films related to iconic images; an on-line almanac will make available information to radio, television and new media researchers wishing to trace content relative to anniversaries, current events and so on; the project will seek collaborations with cultural institutions/museums to create exhibitions on particular images relevant to wider programmes.
The project intends to situate iconic images in their originating national contexts and trace their migration into wider transnational/cosmopolitan/global spaces. In doing so we will explore how iconic photographs are reproduced, reenacted, and re-appropriated on film and in post-cinematic media. Our research will consider the relationship between still and moving images and will place iconic images alongside other images (counter-images, archival images) that remain largely unseen. The varied afterlives of iconic images will be examined in relation to a number of ‘post’ discourses, including postmodernism, the post-cinematic, and post-propaganda, as well as a range of theoretical concepts (see keywords). The digital turn has fundamentally altered the status of the iconic image (as a way of representing the world and as an object of study), and we aim to create suitable ways of tracing, archiving, and understanding iconic images in this dramatically new context.
Keywords: US, propaganda, ideology, documentary, Vietnam, Gulf War, 9/11, memory, archive
Keywords: Britain, Jewish experience, World War II, archive, oral history, audience, reception, newsreel
Keywords: USSR, Holocaust, World War II, documentary, Afghanistan,
Keywords: France, Algeria, ethics, film philosophy, Holocaust, memory
Keywords: post cinema, digital cinema, still/moving image, memory, archive
The project originates in the Film Studies department at Queen Mary, University of London. Over time we hope to collaborate with scholars in a range of institutions and countries. At the moment we have a core team of three people.
Iconic image research project
If you are interested in being involved in the project please email Guy Westwell: email@example.com
Questions currently addressed by the critical literature: How do contexts of production and reproduction, especially within distinct national histories and in relation to discrete historical events, give shape to iconic images? What happens to the status of the iconic image over time and as it is reproduced and recontextualised in different media forms, including literature, film, television, and new media? How do iconic images play a role in public understanding of political violence and historical events by providing loci for contemplation, interrogation and controversy regarding the image’s meaning? How do iconic images sustain or resist the hegemonic political/cultural discourse surrounding any given historical event? How can iconic photographs be understood in relation to debates about medium specificity, in particular the shift from photograph to film, or photograph to text? How does the still/moving dialectic map part/whole relations in terms of the conceptualisation of historical events? How do iconic images exemplify or challenge the workings of mainstream journalistic practice?
Questions that currently shape research in the field: How do contexts of production and reproduction, especially within distinct national histories and in relation to discrete historical events, give shape to iconic images? What happens to the status of the iconic image over time and as it is reproduced and recontextualised in different media forms, including literature, film, television, and new media? How do iconic images play a role in public understanding of instances of political violence by providing loci for contemplation, interrogation and controversy regarding the image’s meaning? How do iconic images sustain or resist the hegemonic political/cultural discourse surrounding any given historical event? How can iconic photographs be understood in relation to debates about medium specificity, in particular the shift between photograph and film, or from photograph to text? How does the still/moving dialectic map part/whole relations in terms of the conceptualisation of historical events? How do iconic images exemplify or challenge the workings of mainstream journalistic practice?
In June 2013, Queen Mary hosted an international one-day conference with papers by Richard Raskin (Aarhus), Toby Haggith (Imperial War Museum), Kate McLoughlin (Birkbeck), and Piotr Cieplak (SOAS). The combined case studies presented by the speakers focused on specific images associated with war and genocide with further reflection on the wider field and its underlying assumptions, methods and disciplinary contexts.