The Shadows of Dreams: Cinema's Layers of Medialization

  • Cinema figures as the crucial site where the anthropological drive to grasp the world in images finds a media outlet. Media in this sense are eternally constituted and re-constituted psychocultural ‘prosthetics’ giving space to sensation, emotion, and thought. This process of medialization condenses and sediments in media artifacts, embodying human experience in an externalized form and inviting our aesthetic engagement. Cinema seen from this perspective consists in a coupling of three anthropologically crucial domains of existence, which assume the shape of layers of medialization. This project will start with an examination of the cinematic transformation of external physical and social reality. The testing grounds for this will be the strain of sociocritical U.S. horror cinema, the analogous melodrama (where everyday experience becomes horrific), and the movie adaptations of Agatha Christie’s novels. As recorded motion adds both significance and force to the expressive gestures and poses of the human body, transitional performance states loom large in a medium which gives meaningful forms to the self in action. It is the highly ambiguous nature of physical interactions that sets the parameters for the second chapter, which turns to the cinematic duality of dancing and fighting. The fascination with seeing oneself from the outside is the third crucial domain this thesis will explore. Cinema provides the material structure for the staging of imaginary processes of projection and identification as compelling apparitions of the self. The claim that the self is in dire need not only of being manufactured, but also of being staged is explored in the final set of film analyses, which focus on the cinema of Werner Herzog. By way of conclusion, the tension between the ‘reality of pictures’ and ‘pictures of reality’ (a notion explored by Ludwig Pfeiffer across various contexts) is transmuted by the assertion that instances of cinematic experience embody perceptual thought.

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Publishing Institution:IRC-Library, Information Resource Center der Jacobs University Bremen
Granting Institution:Jacobs Univ.
Author:Jan-Helge Weidemann
Referee:Immacolata Amodeo, Leonardo Boccia
Advisor:K. Ludwig Pfeiffer
Persistent Identifier (URN):urn:nbn:de:gbv:579-opus-1008651
Document Type:PhD Thesis
Date of Successful Oral Defense:2012/07/06
Date of First Publication:2019/06/24
PhD Degree:Literature
School:SHSS School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Other Countries Involved:BR Brazil
Call No:2012/24

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