13th Nov

Research in Progress Presentations and Research Updates

4:30pm in G22, Jubilee Building.

20 minute Research in Progress Presentations:

Frank Verano – The Wrecking Corporation of America: Direct Cinema Under Construction in One P.M. and Eat the Document

In developing a cinema in the late 1960s to respond to a society in crisis, Jean-Luc Godard, D.A. Pennebaker, and Bob Dylan exposed a crisis of form in prevailing modes of documentary representation, which, most immediately, implicated Pennebaker’s own observational practice as well as that of his fellow practitioners of American direct cinema and cinéma vérité. This paper analyses the dismantling of the form and ideology of direct cinema in One P.M. (Pennebaker, 1972), a project initiated by Godard after he foresaw a 1968 American revolution and completed by Pennebaker when Godard abandoned it, and Eat the Document (Dylan, 1972), an “anti-documentary” deconstruction of the musician’s 1966 European tour. In both films’ form and structure, artificiality is foreground and the (re)presentation of reality is made unnatural. In dismantling American direct cinema, Godard, Pennebaker, and Dylan construct a cinema that examines the challenge of representing a society that saw the organisation of knowledge and power increasingly destabilised.

Gemma Cobb  – Looking at women in popular culture: the celebrity gossip magazine

This paper examines the perpetuation of the thin ideal in Western popular culture through an investigation into the celebrity gossip magazine. I have chosen to examine these texts as they are illustrative of the rhetoric and images deployed by the pro-anorexia community, upon whom my research is based. Here, my aim is to begin to establish the relationship between such mainstream texts as gossip magazines, and the subversion carried out by pro-anorexia.
I argue that, operating under the guise of advice and examples of celebrity failings, the gossip magazine promotes the female body as lacking and deficient, but also undefinable.  Throughout the texts examined there is scant representation of a constant, balanced or average body; and whilst the size eight body is regularly referred to as aspirational, it is nonetheless presented contradictorily: at once normal, impossible, and too thin. As a result, the reader, like the celebrities who adorn the pages of the magazines, is put in the position of never being able to achieve the ‘right’ type of body. I propose that this is because it does not exist: bodies by their very nature are heterogeneous and the magazines’ attempts at homogenisation merely corroborate this. I argue that this functions ironically, revealing the illusive, performative nature of gender and exposing it as a construct.


10 Minute Research Update: Emma Withers

Please check back for details and abstracts


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