As it Moves: A Film Experiment in Body Affect

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"As It Moves: A Film Experiment in Body Affect” is an 18 minute digital video montage of clips from various films (Written on the Wind [Douglas Sirk, 1956], The American Soldier [Rainer W. Fassbinder, 1970], The Marriage of Maria Braun [Rainer W. Fassbinder, 1978], Thriller [Sally Potter, 1979], The Tango Lesson [Sally Potter, 1997], Beau Travail [Claire Denis, 1999], Mulholland Drive [David Lynch, 2001], The Last Days [Gus Van Sant, 2004], and Zatoichi [Takeshi Kitano, 2003]). The moments of affective eruption performed in these film segments interact with each other to create a non-verbal essay of ideas centered upon the potency of affect. By affect we mean the capacity of bodies to affect and be affected by other bodies (Deleuze/Spinoza), and, in this case, we also mean the capacity of images to affect other images. Here, this affective capacity informs both the relations between bodies on screen and the relations between onscreen bodies and our own. The images selected are doubly separated from their original narrative context: first, in that they are extricated from the prevailing narrative and psychological framework of the original film itself; and second, in that our selection and sequencing of these images seeks to foreground the speeds and patterns of movement that express the affect in the most intense and resonant way. The affective links created by the images and sounds result to a large extent from the speeds and patterns of movement (and rest) of bodies. Affect in this sense emerges not so much as a psychological content or process, but as a physics of the emotions that defies the limits and binaries of narrative, ideology, psychology, and morality.


Keywords: Affect in Film, Performing Bodies, Movement and Gesture, Speed and Slowness, Intensity, Sensation, Time, Duration
Stream: Art and Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Elena del Río

Associate Professor of Film Studies, Deaprtment of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Elena del Río (PhD Rhetoric/Film, University of California, Berkeley, 1996)
My research specializes in the intersections between cinema and philosophies of the body (Merleau-Ponty, Deleuze, and Spinoza) in the areas of technology, affect, and performance. My essays have appeared in such journals as Camera Obscura, Discourse, Studies in French Cinema, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, New Review of Film and Television Studies, and SubStance. I have also contributed to two different volumes on the films of Atom Egoyan. My current book project, Powers of Affection: Deleuze and the Cinemas of Performance (forthcoming Edinburgh UP), draws from Deleuzean philosophy to theorize certain kinds of corporeal cinemas where affect and performance are intricately connected.

Dr. Miriam Cooley

Associate Professor of Art Education, Deapartment of Art Education, University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Miriam Cooley (Art Education, University of Alberta)
Through my research I seek to better understand the processes and practices involved in artistic experiences, and to assert the validity of artistic works as representations of experience, theory and knowledge within the academic milieu. Projects such as the video installation Ockham’s Razor (1) (1+1) (1+1+1), an eighty-minute, 16mm documentary film, Party Girls, performance work A for . . ., and the video piece, Skating (in post production) explore ways through which the conjunction of time, space, and location, with intimacy and memory might be experienced and represented. I have written on aesthetic response, creative process, play, narrative inquiry, and “art as research”, as these concepts relate to artistic experience and production.

Ref: A07P0028