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PERFORMING TEMPORALITIES: Research on the Aesthetic and Discursive Status of Delay and Slow Motion

Research project

Fellow: Geerts Katja

Supervisor: Paulus Tom

Duration: 1/10/2012-30/9/2013

This project investigates the use of cinematic delay from two perspectives. It analyzes the use of slow motion within the realm of the historiography of film style on the one hand and as a hermeneutic question on the other hand. Starting from the French impressionist cinema and theory of for example Jean Epstein, Germaine Dulac and Abel Gance and the historical avant-garde of Dziga Vertov, Jean Vigo and René Clair, this project proposes that slow motion can not only be understood as a film technical phenomenon. It therefore identifies the different theoretical facets of the slow motion in a historiographical framework and theorizes deceleration as for example revelation, attraction, (mechanical) melancholy and drift.


This research flirts with a hauntology of what emerges between movement and standstill, cinema and photography, present and past, memory and vision, and presence and absence to trace the parallels between the early French film theory of a.o. Epstein and a.o. Barthes' theorization of the still image and the 'punctum' as research method. In this way, the project aspires to offer a different way to approach the stylistic phenomenon of slow motion against a historiographical background, by connecting its theoretical motifs to critical theory.

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