A talk presented at a seminar on Text and the Moving Image. 16th October, 2013, in the Literature and Visual Cultures Seminar Series, Royal Holloway, University of London.

[Thanks to Sarah Chadfield and Sophie Oliver for the Invitation, and for recording the talk, and to Harriet Wragg for her presentation in the same seminar.]


“If, along the hard road to illumination, the audiovisual essay manages to find or create some new eloquence, some new sensation, or evoke some of that ‘mad poetry’ [...] found in intense theorising, […] then that’s all for the good” [Adrian Martin, 'In so many words', Frames Cinema Journal, 1, 2013. Online at: http://framescinemajournal.com/article/in-so-many-words/

Long after the advent of the digital era, the overwhelming majority of film and moving image studies scholars still prefer to carry out and publish their film critical, theoretical and historical research in conventional written formats. As digital affordances and publications continue to proliferate, however, more and more academics are turning to multimedia forms of research like digital video essays. Interestingly, some of these emerging modes are especially indebted to the 'provisional and subjective' traditions of the essay film, much studied in written film studies. Such formats can inspire compelling work not only because, with their possibilities for direct audiovisual citation, they can enhance the kinds of explanatory research that have always been carried out on films, but also because of their potential for more 'poetic', creative and performative critical approaches to our research. Yet, even as videographic film studies have the potential to challenge the future hegemony of (especially traditional forms of) academic written language, words are far from banished from these forms. Instead, as Adrian Martin has argued, "it is the economy of critical word to illustrative image, the balance and weighting of their respective functions, that is slowly altering" (ibid.). In my contribution to this seminar I will discuss the role of captioning, written quotation, and titling in videographic film studies practice, including my own, their relation to earlier traditions of written language deployment in the cinema, and their centrality to emerging notions of 'creative critical practice research'.

Some New Eloquence RHUL Talk October 16 2013 PDF by filmstudiesff

Video essays

First video (9.24): La Cueca Chilena: Raúl Ruiz's Exilic Seductions

Second video (15.56): Notes to a Project on Citizen Kane by Paul Malcolm, 2007

Third video (25.54): Film Tweets

Fourth video (28.58): Uncanny Fusion - still in draft/not yet published

Other videos referenced can be found at AUDIOVISUALCY: Videographic Film and Moving Image Studies

Dr Catherine Grant is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Sussex. She is the author of numerous written studies of film authorship, adaptation and intertextuality and also of some forty film-studies videos many of which have been screened internationally at academic conferences and at film festivals and industry events (including the International Oberhausen Short Film Festival, 2012). She has curated many hundreds of videographic studies at her websites Film Studies For Free, Filmanalytical and Audiovisualcy. In 2012, she commissioned and edited an issue of the peer-reviewed journal Frames on ‘digital film studies’ (http://framescinemajournal.com/?issue=issue1), with more than twenty video-related contributions. Her article 'Déjà-Viewing? Videographic Experiments in Intertextual Film Studies', appeared in Mediascape, 2013: http://www.tft.ucla.edu/mediascape/Winter2013_DejaViewing.html.

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Welcome to the podcast channel for the Film Studies For Free website. Founded in August 2008, FSFF is a pluralist, pro bono, and purely positive web-archive of examples of, links to, and comment on, online, Open Access, film and moving image studies resources of note. FSFF is lovingly tended (in a personal capacity) by Catherine Grant, of Film Studies at the University of Sussex.