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March 2000, Week 5


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Evan Rosenfield <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 30 Mar 2000 14:12:10 EST
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I'm thinking about starting a new paper concerned with refiguring cinema's
history as a history of grounds, or backgrounds (as opposed to figures, or
foregrounds). The figure-ground relationship implied by any notion of
mise-en-scene may be reversed. The ground, for a change, could be articulated
by, and be read in relation to the figure. I would intend to make the
background more than merely a readable "cue" onto which we map meanings.
Rather, Ground would be the central element of importance that we have
largely ignored, ever present,  yet outside of traditional aesthetic
language. Implied: No more importance of stars since they don't matter as
much, or of well lit objects (well lit, in fact, could take on new meanings
as it does in the avante-garde theater of Merce Cunningham). My history is
all about the blur in the background, the darkness of the 1917 interiors.

So this is like subversive reading of cinema, I suppose. What do people
think? An avante-garde sort of criticism? Might not be publishable
immediately, but it could be fun. Thoughts? Has it been done (if so
refferences please).

Oh, and if you like the idea and decide to steal it from me, kindly cite me
in some footnote.

Evan Rosenfield

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