Film and the visual arts.
I Wonder if anyone here on SCREEN-L has strong feelings about the
relationship between film studies and the studies of visual culture and the
visual arts. Although it is often stated that these are closely related and
overlapping areas this belief does not seem to inform much of the activity in
As an example, two times this spring I have listened to nationally recognized
art theorists make broad generalizations about the visual arts that required
ignorance of contemporary independent film, since strong filmic example
exist that are directly counter to their theories. When pushed, both
thinkers agreed that film was very important but admitted that they had not
made viewing film a priority nor had they let it influence their theoretical
work. I do not think that these are isolated instances nor do I think that
film scholars are innocent either.
I am alarmed by this willingness to marginalize film in art discourse and the
willingness to marginalize other visual arts in filmic discourse. Does it
not signal both a critical and professional crisis? Does a lack of
interdiciplinarity -for lack of a better term- lead to dubious scholarship
in each area and serve to keep film isolated in the sense that it is not
really considered a visual art? Finally, doesn't film suffer from a brushing
aside of attention to the most complex issues of visual signification that
fuel critical activity in the visual arts?
In a limited sense I am playing devils advocate but I am also trying to
understand what I see as a regrettable disreguard for a body of contemporary
Does this have resonances for anyone here?
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