- The image of walking
- The aesthetics and politics of cinematic pedestrianism
- Award date
- 23 January 2018
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
This dissertation investigates the ways in which pedestrianism, as an everyday act of engagement with the dominant politics of space, has informed, shaped, or inspired cinematic aesthetics. Through a cultural analysis of six film historical moments, this study approaches the history of cinema from the perspective of urban walking experience. Such approach is informed primarily by three key theories: firstly, Henri Lefebvre’s contention that all spaces, including the public space of cities, are constructions that are shaped by certain ideologies that determine and control the ways in which the constructed spaces function; secondly, Michel de Certeau’s focus on the pedestrian as an everyday practitioner of the city and on the everyday pedestrian acts that elude, subvert, or disrupt the dominant spatial order of the city; and finally, Jacques Rancière’s notion of distribution of the sensible, which sheds light on the political structures implicated in all constructed spaces and shapes all sensible experience, i.e. what is allowed or not allowed to be said, seen, or shown. From this standpoint, pedestrianism can be perceived as a constructed aesthetic experience in the city, and pedestrian acts as dissenting practices, which transgress the established aesthetic order of the public space by walking the unwalkable trajectories, saying the unsayable, or showing the unshowable. This study elaborates on the ways in which the cinematic medium evolved in conversation with such experiences and the new images, styles, and techniques that emerged to articulate such dissent.
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