20 January 2011

Book: Patricia MacCormack, Cinesexuality

It seems as if the pivotal role of the screen image cannot be emphasised enough in the disruption and regeneration of the body concept - especially in an entertainment climate which heralds concepts like the mesmerising mastery of the body beautiful/grotesque (for instance, the recently released Black Swan or the absolutely brilliant Taxidermia) and the terrifyingly compelling living/dead body (un)recognisable (the thematic umbrella under which nearly every zombie-horror flick finds itself at some point), not to mention the first [born-again] generation of visual three-dimensional technology that has redirected the image to literally caress the viewer's skin.

Thus it is that Patricia MacCormack's Cinesexuality (Ashgate, 2008) offers its own particular translation of the image experience and the transformative potential of the viscerally visual. And, in a play of affects between and around all this relation to the image and the spectating self, MacCormack finds desire, pleasure, love.

As she states in an introductory interview with Eye for Film:

"...in a way I wanted to write a love poem to cinema, while also addressing crucial philosophical issues of gender and ethics which emphasise why spectatorship is not only challenging but important as an act of philosophy, activism and desire. I also, like most others, found I loved certain actors/actresses, then realized it was what cinema did to their faces, then what cinema does to everything, so objects in space (nouns) moving in time (acts, narrative) were less important than saturation of colour, timbre and rhythm of sound, gesture, the twitch of a muscle, and so on. These things cannot be good/bad, beautiful/ugly, they resist binaries and evaluations and so potentially our pleasure is contagious to the extent that, put simply, we resist binarising pleasure, objects and so forth outside of spectatorship."

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