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The nature of ostension

O'Brien, A. (2023) The nature of ostension. Comparative Cinema, 11 (20). pp. 10-25. ISSN 2604-9821

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To link to this item DOI: 10.31009/cc.2023.v11.i20.02


The initiating comparison for this essay is between two images, or shots; one appears in Jessica Sarah Rinland’s Black Pond (2018), and shows two people looking offscreen, surrounded by dense woodland; the other is reprinted and described in Bruno Latour’s essay “Circulating Reference” (1999) and shows three scientists near a border between a savanna and a forest, looking and gesturing in different directions. Rinland and Latour share an ethnographic interest in the material and gestural minutiae of scientific engagement with the non-human world. This essay explores their common interest in pointing, and in ostension more generally, as it emerges in both case studies. Latour provides a rich and suggestive framework through which to understand Black Pond, particularly in its conception of natural-history study as a multi-stage process of mediation, made up of tools and gestures and inferences – rather than the momentary encountering or witnessing more familiar to eco-film aesthetics.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:115067
Publisher:Center for Aesthetic Research on Audiovisual Media (CINEMA)


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