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Digital visceral: textural play and the flamboyant gesture in digital screen violence

Purse, L. (2017) Digital visceral: textural play and the flamboyant gesture in digital screen violence. Journal of Popular Film & Television, 45 (1). pp. 16-25. ISSN 0195-6051

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/01956051.2017.1270137


Screen violence continues to be marked by strategies that emerged in the late 1960s – what Arthur Penn called the ‘ballet of blood’ in films like Bonnie and Clyde and the Wild Bunch – specifically, a combination of temporal elasticity, graphic detail, and the flamboyant elaboration of the physical effects of violence. Yet the affordances of computer-generated images appear to be intensifying these strategies. Today audiences are, in Sean Cubitt’s words, ‘connoisseurs of compositing’ (2013) that have a tactile understanding of the inherent discreteness of the elements of the digital composite. As a result, contemporary films are eschewing the dominant tendency of the 1990s and early 2000s to construct so-called ‘seamless’ digital composite, and producing sequences of digital screen violence that are frequently characterized by a refusal of seamlessness and an impulse towards increased flamboyance, abstraction and textural play that is more familiar from histories of exploitation cinema and the repeatable logics of videogame violence and YouTube mash-ups. This paper will analyse the aesthetic characteristics and the phenomenological appeals of this recent evolution in screen violence, mapping an audio-visual field that is persistently marked by a textural dissonance between haptic imagery and geometric abstraction.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:67557
Uncontrolled Keywords:digital composite, digital visual effects, exploitation cinema, haptic, violence
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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