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Natural aesthetics: environments and perspectives in contemporary film theory

Guan, C. and O'Brien, A. ORCID: (2020) Natural aesthetics: environments and perspectives in contemporary film theory. Screen, 61 (2). pp. 331-333. ISSN 1460-2474

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/screen/hjaa020


This short essay introduced the edited dossier, 'Cinema's Natural Aesthetics'. From the earliest descriptions of film as “living pictures” to the “crystal-images” evoked by Gilles Deleuze, cinematic media have long been likened by critical observers to the organic processes of natural creation. “Photography,” according to André Bazin, “affects us like a phenomenon in nature, like a flower or a snowflake whose vegetable or earthly origins are an inseparable part of their beauty." Misunderstood as an ontological claim, this ambiguous affinity has given rise to uncritical speculations about filmic “nature” and its inherent vitality. Pushing against the tendency to ontologize media, this dossier will attempt to rearticulate moving images’ involvement with nature in terms of aesthetic mediation, by which we hope to designate a historically-determined range of formal possibilities and sensible structures, neither fixed nor arbitrary, that condition how moving image work can be created and interpreted.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:90299
Publisher:Oxford University Press


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