Curation and Cinema Open Access

Ditzler, Andy (2015)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/p5547r898?locale=en
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Abstract

From the London Film Society in the 1920s to Cinema 16 in the 1950s to a multitude of contemporary artist-run and DIY screening spaces, the independently curated film screening has historically been, and remains, a robust and underdocumented practice. Following from the root of curate, to care for, and the contemporary notion of curation as the putting together of materials for exhibition, this dissertation examines the practice of independent cinema curation.

As a practice, the curation of cinema has tended to slip through the cracks between commercial cinema and museums or other major institutions. At the same time, it has not been extensively theorized in either curation studies or cinema studies. Rather than recuperate this activity into one or another of these fields or institutional contexts, I argue that the strength of cinema curation is in exactly this in-between location. Artist Mike Kelley's notion of "minor history," the queer temporalities of José Esteban Muñoz, and the "now-being" of past objects discussed by Walter Benjamin each provide a theoretical example of rethinking the possibilities of curation through cinema. Independent curators of cinema move among institutional and non-institutional settings, outside of festival models, and among the different temporalities of film durations, screening durations, and historical eras, to create uniquely configured experiences that reflect the thematic, political and structural concerns of the works shown. Instead of presenting films as objects, I argue for methods of curation that provoke a work's traces, and cinema's excess elements.

Amos Vogel's mid-century film society Cinema 16, Andy Warhol's multimedia shows with the Velvet Underground, and James Nares' television-based performance work Desirium Probe each provide a case study of moving outside the bounds of presenting films as self-contained objects and into the curation of cinematic experience. The dissertation is based in both theory and practice: each of the case studies consists of historical research and film analysis alongside a practice component in the form of public screenings or performance.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Introduction......................................................................................................................... 1

Chapter 2

The Huge Film of Cinema 16............................................................................................ 65

Chapter 3

Curating Underground: Projecting Andy Warhol........................................................... 133

Chapter 4

James Nares' Desirium Probe: Performing Curation, Provoking Traces......................... 201

Chapter 5

Conclusion....................................................................................................................... 275 Bibliography.................................................................................................................... 285

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