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Open Access Siegfried Kracauer’s affinities

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Seen from today’s vantage point, Siegfried Kracauer’s Theory of Film (1960) envisages the possibility that the cinema may turn out to have been a historical phenomenon whose technological specifications as well as aesthetic properties are contingent, but whose ‘ontology’ speaks to such broad concerns as ‘history’ and ‘life’. Kracauer poses affinities between photography and the cinema which can be understood not only in the context of a phenomenologically-inflected aesthetics of realism or as a covert manifesto supporting the modern cinema of the time-image, but they can also provide a foil for the moving image in its current condition, where art and life tend to change places and where the contingent, the endless, and the indeterminate have become the basis for extracting from images ‘useful’ information and ‘usable’ data.
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Keywords: Gilles Deleuze; Jacques Rancière; Jean-Luc Nancy; Rudolf Arnheim; Siegfried Kracauer; Theory of Film; history; history of fijilm theory; life; medium specifijicity; mind-game movies; the endless; the fortuitous; the indeterminate

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Professor Emeritus at the Department of Media and Culture of the University of Amsterdam and Visiting Professor at Columbia University

Publication date: March 1, 2014

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  • NECSUS is an international, double-blind peer reviewed journal of media studies connected to NECS (European Network for Cinema and Media Studies) and published by Amsterdam University Press. The journal is multidisciplinary and strives to bring together the best work in the field of media studies across the humanities and social sciences. We aim to publish research that matters and that improves the understanding of media and culture inside and outside the academic community. Each volume includes feature articles, a special thematic section, a video essay section, and a reviews section that covers books, festivals, and exhibitions. NECSUS is targeted to a broad readership of researchers, lecturers, and students, and will be offered as a biannual open access, online journal.

    The journal is published in Open Access, with the following Creative Commons copyright license: Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

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