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Screened Visions / National Visions - and Counterstrategies

PhD Candidate Sara Eliassen's doctoral project

Academic summary

The project considers dominant cinema’s emergence as a montaged form in the 1920s Europe, and a time when nation building and propaganda film was working alongside to disseminate nationalist ideologies; perfecting divisions between us and them, good and evil and the inside and the outside of the nation’s border. How can we today create resistance towards nationalist visions and propaganda with the same audio visual strategies that came about as a disseminator of ideological ‘truths’ funded on these limiting and oppressive dichotomies? Considering how contemporary screen culture still upholds aesthetic strategies such as the montage and the morph initially employed to create identification with ideology- what strategies could today serve as tools to question oppressive values and dominant narratives consistently reaffirmed within contemporary screen culture? Can we contest propaganda by producing counter-propaganda, or do we need to leave this term completely behind in search for other expressions to contest these manufactured histories produced with and disseminated by contemporary screen culture? Hito Steyerl writes in A Thing Like You and Me: ‘But what if the truth is neither in the represented nor in the representation? What if the truth is in the material configuration?’ Considering this, should we think of images as material and rather search for methods of questioning truths outside images as representation, or possibly images at all? The main purpose of the project is to explore these questions, and an important notion of the project will also be to investigate the role contemporary digital screen culture; technology, material and contemporary distribution networks play in producing subjectivities. How does subject formation and memory production happen in the meeting between humans and screens in an entangled society pre-empting futures based on datas of the past? And what strategies could possibly undo subjectivities and further build other imaginaries breaking with canons of the past?

Project facts

Project title Screened Visions / National Visions - and Counterstrategies
Project manager Sara Eliassen
Oslo National Academy of the Arts
Start date
End date
Project status Active
Department Academy of Fine Art

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