Lecturer in Film and Screen Production
Queen’s University Belfast
Visiting Lecturer in Contemporary Media Practice
University of Westminster
BA (Hons) First Class, Film and TV Production, University of Westminster
MSt in Film Aesthetics, Magdalen College, University of Oxford
Affective Cinema: Between Style, Chance and the Moving Body
Dr Joanne Scott and Dr Martin Flanagan
Affective Cinema is a practice research project in film, informed by art cinema and experimental film traditions, and by conceptual fields derived from film theory and philosophy (specifically film ontology, and the philosophy of Deleuze, Bergson and Barthes). The primary outcome of the research is a series of short films, or ‘Affective Signs’, which are structured on the basis of affective significance – an original concept identified in various film moments from the history of cinema, and subsequently developed through the project. Affective significance is a sense of meaning that is felt before it can be thought: it eludes language, and transgresses the boundaries of traditional knowledge and (inter-subjective) communication. Affective significance is produced by chance being captured and revealed on film, in combination with stylistic aspects and decisions that do not coherently assimilate these flashes of contingency into the film’s ordinary signification, but instead amplify their nonhuman origin in the real outside of the human world of reason, concepts and understanding. Through experimenting with film performance, and its ability to expose the nonhuman nature of the moving body as the real (below the human surface of intention, self-control, subjectivity, and meaningful gestures), the sense of affective significance can be amplified, when combined with the aforementioned aspects of style and chance.
The research expands the potential of cinema by producing experimental film structures in which affective significance can be identified, and by analysing and describing the methodological and aesthetic conditions needed for it to arise. In the process, both established and new methods of film production are tested, and formulated into an applicable set of approaches to filmmaking, cinematography and directing performers. Furthermore, the research contributes to the ontological understanding of film by defining the conceptual field surrounding affective significance, which is rooted in established film scholarship on affect, semiotics and the movement/stillness paradox of film, but also uniquely acquired through and embedded in practice.
The research resulted in a feature-length series of 12 short films that were screened at FACT as a video installation during the 2018 Liverpool Biennial – a culmination to my six-month NWCDTP-funded residency at the institution. The outcomes of the research were also exhibited at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery as part of the SOUND/IMAGE exhibition (2018) and on the MediaWall at Bath Spa University (2019), as well as at several other public/cultural venues. My research received the Inaugural Award in Creative Media Research from the International Journal of Creative Media Research (2019), and the Best Conference Installation Award at the ‘Provoking Discourse’ Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University (2018). As part of my residency at FACT, I took part in an AHRC-funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership entitled the Living Room of The Future, which was a research collaboration between BBC R&D, FACT, The British Council, and universities of York, Nottingham and Lancaster. I directed, edited and co-produced audio-visual content for the Living Room of the Future, which was related to my Affective Cinema research. The project was exhibited at FACT, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and during British Council’s PlayUK Arcadia in Skopje, Macedonia.
Affective Cinema: Experimenting with Feelings of Meaning in The International Journal of Creative Media Research
Affective Cinema Thesis
• Film performance
• Affect theory
• Art cinema
• Film philosophy