Brian Wall to speak at Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities (IASH) on October 2

 

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Join us Wednesday, October 2, for the next event in the IASH Fellows’ Speaker Series. Associate Professor of Cinema and Art History Brian Wall will present “What Cinema Isn’t: Will and Blindness in Fritz Lang” at noon in the IASH Conference Room (LN 1106).

The idea of cinema as manipulation has a history that extends from its beginnings to the present. In Lang’s Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (1922), the titular super villain claims, “There is no fortune—there is only the Will-to-Power”; and he asserts his will via his hypnotic gaze, a gaze that allegorizes film as a medium, even suggesting its own will-to-power. Cinema here seems less a representation of reality than an intervention within it, as it lays claim to the ability to pull strings both psychic and social and so shape the world. But if this is so, what then do Lang’s assorted blind characters come to suggest about the will, the gaze, and especially about cinema itself? The balloon vendor in M (1931), the spy on the train in Cloak and Dagger (1946), and the medium Cornelius in Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse (1960) cannot see us: they refuse to mark a place for the spectator, and so seem to disdain the hypnotic and indeed even visual purview of the cinematic apparatus. Equally unconcerned with realism and manipulation, these blind figures evoke a confounding negative ontology I wish to explore: what is a cinema without mimesis, gaze, will, or audience?

The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities was established in 2009 in order to support research, teaching, and programming in the humanities and about topics relevant to the humanities, inspire the cross-pollination of ideas, encourage emerging knowledges and ways of knowing, and spark meaningful campus-community engagement at Binghamton University.

More information at http://www2.binghamton.edu/iash/.

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Graduate Activities: Hye Young Min at NYCAS

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MA candidate Hye Young Min will present a paper at the New York Conference on Asian Studies (NYCAS), to be held this weekend in downtown Binghamton. Her paper is titled “Archiving the Historical Event: Lee Kyung-Mo’s Photographs from 1945 to the Korean War.” Follow the link for more information.

This paper examines South Korean photo-journalist Lee Kyung-Mo’s documentary photographs between 1945 and 1951, especially at the key moments in the period of Korean modern history that runs from the independence from Japan to the Korean War. My main question in this paper is how different his photographs were interpreted or represented both in the late 1940s when these photographs were produced and published on a local newspaper and in the late 1980s when they were recollected and republished as a photo book. In the late 1940s, almost every press in South Korea was unwillingly slanted in favor of the government and the U.S. military. Under this circumstance, his photographs were censored and mobilized to interpret political conflicts to make the advantage of the government and the U.S. military. On the other hand, in the late 1980s, under a new wave of democratization in South Korea, his photographs were republished as a photo book with a different point of view to give people possibilities to rethink our memories of history, the causes of Korean War, and the established national identity based on anti-communism. This desire for democratization led to the reopening of Lee’s photographic archive, which had been lying dormant for about 30 years since Korean War. Comparing between two time periods, I aim to look at how Lee’s photographs were mobilized in different ways under different political situations.

Graduate Student Activities: Josh Franco at Judd Foundation

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Image courtesy of Judd Foundation.

Since this past summer, doctoral student Josh Franco has been working as a guide for the Judd Foundation, the artist Donald Judd’s home and studio at 101 Spring Street, New York. The building opened to the public in June 2013 following a major restoration project. Josh is among a group of twenty artists who serve as guides to the foundation after undergoing an intensive course of training over several months. Click here to read an interview with Michele Saliola, Director of Programs, about the artist guide training.

Faculty Activities: John Tagg in Photography’s Orientalism

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The Getty has recently published Photography’s Orientalism: New Essays on Colonial Representation, edited by Ali Behdad and Luke Gartlan. The volume, derived from a 2010 symposium held at the Getty Research institute, contains an essay by Professor John Tagg titled “The Mute Testimony of the Picture: British Paper Photography in India.”

Faculty Activities: Nancy Um at the Getty

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Associate Professor Nancy Um is spending the year at the Getty Research Institute as a Scholar in Residence for the theme “Connecting Seas: Cultural and Artistic Exchange.” Um is at work a book manuscript titled The Material World of the Overseas Merchant in Yemen: Ceremonies, Gifts, and the Social Protocols of Trade, 1700–1750. Eliot and Oliver are also enjoying southern California and the Getty Center!