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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2020

“Aesthetic Borderlands” in Peter Greenaway’s Prospero’s Books

From the book Symbolism 2019

  • Todd Barnes


This essay retraces film theory’s struggle with remediation, the discourse around which, as many have shown, was partially foreclosed and reframed, in the 1970s, by film theory’s semiotic and psychoanalytic turns. Drawing upon the works of Hugo Münsterberg, Béla Balázs, André Bazin, Walter Benjamin, and Gilles Deleuze, I attempt to trace an alternative genealogy of remediation in film theory, one that maintains a different, immanent relation of images to bodies to texts, one not bound by absence, lack, or the reassurances offered by the semiotic or the symbolic over and against the iconic or the imaginary. The essay performs this genealogy by reading - or better yet, viewing - Peter Greenaway’s 1991 intermedial film Prospero’s Books, a film that, because of its dramatic source material and its production at the dawn of the digital age, remains uniquely capable of querying the transmedial relations between text, image, and performance technologies.

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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