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2024 summer course offering "the self on screen"

Course Description:


From home-made family videos to reels, selfies, and memes, we seem to be producing an increasingly larger audiovisual archive of our lives. How can we engage with these materials critically? How can we work with them aesthetically and narratively, to tell the story (or a story) of our lives? And how the elaboration of an ‘intimate videography’ might enable us to address broader issues around identity, gender, ethnicity, and race—including collective histories of loss, displacement, and trauma as well as love, pleasure, and resilience? The aim of this course is twofold. On the one hand, we will engage with a number to texts and aesthetic objects to examine the autobiographical as a concept, a form, and a genre. Specifically, we will ask: how have artists and filmmakers used the autobiographical—particularly through the audiovisual medium—to problematize notions of selfhood, authorship, and authenticity? And how do the visual and affective dynamics of the digital and the internet—commonly described in terms of narcissism—have further enabled and complicated the autobiographical form? Moreover, what does a feminist, queer, or decolonial autobiography in the digital space look like? To address these and other questions, our studies will include works by McKenzie Wark, Ann Hirsch, Amalia Ulman, Narcissister, molly soda, and others. 


The second component of this course will consist in the creation of an ‘intimate videography’—a 2–5-minute short film that can take the form of a video essay, a videographic autobiography, or another experimental format. Students are particularly encouraged to creatively engage with social media platforms. Throughout the course, we will engage in simple videographic experiments to learn basic editing techniques, that will gradually let us build the final video. The idea is for the reading, viewing, and discussion to inform the critical building of our personal digital videography. 


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