Video artist Cecelia Condit’s recent work offers a rich visual and sonic poetics of feeling, engaging multiple varieties of sensation, affect, and emotion. Drawing on Erin Manning’s theory of preacceleration, this essay provides a close reading of Condit’s beguiling Within a Stone’s Throw (2012) as an environmental piece and in the context of her other work and her life. It argues that Condit’s solitary video work in Ireland’s rocky region resulted in a feeling of freedom that not only enabled her to create Within a Stone’s Throw—part environmental artwork, part performance piece, part impersonal self-portrait—but also served as a catalyst for feminist emotion that explodes in triumph in I’ve Been Afraid (2020). Paradoxically, then, in Within a Stone’s Throw we find the emergence of “planetary affect,” a mode of being on Earth that doesn’t center human subjectivity in forceful psychological and social emotions, but does enable them.
The Feeling of Freedom, Planetary Affect, and Feminist Emotion: Recent Work by Video Artist Cecelia Condit
Kathleen Woodward is Lockwood Professor in the Humanities and a professor of English at the University of Washington, where she also directs the Simpson Center for the Humanities. She is the author of Statistical Panic: Cultural Politics and Poetics of Emotions (Duke University Press, 2009) and Aging and Its Discontents: Freud and Other Fictions (Indiana University Press, 1991). Her essays in the cross-disciplinary domains of the emotions, women and aging, and technology and culture have appeared in American Literary History, Discourse, differences, Generations, SubStance, Journal of Women’s History, and Cultural Critique. From 1986 to 1995 she coedited Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture.
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Kathleen Woodward; The Feeling of Freedom, Planetary Affect, and Feminist Emotion: Recent Work by Video Artist Cecelia Condit. Feminist Media Histories 1 April 2021; 7 (2): 65–91. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2021.7.2.65
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