Where videographic essays can take a scholarly lead is in drawing on the feminist, postcolonial, critical race, critical and digital media scholarship that strips ‘the archive’ of any possible claims of disinterested innocence.—Susan Harewood1
You can almost feel that passion for research.—Janet Bergstrom2
This issue of Feminist Media Histories is the result of an experiment. On one hand, it is the first open topic issue in the journal’s history, an experiment undertaken to see what voices, perspectives and projects might emerge without a guiding theme. The result is brilliantly robust, including two interviews that focus on local and regional media facilitators. In one, Sarah Choi talks with Sabrina Craig, the director of community engagement for the South Side Home Movie Project in Chicago, as well as Asian American anthropologist Sasha Su-Ling Welland, about the imperative of women’s cross-generational storytelling as a counterarchival feminist practice. In the second, Leilani Nishime converses with Vanessa Au and Ellison Shieh, directors of the Asian American Film Festival in Seattle, about the “inherently feminist” and queer nature of their annual event. There are also three research articles that, respectively, assert the centrality of the grassroots feminist media initiative International Videoletters to guerilla television in the 1970s (Lexington Davis), speculate on the unfinished business of Zora Neale Hurston’s contract with Paramount in the 1940s (Kallan Benjamin), and interrogate the fever for Hula performers in the US as a distinct mode of colonial consumption in the 1910s and 1920s (Briand Gentry). These five entries, which include Davis’ and Benjamin’s award-winning essays (2022 SCMS Gender and Feminisms Caucus Graduate Student Writing Competition), would make for a compelling issue. But there is another experiment at work in these pages, conducted to explore the potential of videographic criticism for feminist media historiographies and to announce the inclusion of audiovisual essays in the pages of this journal.3 Because this mode of critical expression is relatively new, and because efforts to coordinate feminist, queer, decolonial and antiracist videographic work has been sporadic at best, it makes sense to offer an overview of the concepts and materials at stake as a means of introducing this issue.
To begin, then, what is videographic criticism? At the most basic level, the phrase refers to criticism that is written (“graph”) with video. It more broadly refers to a burgeoning area of research, inquiry and experimentation that repurposes sound and moving images to critically reflect on media comprised of sound and moving images. Beyond that I’m not willing to say, insofar as I agree with Drew Morton that defining videographic research too neatly might stifle the field, prematurely restricting its potentiality.4 For this reason, Feminist Media Histories will not prescribe the rhetorical form, display structure or even the length of audiovisual essays carried in these pages; we likewise welcome diversity in tone and style. We do, however, expect this work to produce new knowledge-effects that speak to this journal’s mission, and which might occasionally take the form of a videographic “study,” “exercise,” or “experiment,” as with several of the works that appear in this inaugural dossier. But our intention is to predominantly publish videographic essays, also known as audiovisual essays, or video essays. It is by now common to note that the term, “essay,” which literally means “to try” or “to attempt,” usefully conveys the explorative, experimental nature of this multimedia mode of expression.5 For Feminist Media Histories, that term also foregrounds the equal weight this journal grants to video essays and to written essays, a consistency that applies to the double-blind peer review process that any essay published here will undergo.
The intention to treat video essays and written essays with the same approbation, however, does not mean they are (at all) the same thing. Nor do video essays adapt existing scholarship into audiovisual form. As some of the most influential and prolific audiovisual essayists have stressed, videographic work is ontologically different from traditional, text-based scholarship. As early as 2012, Cristina Álvarez López noted that the impact of videographic film studies emerges in part from “the degree of evidence afforded to us by working with the film’s own images and sounds,” adding: “at the same time as we are creating a discourse about the audiovisual material, this very same material serves as its own proof. In other words, where written texts evoke, video essays invoke.”6 By 2013, Catherine Grant, a founding co-editor of [in]Transition (also a contributor here), called videographic research practices “performative because they use the object themselves. They use reframing techniques, remixing techniques, applied to film and moving image excerpts.”7 Whether by invoking (thus drawing for authority on the thing itself), or performing (thus doing rather than describing), videographic criticism reverses the predicament of the “unattainable text” that Raymond Bellour once diagnosed as endemic to writing about film and media. Writing in 1975, Bellour compared the literary critic’s privileged position in relation to her object of study—the language of which can be replicated and incorporated in the language employed by the critic—to that of the film critic who could only describe, recall, rehearse, or point to a materially discrete and always illusive object.8 This is “no longer the case,” observed Erlend Lavik in a 2012 dossier on videographic film studies: “[f]or the first time, there is material equivalence between film and film criticism, as both exist—or can be made to exist—simply as media files.”9
The qualitatively different range of feelings, ambitions, knowledge-effects, and risks that videographic work poses for the critical act is undeniably exciting. It is also daunting, especially for a scholar such as myself, trained as a professional writer and relatively new to non-linear digital editing. But in a seminar that I offered at the University of Washington in the spring of 2023, designed to introduce graduate students to videographic criticism, the group ultimately agreed that the most pressing question to ask when uploading media to the editing timeline is not “how”—but rather, “why?” I do not mean to dismiss the technical questions we confronted with every exercise, or underplay the hours spent with on-line tutorials learning how to mix audio, balance split screens, sustain overlays, incorporate freeze frames, alter duration, produce fast or slow motion and so on. But, for me, even the most dazzling technical skills disappoint if the project is conceived in the manner of a recorded lecture, as a written text supplemented by images and sounds. The question, “why,” thus asserts itself: why advance an argument, or share a perspective, or explore an idea, through audio-visual media? What effect does this multimedia form enable that would be impossible to convey, think, and feel in written form?
One way of answering this question is to echo Christian Keathley and Jason Mittell’s claim that “the most effective videographic works—those that produce the most potent knowledge effect—are those that employ their audiovisual source materials in poetically imaginative ways, even when striving for a more explanatory approach.”10 The trajectory of some videographic critics has thus been to angle increasingly away from language, recognizing the power of words (both written and spoken) to overdetermine meanings and close down the expressive energy of images and sounds. This works well for projects that combine “a simultaneous faithfulness to the object of study and an imaginative use of it.”11 But ideologically ambiguous and complex objects call for different methodologies. One illustrative example is Liz Greene’s “Spencer Bell, Nobody Knows My Name,” a thirteen-minute study of the racist logic that structures The Wizard of Oz (1925). But her project also recovers and celebrates the career of African American actor Spencer Bell, who plays the role of the Cowardly Lion opposite Oliver Hardy’s Tin Man and director Larry Semon’s Scarecrow.12 In order to sustain this dual objective, Greene incorporates a carefully scripted voiceover, combined with written epigraphs citing work by Daniel Bernardi, Sianne Ngai, Fred Moten, Richard Dyer, and James Baldwin among others. This apparatus familiar to text-based scholarship enables her to unpack the theoretical and historical complexities of racist representations in US cinema and to structure an argument that builds across the essay’s various parts. But the project depends for its effects on a strategy that highlights Bell’s performance by estranging it from the original text: she excerpts all 54 scenes in which Bell appears, and re-edits them to play in reverse sequence while also reversing the motion in the footage. It is tricky to convey the effect of this video essay’s poetic register, although I’m tempted to say that it operates akin to the “poetic language” that inspired Trinh T. Minh-ha and which ignites, in Julia Kristeva’s terms, an “unsettling process—when not an outright destruction—of the identity of meaning and speaking subject.”13
The almost delirious promise of audiovisual research for unsettling image-sound-word economies and meaning-making conventions animates a growing body of videographic criticism with which this issue is in conversation. Alongside Greene’s innovations, work by Katie Bird, Alison de Fren, Allain Daigle, Chloé Galibert-Laîné, Catherine Grant, Chiara Grizzaffi, Maria Hoffman, Jaap Kooijman, Evelyn Kreutzer, Barbara Loock, Nicole Morse, Jennifer Proctor, Celia Sainz, Emilija Talijan, and Barbara Zecchi among others reveals a shared commitment to pushing the boundaries of what feminist, queer, decolonial and antiracist videographic work could look like and sound like. Kathleen Loock’s call for academics producing video essays to reflect on “the politics of hearing women’s voices and accented voices,” for instance, foregrounds the important role videographic criticism can play in “theorizing the manifold ways in which accent is performed, read, sounded, exploited, used, and leveraged.”14 Among the most articulate proponents for accented videomaking is Barbara Zecchi, who leverages the intonations of her native Italian, female-identified voice as one way of denaturalizing the presumed authority and objectivity associated with native English, male-identified, speech patterns. As she writes of her video essay included in this issue, “Filling (Feeling) the Archival Void,” the title alone reflects the struggle she faces in articulating and “discern[ing] between the /I/ and /i:/ sounds in English.” Her playful jest at this phonetic quandary, however, is no laughing matter. Her voice as well as her embodied, emotive presence on the screen are intrinsic features of a project that deploys videographic tools to sustain what she calls a “practice-based counterarchive” capable of reversing the ongoing “dispossession” of women’s contributions to media history, specifically Spanish filmmaker Helena Cortesina’s lost 1921 feature film, Flor de España. But how does this work? In a tour-de-force performance predicated on transparency, Zecchi first assembles short sequences from an array of surviving films produced in the same period as well as images of Cortesina and promotional postcards for the missing film; she identifies each of these media objects and shows their arrangement on her editing timeline in a sequence that follows the plot synopsis of Flor de España; she then animates the whole in a stunning revivification of a film that is (technically speaking) no longer extant and yet marvelously, joyously visible.
It is not uncommon to find video essayists employing a personal address while appearing on screen and interacting with their media objects. Recent experiments with desktop documentary and diaristic video formats by Chloé Galibert-Laîné and Katie Bird, for instance, respectively open a space for the female video essayist to dwell on the emotional labor faced by female-identified creatives and filmmakers, including herself.15 Galibert-Laîné’s aptly titled “Watching the Pain of Others,” in which the viewer watches her watching Penny Lane’s “The Pain of Others,” begins as she confesses her disgusted, phobic response to the array of YouTube medical testimonials at stake in Lane’s found footage project; it subsequently transforms to a stance of obsessive curiosity as she examines the documentary’s structure and interacts with its many parts—all in the service of producing an equally “strange object” in the form of her own videographic diary. Katie Bird’s diaristic address meditates instead on vulnerability. In her “Young (Woman) Filmmaker(s),” created for the Teaching Women Filmmakers conference in 2021, Bird remixes scenes of a young woman studying to be a filmmaker in Joanna Hogg’s Souvenir (2019), as well as excerpts from Hogg’s student film, “Caprice,” to explore her own feelings of failure as a female filmmaking student in the past, and as a teacher in the present. “Rather than demonstrate expertise,” she writes, “I use the videographic as a space to work within my own hesitations and uncertainties…to admit to my own messy process of learning (still) as a filmmaker and a student.”
Others use the videographic as a space to pursue analytic goals familiar to film and media studies, albeit with quite different methodologies, materials and affects. When Catherine Grant analyzes a four-second shot in Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank (2009) and repeats the shot multiple times to reflect on its status as a disembodied point-of-view, she is both interpreting its haunting effects and reinforcing, even supplementing, its disquieting quality. That riveting five-minute study, “Un/Contained,” reflects the sparse, expressive style which Grant has perfected, and which elsewhere shapes her textured reflections on cinematic aesthetics and, even, cinematic ontology. Her two-minute-and-forty-three-second “Forte-Piano,” for instance, unfolds an epigraph that calls for understanding film as a “musical medium” as well as a visual medium.16 The complexities of this argument are succinctly, poignantly conveyed as the written text floats across a slightly altered, slower paced, excerpt from Alice Guy-Blaché’s Le Piano Irrésistible (1907). There are certainly other video essays that mount complex theoretical arguments, as with Emilija Talijan’s astounding ten-minute “Mediated Auscultation,” which reconsiders cinematic ontology in relation to the stethoscope, a device that allows for sonic access to the interior sounds of bodies. And a studied approach to the dimensional qualities of sound defines Evelyn Kreutzer’s wonderful “Footsteps,” in which the viewer hears the oeuvre of Alfred Hitchock in a manner that deflates the priority so often granted to the (male) gaze in those films.17 But few video essayists have attained Grant’s deceptively simple authorial style.
I have often understood Grant’s impressive body of videographic work as a reconfiguration of the critical act, one that encourages an intimate, relational exchange between critic and object. This sensibility shimmers through her short study included in this issue, “Falling: 3 x Girls in Uniform,” which employs a multiscreen technique to compare two sets of sequences from three film adaptations of German-Hungarian writer Christa Winsloe’s story, Das Mädchen Manuela (The Child Manuela), about a fourteen-year-old student who falls in love with her female teacher. In keeping with Grant’s signature style, this comparison of the two German film versions (Mädchen in Uniform, 1931 and 1958), and one Mexican remake (Muchachas de uniforme, 1951) includes no verbal or textual indications that would guide the viewer’s interpretation, and each row of images remains distinct from one another. When she tells us this display pattern is “composed primarily according to a curatorial, rather than expressive or argumentative, logic,” she takes seriously the meaning of “care” etymologically embedded in the English word “curatorial.” “Theorized as an affective connective tissue between an inner self and an outer world, care constitutes a feeling with, rather than a feeling for, others,” write Hi’ilei Hobart and Tamara Kneese, a definition that strikes me as resonant with Grant’s capacity to work in sympathy with rather than on her filmic objects.18 In this context, her caring/careful approach means she refuses to employ other artistic techniques, such as the sustained superimposition that shaped her earlier videographic comparison of these films, which might prohibit the viewer from seeing the “precise form” of the excerpted material. This ethical quandary is of especial concern in this instance given the relative obscurity of the Mexican version.
It is tempting to suggest other categories for organizing the heady rush of new videographic work. A prevalent approach to comparative or intertextual analysis, for instance, employs a split or multi-screen technique to sustain the viewer’s look at two (or more) texts that resonate with one another, often (though not always) different versions of the same story or films by the same director. This strategy is at work in Grant’s “Falling: 3 x Girls in Uniform” as well as Maria Hoffman’s delightful “Las Marías de María/ Maria’s Marias” which juxtaposes sequences from The Sound of Music (1965) with that musical’s long overlooked original source, the German Die Trapp-Familie (1956).19 While the aim of Hoffman’s study is to “highlight the intertextual relationship between the Marias,” and thus unsettle the feminine ideal reified through Julie Andrews’ performance, some comparative projects are composed almost entirely in the poetic register, especially when “feelings” form the subject or theme. Quintessential examples include Allain Daigle’s three-minute tribute to queer longing in Carol (2015), Moonlight (2016), and A Single Man (2009), as well as In the Mood for Love (2000), a poetic multi-screen that finds a complement in the fluid, non-linear, visual sculptures that shape Ken Provencher’s six-and-a-half-minute study, “Wong Kar-Wai’s Sleepers.”20 If these more ambiguous, expressive essays generate what might be called a “poetics of feeling,” then such a category also encompasses Celia Sainz’s contribution to this issue, “Climate Rage: Extraction and Dispossession in The Olive Tree.” Designed to source anger for feminist and ecocritical ends, Sainz’s project concentrates on a single film, El Olivo (The Olive Tree, 2016), and couples images of a young girl watching bulldozers destroy her grandfather’s olive tree with her ensuing habit of hair-plucking, a form of self-harm through which she strives to manage her feelings of grief and rage about processes of ecological degradation which also displace her and her family. The inseparable connection between human beings and ecosystems is Sainz’s subject, a theme relayed through a rapid montage that juxtaposes tree roots and hair roots. What emerges is a visceral articulation of the often inchoate and frightening power of anger that is also an energy available for the work of imagining and creating new worlds.
These many videographic projects differ widely in theme, structure, style, and tone. But all immerse their viewers in the sensuousness of linear or synchronous moving image and sound juxtapositions. All place their viewers in a position to actively experience the film or series or media object while also experiencing the researcher’s interaction with those same images and sounds. In this way, audiovisual essays enable an experience unavailable through the written word, and perhaps doubly stymied by the conventions of academic argumentation and the dubious advantage of “critical distance.” It’s worth recalling in this context Annette Kuhn’s lament that spectators’ sensory engagement with films “are virtually ruled out of order in text-centered criticism.” To think with the process of film viewing, the limitations of language become apparent: “Emotion and memory bring into play a category with which film theory—and cultural theory more generally—are ill equipped to deal: experience.” She is stalled by a methodological conundrum: “How can film theory address itself to the emotions [that] films evoke, to the ways in which such emotions enter into people’s fictions of the past, their own past? Any affective response to a film—and indeed recollections of such a response even more so—threatens to elude attempts to explain or intellectualize: not because the latter are somehow inadequate in the face of the former but because each category (memory/feeling as against explanation/analysis) seems to inhabit an entirely distinct register.”21 In contrast, the entirely comparable affective register that audiovisual essays provide enable us to feel their knowledge effects.
I prefer to speak of the feelings (rather than “affect”) generated by videographic work because the word has a vernacular quality that lends itself to a conception of mind and body as integrated. The common directive to “feel your way around,” for instance, suggests that emotional states (feelings) provide a means of moving forward, of figuring out what to do next. But to “feel” your way also refers to the physical act of touching, to the sensory connection of a hand against a wall, for instance, as a means of orienting the body in space. I prefer feelings in other words because that term, to follow Ann Cvetkovich, “is intentionally imprecise, retaining the ambiguity between feelings as embodied sensations and feelings as psychic or cognitive experiences.”22
As anyone who has experienced an entirely new intuition emerging on the editing timeline will attest, the videographic research process, at its best, also prioritizes feelings. But it is difficult for many academics to relinquish their critical hubris or need for cognitive control. This is why the series of editing exercises known as the Middlebury Method reflect the mantra “Make First, Think Later” (renamed by my students, “Feel First, Think Later”). Designed for the annual Scholarship in Sound and Image Workshop at Middlebury College, these exercises encourage participants to resist forming analyses or arguments in advance. They ask participants to adhere only to formal parameters—the first exercise in the series, for instance, requires that each student select exactly 10 video clips of exactly 6 seconds each from a given film or show and rearrange the images in a 60 second sequence along with a single, continuous audio track of one minute in length. Founding co-organizers and Middlebury faculty members Jason Mittell and Christian Keathley put the matter this way: “We maintain that, if criticism is to be offered in multimedia form, you must first learn something about how to effectively use moving images and sound to express yourself, and through certain exercises your media object of study will reveal aspects of itself.”23
In the interest of encouraging a new generation of scholars to “feel their way” through videographic methods, I am especially pleased to include in these pages the final essay and one exploratory exercise that Terri Frances created as a participant in the 2019 workshop. As she explains, she applied to Middlebury after finishing the manuscript for her book Josephine Baker’s Cinematic Prism, hoping to pursue a new research inquiry. But the pace of daily work encouraged her to explore the Baker archive she had amassed during her many years of research, and which she began to see and hear differently in the editing timeline. After uploading available footage of the international celebrity—ranging from recordings of a half-naked Baker dancing in a costume apparently made from bananas at the Folies Bergère in France in the 1920s, through her five film appearances as a leading lady, to extant television and documentary interviews in the 1950s and 1960s—Francis was struck by the way that “Baker’s image, voice, gesture, and affect in motion constitute sensory portals of meaning and knowledge, revealing a myriad of ways that Baker reflects on herself as worker, on herself as spectacle, on herself as celebrity, on herself as legacy.” In the five-minute essay she produced in the workshop’s final week, Baker’s voice dominates the audio track while her image cavorts, struts, gyrates—or sits quietly in contemplation. Designed to present the older Baker as an authoritative spectator of her younger self, “Joséphine Baker Watches Herself” opens ways of perceiving Baker as the “author of her own work” rather than a spectacular projection of white audience’s fantasies.
As you turn to watch the audiovisual essays gathered in this issue, I urge you to find a comfortable seat and grab your headphones. For that matter, open a freely available digital editing program—any software will do—and play with the media objects that most intrigue you, the ones you have been studying. Perhaps then your experience might mirror in some way the feelings of intimacy that struck Francis when sitting “with her [Baker’s] image on the monitor and me alone in front of the screen while her voice filled my head through the earphones—the media room and my classmates faded out and I became her student, in a sense.” In like manner, Zecchi had researched Spanish filmmaker Helena Cortesina for years, gathering interviews, newspaper clippings, posters, and promotional postcards for the missing Flor de España. And yet, she recalls, “[i]t was only when I scanned and uploaded these static, silent, and isolated images into the digital editing software’s timeline that they emerged from obscurity, engaging in dialogue with each other, acquiring a vibrant presence, and even, I would argue, gaining an autonomous life of their own.” These testimonials reflect a videographic research process that Catherine Grant elsewhere calls “material thinking.” She borrows this phrase from artist and theorist Barbara Bolt, who conceives creative practice as a form of understanding that ensues when sensing organs—hands and eyes and ears—interact with sensed materials. Bolt writes: “Words may allow us to articulate and communicate what happens through material thinking, but as a mode of thought, material thinking involves a particular responsiveness to our conjunction with the intelligence of materials and processes in practice.”24 What I like about this description is the way that “materials” and “processes” are granted an “intelligence,” rather than presuming that intelligible thought belongs only to the critic or artist or practitioner. What it suggests is that intuitions happen only in the thick of the editing process; only when adjusting the timeline, clicking the mouse, or brushing the touchpad; only when the material is slowed, blurred, magnified, or juxtaposed with other sounds or images or words. This is the kind of thinking that must be felt.
With thanks to Sarah Ross, who first showed me the way, and to the members of my Queer Feelings & Videographic Criticism seminar at the University of Washington for carrying me through. “Keyframes, anyone?”
Susan Harewood, “Seeking a Cure for Cinephilia,” The Cine-Files, issue 14 (fall 2020), http://www.thecine-files.com/seeking-a-cure-for-cinephilia/.
Matthias Stork and Janet Bergstrom, “Film Studies with High Production Values: An Interview with Janet Bergstrom on Making and Teaching Audiovisual Essays,” Frames Cinema Journal no. 1 (July 2012), http://framescinemajournal.com/article/film-studies-with-high-production-values/.
One notable precedent is Karen Pearlman’s video essay, “Distributed Cognition: An et. al Proposal of Creative Practice, Cognition, and Feminist Film Histories,” Feminist Media Histories 9:2 (Spring 2023), 87–100.
Drew Morton, introduction to “Layers of Paradox in F for Fake,” inaugural issue of [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film and Moving Images Studies, 1.1 (2014). [hereafter, [in]Transition].
As founding co-editor Catherine Grant writes in the third issue of [in]Transition, “as a noun, that term [essay] carries a (not always helpful) association with writing, [but] as a verb it importantly conveys a sense of tentative exploration, of making attempts.” See Catherine Grant, “The Audiovisual Essay: My Favorite Things,” [in]Transition, 1.3 (2014). On the utility of the term “essay” see also Adrian Martin and Cristina Álvarez López, “Introduction to the audio-visual essay: A child of two mothers,” NECSUS (Autumn 2014), https://necsus-ejms.org/introduction-audiovisual-essay-child-two-mothers/.
Cristina Álvarez López, “Double Lives, Second Chances,” Frames Cinema Journal, no. 1 (July 2012), http://framescinemajournal.com/article/double-lives-second-chances/. Catherine Grant translated Álvarez’s written preface from Spanish for inclusion in the inaugural issue of Frames Cinema Journal which Grant guest edited under the organizing title “Film and Moving Image Studies Re-Born Digital?,” http://framescinemajournal.com/?issue=issue1. Approximately half of the 40 essays gathered in this issue are devoted to videographic criticism and provide an important starting point for thinking about the academic history of the form.
I borrow this quote from Catherine Grant’s talk, “How Long is a Piece of String?: On the Practice, Scope and Value of Videographic Film Studies and Criticism,” which she delivered at the “Audiovisual Essay: Practice and Theory Conference” hosted by the Frankfurt Filmmuseum and Goethe University, November 22–23, 2013. A transcription of this presentation is published on The Audiovisual Essay website, https://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/audiovisualessay/frankfurt-papers/catherine-grant/.
Raymond Bellour, “The Unattainable Text,” Screen 16:3 (1975), 26. My invocation of Bellour in this context is indebted to Erlend Lavik’s insightful “The Video Essay: The Future of Academic Film and Television Criticism?,” http://framescinemajournal.com/article/the-video-essay-the-future/, also included in the inaugural special issue of Frames The Cinema Journal, no. 1 (July 2012) edited by Catherine Grant. In turn, Lavik’s invocation of Bellour is indebted to Christian Keathley, “La Caméra Stylo: Notes on Video Criticism and Cinephilia,” The Language and Style of Film Criticism, eds. Alex Clayton & Andrew Klevan (London: Routledge) 2012.
Erlend Lavik, ibid.
The quoted phrase comes from page 10 of the unpublished manuscript, “Scholarship in Sound and Image: A White Paper,” which Christian Keathley and Jason Mittell wrote in 2015 as an overview of the first videographic workshop at Middlebury College, held from June 14–27, 2015. The Whitepaper is available on-line; much of its language and thinking is elaborated in Christian Keathley, Jason Mittell, and Catherine Grant, The Videographic Essay: Practice and Pedagogy, http://videographicessay.org/works/videographic-essay/index.
The quoted phrase comes from Keathley, “La Caméra Stylo,” ibid. To my knowledge, this essay also marks the first use of the terms “poetic” and “explanatory” to name the spectrum of registers at work in videographic criticism.
Liz Greene, “Spencer Bell, Nobody Knows My Name,” Open Screens, 5:1 (2022), https://www.openscreensjournal.com/article/id/8160/. As Greene notes, Bell is miscredited as G. Howe Black in the copy of the film she was able to access, and at the time of this writing in September 2023 he is miscredited on Wikipedia as Curtis McHenry.
Julia Kristeva, Desire in Language, ed. L.S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980), qtd in Trinh T. Minh-ha, Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989), 5.
See Kathleen Loock, “In Search of Academic Legitimacy: The Video Essay Between Disciplines, Online Film Culture, and Traditional Text-Based Scholarship,” The Cine-Files, issue 15 (fall 2020), http://www.thecine-files.com/what-makes-a-video-essay-scholarly/. See also the fine collection edited by Pooja Rangan, Akshya Saxena, Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan and Pavitra Sundar, Thinking with an Accent: Toward a New Object, Method, and Practice (Oakland: University of California Press, 2023).
Chloé Galibert-Laîné, “Watching the Pain of Others,” [in]Transition, 6:3 (2019), http://mediacommons.org/intransition/watching-pain-others. Katie Bird, “Young (Woman) Filmmaker(s),” Open Screens 5:2 (2023), https://www.openscreensjournal.com/article/id/8014/.
“Un/Contained: A Video Essay on Andrea Arnold’s 2009 film Fish Tank” is published in Catherine Grant, “Beyond tautology? Audiovisual Film Criticism,” Film Criticism, 40:1 (2016). “Forte-Piano” is available for viewing on Grant’s Vimeo page, https://vimeo.com/646467813.
Emilija Talijan, “Mediated Auscultation,” [in]Transition, 8.3 (2021) and Evelyn Kreutzer, “Footsteps,” Music, Sound, and the Moving Image, 16:2 (winter 2022), 97–99. Kreutzer’s work represents the first double-blind, peer reviewed, audiovisual essay published in this journal, an initiative that editors Liz Greene, Neepa Majumdar and Ben Winters illuminate in their “Editorial” preface to that same issue, 95–96.
Hi’ilei Julia Kawehipuaakahaopulani Hobart and Tamara Kneese, “Radical Care: Survival Strategies for Uncertain Times,” Social Text 142, 38:1 (March 2020), 2.
See Maria Hoffman, “Las Marías de María/ Maria’s Marias,” Tecmerin: Journal of Audiovisual Essays, no. 10 (2022), https://tecmerin.uc3m.es/project/marias-maria/?.
See respectively Allain Daigle, “Of Love and Longing,” [in]Transition, 5:2 (2018), and Ken Provencher, “Wong Kar-Wai’s Sleepers,” [in]Transition 8:1 (2021).
Annette Kuhn, “Mandy and Possibility,” Screen 33:3 (Fall 1992), 237. I am indebted to Anu Koivunen, whose exceptional overview of the various ways that phenomenology and affect studies has influenced feminist film theory reminded me of Kuhn’s essay. See Anu Koivunen, “The Promise of Touch: Turns to Affect in Feminist Film Theory,” in Feminisms: Diversity, Difference and Multiplicity in Contemporary Film Cultures, eds. Laura Mulvey and Anna Backman Rogers (Amsterdam University Press, 2015), 97–110.
Ann Cvetkovich, Depression: A Public Feeling (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012), 2.
Christian Keathley, Jason Mittell, and Catherine Grant, The Videographic Essay: Practice and Pedagogy, ibid. Keathley developed this approach, in part, while teaching videographic essay production at Middlebury for undergraduates. He writes about some of these early exercises and student responses to them in “Teaching Videographic Film Studies,” The Cine-Files, issue 7 (fall 2014), https://www.thecine-files.com/keathley/.
Barbara Bolt, “The Magic is in Handling,” in Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Inquiry, eds Estelle Barrett and Barbara Bolt (London: I.B. Tauris, 2007), 3. Qtd in Catherine Grant, “The Shudder of a Cinephiliac Idea: Videographic Film Studies Practice as Material Thinking,” Aniki: The Portuguese Journal of the Moving Image, vol. 1, no. 1 (2014), 49–62.