Mieke Bal, University of Amsterdam, Holly Fellow (Fall 2016)
“Thinking in Film”
Originally presented on September 13, 2016
Filmmaker Mieke Bal reflects on the way the cinematic mode of making audio-visual moving images lends itself to show, engage, and embody the process of thinking. Films on philosophers tend to be either biopics or heavily voiced-over explanations of the thinker's ideas. In her film Reasonable Doubt (2014-2016), Ball attempts to find cinematic forms that show the thought-process more directly, without the use of voice-over and with character depiction rather than life-story telling.
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Update from Mieke Bal
My memorable time at the Clark, in fall 2016, is already a long time ago. Memorable for the atmosphere conducive to productive work, and for the lovely social side of it, with the lectures, seminars, and dinners at the residence. It was the most productive semester I can remember. When I was there, I was still in the middle of my “Thinking in Film” project, on which I gave my lecture, together with the film I had just finished, Reasonable Doubt, about thinking itself (2016; on Descartes). Meanwhile, I was preparing a large exhibition project for the Munch Museum in Oslo, on Edvard Munch and our video installation Madame B, which came with a book I was speedily writing during the Clark time. (See Emma & Edvard Looking Sideways: Loneliness and the Cinematic. [Oslo: Munch Museum / Brussels: Mercatorfonds; Yale University Press, 2017]). Stimulated by the daily exposure to exhibitions at the Clark, I took a profound pleasure in curating as an activity that I consider as part of artmaking. My connection with the Munch Museum is since then ongoing; I was involved in the installation in the new museum building, which opens next Fall, if all goes well, and wrote some pieces for the new catalogue. The integration of making (cinematic) images and thinking through them to understand (academic) issues has since become a near-obsessive topic for me. I call it image-thinking. The Clark semester experience was part of that. My recently completed video installation Don Quijote: Sad Countenances (2019) in this vein, has already been exhibited at three places, now sadly stopped in its tracks due to the pandemic. And a week before hell broke loose, I spent a week at the Łódź Film School, invited to make an essay film. The subject, ironically: Cassandra’s prediction of death and destruction that no one believed. . .
Next Up in the Archives
June 2: Jeehee Hong, “Framing Affect and Vision in Middle-Period China”
June 9: Molly Warnock, “Simon Hantaï after Pliage”
June 16: Delinda Collier, “Natural Media—Light, Water, and Wind—In Souleymane Cissé's Finye (1982) and Yeelen (1987)”