Pain and the Cinesthetic Subject in Black Swan

in Screen Bodies
Steen Ledet Christiansen Aalborg University

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Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010) produces a cinesthetic subject that articulates issues of gendered violence but at the same time also opens up space for producing a new subject outside of biopower. Tracing the production of pain as a way of feeling gendered violence rather than simply understanding it, the article also argues that Nina Sawyer’s transformation is an act of subversive becoming. Pain is produced by the film’s formal properties, pulling us along as viewers, and producing new modes of sensing biopower’s cultural techniques and subjugation of bodies. At the same time, pain becomes a path to a new mode of being.

Contributor Notes

Steen Ledet Christiansen is associate professor of English at Aalborg University, Denmark. His research interests include popular visual culture, popular film, and science fiction with a particular emphasis on questions of embodiment and sensation. He is currently working on two book projects, one on the body in Danish cinema and the other on post-cinema. He is the author of Drone Age Cinema: Sensory Assault and Action Films (I.B. Tauris, 2016) and The Dissemination of Science Fiction (EyeCorner Press, 2016).

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Screen Bodies

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology

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