In the last decades, the contribution of cognitive neuroscience to film studies has been invested in at least three different lines of research. The first one has to do with film theory and history: the new attention, inspired by cognitive neuroscience, to the viewer’s brain-body, the sensorimotor basis of film cognition, and the forms of embodied simulation elicited by the cinematic experience has stimulated a profound rethinking of a relevant part of the theoretical discourse on cinema, from the very beginning of the twentieth century to the most recent reflections within cognitive film studies and the phenomenology of film. The second line has to do with the intersubjective relationship between the movie—its style, rhythm, characters, and narrative—and the viewer, and it is characterized by an empirical approach that yields very interesting results, useful for rethinking and problematizing our ideas about editing, camera movements, and film reception. The third line concerns a possible experimental approach to the new life of film, focusing on the digital image, the innovative forms of technological mediation, and the inscription of a new film spectatorship within a completely different medial frame. The goal of this special issue is to offer insights across these lines of research.
Vittorio Gallese and Michele Guerra
Andrew J. Ball
The final issue of Screen Bodies Volume 6 offers readers an ideal combination of the diverse kinds of work we feature, from a macroscopic theory that proposes a new discipline, to a set of articles that rigorously examine a small number of artworks with respect to a shared topic, to a piece of curatorial criticism on a recent media arts exhibition. The articles collected here offer a fitting cross section of the topics and media we cover, discussing such varied subjects as prehistoric art, Pink Film, artificial intelligence, and video art.
This image, Challenging Masculine Constructs by Oliver, is part of a photovoice project (see the article by Phillip Joy, Matthew Numer, Sara F. L. Kirk, and Megan Aston, Embracing a New Day: Exploring the Connections of Culture, Masculinities, Bodies, and Health for Gay Men through Photovoice, this issue) that explored the way culture and society shape the beliefs, values, and practices about food and bodies for gay men. Taken by the participant, this image is his way to challenge what he believes are limiting gender ideas for men and how masculine bodies should be dressed and presented to others. He disrupts these social constructs by dressing and presenting his body in ways he believed moved beyond typical masculine notions and by doing so reveals alternative gender expressions and new possibilities of living.
Jonathan A. Allan, Chris Haywood, and Frank G. Karioris
We are delighted to introduce the second issue of volume 2. We are beginning to see a pattern in the various submissions that we receive for the journal. While the editors have backgrounds in Literary Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology, the journal has appealed to the traditional social sciences and has reached out and connected to other disciplines, such as Art, Film Studies, Historical Studies, and Literary Studies. The journal is therefore beginning to see the making sense of gender and sexuality, moving beyond the established and perhaps somewhat hegemonic disciplinary focus on sociology and psychology. It is also important to keep in mind that when we say “social sciences,” we are talking about not only a range of different disciplines, but also heterogeneous approaches within those disciplines. For example, a journal recently advised an author that they would only accept qualitative research papers if the minimal sample was 35. Although the logic and explanation for this number in terms of saturation of themes and rigor of analysis appeals to themes of validity and reliability (although why 35 and not 36 or 34 remains unexplained), the idea of research on gender and sexuality as being framed through the scientific method still endures. This is not to say that we need to abandon approaches that aspire to the scientific method. On the contrary, such approaches are important, often providing systematic mapping and documenting of gendered and sexual processes and practices. By being grounded in the possibilities that the existing epistemologies are able to deliver, they provide an internal logic of certainty and a feeling of confidence. However, the criteria of validity and reliability in themselves limit what can or cannot be captured. This is part of the reason why we welcome submissions from the Arts and Humanities, as much as we do submissions from all other disciplines: we argue that they are able to open up and explore gender and sexuality differently. We are hopeful that we can develop the journal further to facilitate a platform to share a wide range of driven disciplinary perspectives and support a range of epistemologies.
Andrew J. Ball and Aleksandr Rybin
The cover of this issue of Screen Bodies features the digital work “Crypto Queen” by restlessperson (Aleksandr Rybin), which the artist has minted as an NFT. We spoke with Rybin about the subject matter of his work, connections between digital and analog art, and the future of NFTs. His work is available on KnownOrigin.
The Affective Modalities of Media and Technology
Andrew J. Ball
The six essays in this in this issue of Screen Bodies explore what we might call the affective modalities of media, that is, each author examines the potential of emerging and traditional media to transform individual and collective relations through the strategic use of embodied affective experience. Three essays in the issue focus on new and emerging technology. In, “The iAnimal Film Series: Activating Empathy Through Virtual Reality,” Holly Cecil examines the potential power of virtual reality to generate empathy in users. In particular, she looks at the way animal advocacy organizations combine documentary film and virtual reality to communicate the embodied experience of living and dying in a factory farm to provoke feeling and widespread opposition to the industry.
Jonathan A. Allan, Chris Haywood, and Frank G. Karioris
On the cover of this issue is an image taken from the Wellcome Collection. Titled “Dance of death: death and the pedlar”, the image shows a skeletal personification of Death picking through a basket of goods. In the basket are included masks, crosses, a deck of cards, swords, and a variety of other items. Published in the 18th Century, it is based on, and an interpretation of a piece in Basel on the Dance of Death. It is black and white and a print produced via etching a plate and using this to print the image.
From the Editor
Welcome to the first issue of Projections for 2021. After a brief hiatus from printing due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, we are once again publishing online and in print. (A reminder to members of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image [SCSMI]: an online subscription to Projections is now the default inclusion for memberships; members who would prefer to receive hard copies can do so by paying a small surcharge.) I would like to thank the team at Berghahn, especially Janine Latham, for their ongoing support. Thanks too are due to associate editors Aaron Taylor and Tim Smith, along with Katalin Bálint who covered for Tim while he was on leave. Finally, I would like to extend special thanks to our referees in 2020 who willing donated their time to support us during what was a very difficult year for everyone. The names of all referees for 2020 are listed below as an acknowledgment of their service.
Carl Plantinga and Malcolm Turvey
Friends and colleagues of Stephen Prince were shocked and saddened to learn of his death at the age of sixty-five on 30 December 2020 in Blacksburg, Virginia, after a brief illness. Steve was a good friend to many, a prolific scholar with a deep love of cinema, a beloved teacher, a trusted and valued colleague, and a generous mentor to younger scholars.
This interview with Paul Schrader, conducted by Todd Berliner, took place on 19 June 2020 as part of the annual meeting of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (SCSMI). It has been edited and condensed for clarity. We are grateful to Mr. Schrader for his participation and permission to publish this transcription, to Professor Berliner for conducting the interview, and to Professor Carl Plantinga for organizing it.