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From body to image: mediated presence in contemporary audiovisual media

Grant number: 19/25162-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2020
Effective date (End): September 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Arts - Cinema
Principal researcher:Pedro Maciel Guimarães Junior
Grantee:João Vitor Resende Leal
Home Institution: Instituto de Artes (IA). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


This postdoctoral research project explores different forms of presentation of the human body, and the different modes of its spectatorship in audiovisual media. By going through an expanded notion of cinema, we will analyze audiovisual configurations that allow the filmed body to escape the usual production of "character effects" and to display its dimension of presence, that is, its irreducible and contingent opacity. We will discuss this particular mode of presence in which the mediaticity of the technical image not only preserves, but also increases the impact a filmed body exerts on the viewer's own body. In spite of our understanding that a filmed body can incite various emotions and meanings beyond the concreteness of its real presence (as occurs to an actor who "disappears" inside his character in a narrative film), we will focalize instead on the performativity and plasticity of poses and gestures at the very moment they are converted into an image, investing a in perceptual phenomenon logically prior to the processes of spectatorial interpretation and identification. We will study the consequences of this conversion of the body into image, especially in regards to the alterities of both the filmed subject and its viewer. Through the analysis of films, videos, installations, performances, and videogames, we intend to question the theoretical possibility of a body addressed as pure "audiovisual presence", as well as the modes of spectatorship it would imply. Could the viewer effectively perceive this body-image in the sensory and immediate fashion prescribed by the concept of presence? How could we isolate, describe, and analyze this experience? (AU)

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