Genèse d’un repas (L. Moullet, 1979), Ananas (A. Gitai, 1984) and The Forgotten Space (N. Burch & A. Sekula, 2010) constitute three attempts of cinematically representing the supply chain, i.e. the global production and distribution networks of commodities, or, in other words, of offering "the world as object lesson". Their common aim of depicting world-system economy through effective representational strategies belongs to a broader reflexive tendency that connects many documentaries dealing with late capitalism and globalisation as a whole, which can be grouped under the category “World Essay Film”. Confirming the epistemological and somehow theoretical need to connect World Cinema and Essay Film, the category provides the opportunity to question the multi-layered dynamics of global economy and cinema from the standpoint of Cultural Geography and Visual Studies. In fact, the World Essay Film's major question pertains to the ways in which the interconnectedness of the world can be made visible, material, spatial – in a word, geographical. At the same time, the category thematises the anxieties related to the invisibility of the late capitalist world, whose flows and networks seem to escape every form of plain representation. The case of the aforementioned films is even more interesting inasmuch as they run into the contradiction of traceability, i.e. the contrast between the will of mapping the flows and the conscience of their utter unrepresentability on a global(ised) scale. The responses chosen by filmmakers balance a reaffirmation of realist aesthetics, on one hand, and a recourse to subjective involvements, on the other. Do the two solutions answer the dilemma of contemporary world's traceability? Is there an ideology of visibility both in the World Essay film and in the World Cinema "approach", a sort of updating of the “monarch-of-all-I-survey” trope in postmodern times?

(2019). The World Essay Film and the Politics of Traceability . Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/209993

The World Essay Film and the Politics of Traceability

Avezzù, Giorgio;
2019

Abstract

Genèse d’un repas (L. Moullet, 1979), Ananas (A. Gitai, 1984) and The Forgotten Space (N. Burch & A. Sekula, 2010) constitute three attempts of cinematically representing the supply chain, i.e. the global production and distribution networks of commodities, or, in other words, of offering "the world as object lesson". Their common aim of depicting world-system economy through effective representational strategies belongs to a broader reflexive tendency that connects many documentaries dealing with late capitalism and globalisation as a whole, which can be grouped under the category “World Essay Film”. Confirming the epistemological and somehow theoretical need to connect World Cinema and Essay Film, the category provides the opportunity to question the multi-layered dynamics of global economy and cinema from the standpoint of Cultural Geography and Visual Studies. In fact, the World Essay Film's major question pertains to the ways in which the interconnectedness of the world can be made visible, material, spatial – in a word, geographical. At the same time, the category thematises the anxieties related to the invisibility of the late capitalist world, whose flows and networks seem to escape every form of plain representation. The case of the aforementioned films is even more interesting inasmuch as they run into the contradiction of traceability, i.e. the contrast between the will of mapping the flows and the conscience of their utter unrepresentability on a global(ised) scale. The responses chosen by filmmakers balance a reaffirmation of realist aesthetics, on one hand, and a recourse to subjective involvements, on the other. Do the two solutions answer the dilemma of contemporary world's traceability? Is there an ideology of visibility both in the World Essay film and in the World Cinema "approach", a sort of updating of the “monarch-of-all-I-survey” trope in postmodern times?
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