Ruins, Magical Objects, Litter, Synthetics: The Queer Materials of Postwar Avant-Garde Film (2024)

Experimental Film and Queer Materiality

Juan A. Suárez

Published:

2024

Online ISBN:

9780197567029

Print ISBN:

9780197566992

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Experimental Film and Queer Materiality

Juan A. Suárez

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Juan A. Suárez

Juan A. Suárez

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Pages

24–61

  • Published:

    May 2024

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Suárez, Juan A., 'Ruins, Magical Objects, Litter, Synthetics: The Queer Materials of Postwar Avant-Garde Film', Experimental Film and Queer Materiality (2024; online edn, Oxford Academic, 23 May 2024), https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780197566992.003.0002, accessed 10 June 2024.

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Abstract

This chapter tracks the material investments of 1940s and 1950s experimental cinema in order to counter traditional assessments that emphasize its subjective and mythic registers. Postwar experimental film contained an implicit discourse on the objects and materials of modernity; it enlisted quotidian material culture in the depiction of unconventional bodies, desires, and styles of community, and unveiled a queer potential in the modern everyday. Some filmmakers (Jim Davis, Sara Kathryn Arledge or Fernand Léger) did so by engaging, often with satirical intent, new plastics and resins, mechanically produced parts, and industrial designs. Others (Kenneth Anger, Harry Smith, Marie Menken, Ken Jacobs, or Ron Rice) opposed the functionality and transparency of postwar material culture and featured in their work ruins, junk, magical objects, dated fin-de-siécle prints and illustrations, and dime-store trifles to create trans-corporeal ensembles endowed with queer animacy.

Keywords: post-World War II experimental film, postwar material culture, queer aesthetics, Marie Menken, Harry Smith

Subject

Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

Collection: Oxford Scholarship Online

Experimental Film and Queer Materiality. Juan A. Suárez, Oxford University Press. © Oxford University Press 2024. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197566992.003.0002

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