film, photography and drama
doctoral research

Figures of Dissent: Cinema of Politics, Politics of Cinema

  • Onderzoekers: Stoffel Debuysere
  • Promotoren: An van Dienderen (School of Arts), Steven Jacobs (UGent Vakgroep Kunst-, Muziek- en Theaterwetenschappen), Daniël Biltereyst (UGent Vakgroep Communicatiewetenschappen)

2012 — 2017

The so-called "political turn" that has recently emerged throughout the visual arts has certainly led to a resurgence of interest in the notion of "political" art. However, there seems to be hardly any interest in the history and the discourse of cinema. These fields hold nonetheless a wealth of critical insights and historical sources of inspiration, which, in the light of contemporary developments in arts, society and visual culture, can lead to valuable insights. From Jean Vigo's "documentary social" to Edouard de Laurot's "cinéma engagé", from Octavio Getino's "cine militant" to Santiago Alvarez '"cinema-urgente", from Gilles Deleuze's ideas about a "cinéma politique moderne" to Serge Daney's reflections on "l'espace politique ": the chronicles of the past century are full of combative and critical perspectives on the political potential of film art. To what extent do these ideas still resonate in the dawn of the 21st century? This research probes for answers by exploring the work of three leading figures from the cine-philosophical milieu: Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rancière and Serge Daney, not coincidently a trio that has strong ties with the "cinephile" school of thought, related to the journal Cahiers du Cinema. Over the past fifty years each of them, from their own background, has left a indelible mark on cinematic-political thinking. In this research project, their notions will not only serve as a base for historical exploration, but also as a foundation and a touchstone for reflections on contemporary developments. The artistic practice in this research consist of the curating of various programs. Under this practice, we understand the researching and probing of the tensions between then and now, discourse and practice, thinking and making. Through the creation of linkages between different times, visions, themes and oeuvres, the potential of a current "political" cinema is explored. The central question is how the political subject of a cinematographic work - related to issues of injustice, oppression and conflict - can today relate to the politics of such creation, in sound and image, with regards to aesthetics and ethics.


Project partners:

Kunstencentrum Kunst en media
Auguste Orts
Reflectieplatform relatie media - politiek
International Agency For the Artists' Moving Image
International Platform For experiments in Sound and Vision, Glasgow

Research projects