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Wonders of cinematic abstraction: J. C. Mol and the aesthetic experience of science film
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Cinema Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4706-3300
2006 (English)In: Screen, ISSN 0036-9543, E-ISSN 1460-2474, Vol. 47, no 3, p. 273-289Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article, the example of the Dutch science filmmaker Jan Cornelis Mol (1891-1954) offers the point of departure for a general reflection on the history of experimental cinema and the meanings of aesthetic experience and imagination in documentary representation, film theories, and the avant-garde manifestos of the 1920s. Mol's films illuminate the fascination with space-time abstraction and visualised rhythm that unifies the practice of science film and avant-garde cinema in that era. Mol's work in the 1920s—films classified as amateur, science, educational, industrial, and avant-garde—is a remarkably broad representation of the multiple facets of experimental cinema. In the context of considering Mol's work, this essay also provides a brief reassessment of classical film theory, including the predominant ideas of aesthetic experience and cinema as a time-based medium. Mol's films express a passion for science and nature, which in turn coincides with his strong interest in camera optics and cinematic perception. His focus on the possibilities and limitations of filmic representation corresponds with related conceptions and experiments of visualised rhythm and manipulated views. Rather than suggesting all-embracing notions of ‘perceptual modes in the modern era,’ the discussion here will centre on some highlights within a shifting landscape of visual technology and cinematic practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 47, no 3, p. 273-289
Keywords [en]
cinema and temporality, science film, experimental cinema, J. C. Mol
National Category
Studies on Film
Research subject
Cinema Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-145731DOI: 10.1093/screen/hjl022OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-145731DiVA, id: diva2:1134274
Available from: 2017-08-18 Created: 2017-08-18 Last updated: 2018-05-09

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CiteExportLink to record
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