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  • 1.
    Jonathan, Rozenkrantz
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, Cinema Studies.
    Marta, Mund
    Södertörns högskola, Sverige.
    Alltid redan en aktivitet: åskådarskap och estetiska lärprocesser2014In: Konst och lärande: essäer om estetiska lärprocesser / [ed] Anders Burman, Huddinge: Södertörns högskola , 2014, p. 405-425Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 2.
    Rozenkrantz, Jonathan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
    Aesthetics of Remanence: Analogue Video in the Age of Retrospectacle2017Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper proposes a new conceptual frame for the study of analogue video aesthetics in digital culture. Updating Guy Debord’s notion of a “society of the spectacle” (1994), it will argue that we have entered an age of retrospectacle whose dominant signifier is an aesthetics of “remanence”—a term that fuses the magnetic materiality of analogue video with the cultural situation in which it finds itself today.

    Today, a variety of digital media objects have rendered the “VHS style” look ubiquitous. As retro fixation fixates the image of remanence decay in digital code, it raises important questions about the tension between historical authenticity and artifice. Comparing three very different works produced through processes of analogue-digital remediation, the paper will show how the aesthetics of remanence constitutes a shared visual variable of digital culture, whose relation to the concept of authenticity remains highly heterogeneous and irreducible to simulacra.

    Mark Leckey’s video art work “Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore” (1999) is a “disarmingly sincere” (Higgins 2015) treatment of technostalgia; rapper Joey Bada$$’s music video “Fromdatomb$” (David M. Helman, 2012) manifests hip hop’s credo of keepin’ it realby adding traces of analogue grain to its  digital texture; and the ‘80s action pastiche Kung Fury (David Sandberg, 2015) playfully undermines both historical authenticity and medium specificity through its indiscriminate alloy of analogue and digital problems.

  • 3.
    Rozenkrantz, Jonathan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
    Analogue Video in the Age of Retrospectacle: Aesthetics, Technology, Subculture2016In: Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, ISSN 2009-4078, no 12, p. 39-58Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores the various manifestations of analogue video in digital culture. Introducing the framing concept of an aesthetics of remanence, it argues that the “society of the spectacle” (Debord) has entered an age of retrospectacle, a dominant signifier of which is the remediation and/or simulation of analogue videography. The concept of remanence connects the material conditions of magnetic tape with analogue video’s aesthetic expressions, and the cultural situation in which analogue video finds itself today. By looking at three different cases related to retro gaming, contemporary hip hop, and “old skool” rave, the article shows how the aesthetics of remanence remains highly susceptible to subcultural sensibilities—while it also functions as their shared visual variable. The short film Kung Fury (David Sandberg, 2015) is a playfully post-ironic recuperation of failed media technologies. The music video “Fromdatomb$” (David M. Helman, 2012) is a complex exploration of the idea(l) of the historical real. And the work of video art Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (Mark Leckey, 1999) is a creative treatment of nostalgia which invites us to reconsider the medical origins of the term.

  • 4.
    Rozenkrantz, Jonathan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
    Autopticon: An Archaeology of Video as Psychiatric Apparatus1953-19702018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In 1953, the staff at Agnews State Hospital in California discovered that the installation of TV sets had rendered their mental patients more docile (Tucker et. al.). Incidentally, the same year Houston’s jail installed North America’s reportedly first CCTV system for prison surveillance (BusinessWeek). This paper traces the parallel emergence of video surveillance and video therapy between 1953 and 1970, and the technical transformations that both underwent with the coming of videotape. It shows how the institutional overlaps between the two gave rise to a movement of “video self-confrontation” practitioners and proponents, culminating with the 1970 publication of the anthology Videotape Techniques in Psychiatric Training and Treatment (edited by Milton M. Berger). A forgotten psychiatric avant-garde which thrived on two remarkable postulates: that the invention of video is as important for psychiatry as the microscope was for biology and that it is a “gift” allowing us to see ourselves as others see us.

     

    Foucault’s failure to address the relation between mass media and modern surveillance inspired Thomas Mathiesen to introduce synopticism as a supplementary concept to panopticism. He argued that the panoptic principle of the few seeing the many was paralleled by mass media as an “enormously extensive system enabling the many to see and contemplate the few”. This paper argues that Mathiesen himself overlooked a third operative function – seeing oneself – conditioned by the media’s acquired capacity to record and instantly replay moving images. The paper thus suggests that the historical practice of video self-confrontation, premised on particular configurations of patient(s), therapist(s), and video devices, can be understood as an autoptic apparatus – one that draws on but reconfigures both panoptic and synoptic functions.

  • 5.
    Rozenkrantz, Jonathan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies, Cinema Studies.
    (Dis)figurations of The fourth kind: the new materialism of a video-film hybrid2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aesthetic characteristics and cultural connotations of video have informed cinema ever since video’s emergence. Parallel to the development of video art, filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Haneke and Atom Egoyan have engaged themselves creatively with the electronic medium – often in (inter)medial constellations with film. This paper takes a closer look at one particular video-film hybrid. A medially complex, split-screen, science-fiction pseudo-documentary – with one part of the image constituting faux-found footage and the other an admitted re-enactment – The Fourth Kind (Olatunde Osunsanmi, 2009) employs the aesthetic strategy of representing an alien entity by way of its violent effect upon both human bodies and the electromagnetic image itself. With this notion of figuration qua video disturbance, made possible by the fluid pictoriality of the electromagnetic image, the border between the bodies in and the body of the image breaks down.

    Taking up on Gilles Deleuze’s claim that the task of art is to render invisible forces visible, the paper shows how video in The Fourth Kind thus functions according to a logic similar to the one developed by Deleuze in relation to Francis Bacon’s painting. Insofar as this logic manifests the dynamics of (dis)figuration, whereby a direct bond between the materiality of the medium and the corporeality of the figure(s) is generated, The Fourth Kind not only constitutes a philosophically fruitful example of a video-film constellation, but suggests a particular intermedial relation between video and painting as well. Ultimately, it manifests a New Materialist critique of representation, inasmuch as it is the medium’s increasing resistance to fulfilling its figurative function which produces its affective impact – the failure to record a resemblance of the figure(s) allowing the medium to show its true (sur)face.

  • 6.
    Rozenkrantz, Jonathan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
    Expanded epistemologies: Animation meets live action in contemporary Swedish documentary film2016In: Journal of Scandinavian Cinema, ISSN 2042-7891, E-ISSN 2042-7905, Vol. 6, no 2, p. 189-197Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This short subject studies configurations of animation and live action in contemporary Swedish documentary film. While digitization has challenged the indexical images verifying function, animation has been elevated to the level of legitimate document. The epistemological boundaries of documentary film have consequently been expanded, and now include the inner worlds of social subjects. In Gomd (Hidden) (Heilborn and Aronowitsch, 2002), animation and live action are repeatedly juxtaposed in order to visualize a refugee childs experienced Otherness. In Still Born (Sandzen, 2014), ultrasound footage is fused with digital film and animation to manifest the merging perspectives of a mourning mother and her aborted child.

  • 7.
    Rozenkrantz, Jonathan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
    Injecting art into everyday life: the curious case of Hassel - the private investigators2015In: Daughters of Chaos: Practice, Discipline, A Life: 8th International Deleuze Studies Conference Stockholm 2015, 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this paper is to engage with the problem of repetition in commodity culture, or what could be defined as "the constant reproduction of the same thing" (Adorno and Horkheimer 1979). From the Frankfurt School's critique of the "culture industry" to the postmodern nihilism of Jean Baudrillard, a discourse of cultural pessimism develops according to which the commodification of the new promises that nothing changes, we enter an era of "pseudo-cyclical time" (Debord 1983) to finally pass into a post-historical hyper-real "where things are being replayed ad infinitum" (Baudrillard 2007). Deleuze is hardly blind to the problem that the cultural pessimists formulate, but his stance is radically different towards it: he advances the thesis that difference (in) itself is life's (un)founding principle, and that the constant reproduction of the same thing is a mere surface effect. The notion of repetition is radically reformulated, becoming the profound process through which difference is made, and art is granted a crucial differentiating function. Subsequently, "there is no other aesthetic problem than that of the insertion of art into everyday life. The more our daily life appears standardised, stereotyped and subject to an accelerated reproduction of objects of consumption, the more art must be injected into it" (Deleuze 2004).

    With the Wallander franchise reaching its 50th sequel and Beck about to appear in his 40th film, the "Swedish detective wonder" seems to be the realisation of the pessimists’ nightmare: Scandinavian crime fiction is a culture industry, if there ever was one. Acknowledging this (post)modern predicament, the paper will nevertheless take up on Deleuze's suggestion and investigate a curious case within this phenomenon: Måns Månssons highly idiosyncratic Hassel – The Private Investigators (2012). A roguish re-imagination of one of Swedish police fiction's most classical franchises, the film constitutes an artistic intervention into the seemingly unbreakable wave of Scandinavian crime fiction films – a covert work of conceptual art injected right into the channels of commercial distribution. Hassel is a film about replay ad infinitum, a "counter-actualisation" (Nilsson 2012) of the genre's action-driven, resolution-oriented logic. It follows a group of private investigators engaging in the endless re-enactment of historical events in order to solve the 30-year-old Palme murder. The film is packed with postmodern puns concerning the simulacral quality of their investigation and would thus seem to corroborate the pessimism of Baudrillard. The paper will nevertheless show how the aesthetic strategies taken by the filmmaker, including the choice to shoot the film on the obsolescent medium of S-VHS, push the film's mechanical repetitions to an unbearable point at which it breaks into the simultaneous expression of a seemingly insoluble problem and a potential solution to the very problem that it expresses.

  • 8.
    Rozenkrantz, Jonathan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
    Playing with history: Be kind rewind and the dubious pleasure of historical revisionism2015In: Play/Perform/Participate: Conference Guide, 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Be Kind Rewind (2008), Michel Gondry's post-cinematic celebration of VHS aesthetics and culture, has been hailed as a "glowing valentine to creativity in opposition to commerce" (Gonsalves 2009) with a "fairytale quality to it, a heart-warming sense of make-believe" (Kerr 2009). Taking analog video's sensitive storage quality as its starting point, the film revolves around the accidental de-magnetization of a whole video rental store, and the subsequent attempts to recreate this lost archive of film history by way of no-budget shot-on-video remakes.

    The purpose of this paper is to examine the ambiguous implications of the attitude towards (film) history that the film proposes, in which the celebration of creativity coincides with an apology for complete historical revisionism. Particular focus will be given to the original film-within-the film, a silent black and white pseudo-documentary around which the portrayed community is gathered, both as participants and as spectators, in a dialectics of playful self-delusion that constitutes the ideological core of the film.

    While structuralist theorists like Jean-Louis Comolli (1980) have criticized the deluding function of the cinematic "apparatus", a much more affirmative approach can be found in thinkers like Jacques Rancière and Gilles Deleuze. Rancière (2009) argues that documentary film, as a form of memory-making, is best defined as "myth", while Deleuze (1989) questions not only "myth" as a creative category, but "truth" itself, arguing that political documentary film must engage not in "the myth of a past people, but the story-telling of a people to come." While Be Kind Rewind seems to manifest Deleuze's destructive-creative approach to historiography (here manifested in the intermedial interplay between VHS and film), the paper will argue that it also highlights how an uncritical affirmation of "the powers of the false" (Deleuze 1989) remain haunted by the ghost of an "anything goes", a nihilist shadow latent in the affirmation of historical revisionism and the community that it potentially produces.

  • 9.
    Rozenkrantz, Jonathan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
    Re-negotiating the real: documentary animation and its indexical other(s)2015In: The real and the intermedial, 2015, p. 46-47Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    While the "real" in the documentary film is irreducible to the indexical quality of its image, it has also been claimed that "one crucial parameter of persuasion in documentary could not occur were it not for the veridical stamp of documentary's indexical sign-status" (Renov 1993). The purpose of this paper is to investigate how a number of animated documentaries face up to this challenge, engaging in a re-negotiation of the documentary "real" by setting up intricate intermedial relations between animation and its indexical other(s). The paper will argue that the insertion of photographic and videographic "verifiers" in films as historically disparate as The Sinking of the Lusitania (Winsor McCay, 1918) and Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman, 2009) point towards the persistence of the indexical as a prerequisite for a film's documentary claim. Taking a closer look at two Swedish examples, Hidden (Gömd, Hanna Heilborn and David Aronowitsch, 2002) and Tussilago (Jonas Odell, 2010), the paper will nevertheless also show how intermedial imbrications of animated and non-animated images can disassociate the indexical image from its verifying function, while at the same time relocating the indexical itself from the image to the sound.

  • 10. Rozenkrantz, Jonathan
    Technostalgic bodies: the paradox of "old skool rave" videos2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this paper is to rethink video artist Mark Leckey’s work Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999) in the light of the recent phenomenon of decades-old “old skool rave” videos posted, viewed and commented on, on YouTube. Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore fuses fragments of found footage from the 1970s Northern Soul movement to the early days of Acid House parties. Manipulating the speed of the decayed VHS tapes that constitute the source material, and creating a disjunction between the jerky images and the intrinsically disjointed sound, the video effectively evokes the malfunctioning memories of a “technostalgic” body – deeply affected by the audiovisual material yet unable to reproduce the original event.

    Charlotte Higgins (2015) suggests that Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore “anticipated the YouTube generation’s easy manipulation of digital sources. It activated a painful yearning for a recent past just out of reach”. Posted on YouTube by the artist himself, Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore can now also be said to constitute a part of a virtual community whose nostalgic discourse seems to clash with the very logic of the source material itself. As Simon Reynolds (2011) points out, rave culture’s ecstatic imperative of dancing into the future contradicts the nostalgic tendency that it developed nonetheless. As such, it is a powerful example of our culture’s obsession with its immediate past. In addition to discussing the videos, this paper will address the discursive laments for a “superior past” that dominate the YouTube comments, suggesting that this “retro” culture carries very specific corporeal implications.

    Originally defined as a pathological condition, nostalgia has been reframed as a cultural geist. For Jean Baudrillard (2010), nostalgia for the real was precisely what fuelled its disappearance, while Fredric Jameson (1991) saw it as an affectless and depersonalised style. Digitisation has generated a specific “analog nostalgia” (Marks 2002) that has become an intrinsic component of popular culture. Laura U. Marks suggests that it expresses a “longing for analog physicality.” Paradoxically, nostalgia for bodily experience produced through the digital remediation of “old skool rave” videos is precisely what keeps the technostalgic viewer immobile in front of the screen. Engaging with these different definitions of nostalgia, the paper will thus suggest that Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore and the “old skool rave” videos produce technostalgic bodies that are stuck somewhere between a virtual Saint Vitus Dance and a veritable paralysis suggestive of a more general tendency of our culture and age.

  • 11.
    Rozenkrantz, Jonathan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
    The Banality of Benevolence: Archival Ambiguities in Pablo Larraín's No2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Pablo Larraín’s No (2012) is a semi-fictional account of the production process behind the 1988 television campaign that helped defeating Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. An estimated 30% of the film consists of archival footage, while the rest is shot on the obsolete analogue video format U-matic in order to match the archival materials. In her 2014 book The Archive Effect: Found Footage and the Audiovisual Experience of History, Jamie Baron suggests that the insertion of archival images into films is best understood from the point of view of their effect. Archival documents “exist as ‘archival’ only insofar as the viewer […] perceives certain documents within [a] film as coming from another, previous – and primary – context of use”. It follows that any confusion regarding these temporal relations also condition the archival documents’ historiographic function. Through videographic means, No’s archive effect is almost entirely and intentionally neutralised. Ideally, the audience loses the capacity to distinguish between the two original temporalities, so that “the archive becomes fiction and what is fiction becomes archive” (Larraín). This paper discusses the technological conditions, conceptual implications, and critical reactions to Larraín’s strategy. Drawing on Jean Baudrillard’s critique of historical film, the paper concludes that No’s playful neutralisation of the archive effect finally effects what Baudrillard calls the system’s “nihilism of neutralisation”, that is to say its “power to pour everything, including what denies it, into indifference.”

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