Cinema's Memoro-Politics: Hypnotic Images, Contingent Pasts, Forgetting

Valiaho, Pasi. 2011. Cinema's Memoro-Politics: Hypnotic Images, Contingent Pasts, Forgetting. Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture, 33(3), pp. 322-341. ISSN 1522-5321 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

What makes a medium a medium (as Lorenz Engell phrases it) is the medium’s capacity to disclose its own conditions of production and experience.1 Media are not just tools or devices with predetermined operative functions, but kinds of reflective surfaces—acts of “dédoublement,” or double reflections that, more or less, clearly and vividly, mirror themselves, including the ways in which they come to shape our capacities of becoming cognizant of ourselves and the world around us.

This level of self-reflection is apparent in The Mystery of the Rocks of Kador (Le Mystère des roches de Kador), a unique film on cinema technology, trauma, and memory directed by Léonce Perret in 1912. Kador includes one of the most compelling film-within-a-film scenes in the early history of cinema, which presents an original take on the act of film viewing and what it entails psychologically, as well as on the role that cinema has played in modifying the modern psyche more generally speaking (see figure 1a, 1c–d). While self-reflective scenes where cinema filmed itself, so to speak, revealing its conditions of showing and experience, were not lacking in the early cinema period (quite the contrary), what distinguishes Kador is the particular position it imagines for cinema in psychological treatment and the picture of memory, trauma, and subjectivity it draws.

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Media, Communications and Cultural Studies
Research Office > REF2014



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Date Deposited:

21 Nov 2012 17:27

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:54

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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