This dissertation argues that the everyday is a phenomenon invented along with capitalist modernity and modern technologies of representation, and that cinema is one of the key technologies involved in this process of invention. It engages centrally with an under-examined and much misunderstood idea: Siegfried Kracauer’s theory of everyday life as an “inherent affinity” of cinema. In dialogue with recent reevaluations of Kracauer’s writings, as well as debates in cinema studies on indexicality, my thesis shows the pivotal importance of indexical contingency in his conception of cinema’s affinity with the everyday. Instead of reading indexical contingency in terms of a fixed relation between photochemical image and external referent, this dissertation considers its status as an agent for aesthetic and epistemological discovery. In this regard, cinema discloses the everyday, not in a realist or positivist sense, but in a radically non-anthropocentric guise comprised of habitually unheeded and culturally marginalized phenomena. Such images of the everyday insist on the intractable materiality of things and promote subjective reorientations to familiar objects, actions, and environments.<br/><br/>
Each chapter in this thesis examines a specific film or body of cinema practice that evinces this type of affinity for the everyday: early actualities and local films; second-wave feminism and films concerning women’s domesticity in the 1970s; and contemporary global art cinema. Although each of these chapters deals with a different set of historical discourses and practices, collectively they all engage with films that depict seemingly banal, aesthetically marginalized, and otherwise underrepresented aspects of modern experience. By analyzing cinema practices from different sociohistorical contexts, this dissertation endeavors to show the flexibility and open-endedness of cinema’s affinity for the everyday, without treating it prescriptively as a transhistorical entity.<br/><br/>
Liu, Linda A.,
"Images between Images: Cinematic Inventions of the Everyday"
Modern Culture and Media Theses and Dissertations.
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