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"No nos representan!: Performative Documentary as Militant Film, the 15M archive" by Steven Marsh

Thu, April 10, 2014 | BEN 2.104

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

The May 15th movement of 2011 has inspired a spate of recent films made by both Spaniards and non-Spaniards, established filmmakers and video activists alike. These films, while sympathetic to the movement, hinge on an apparent paradox: they are cultural representations that purport to offer a critique of political representation. This paper turns on the performative implications of that paradox and seeks to establish an argument regarding “performance” as the key element that links and interrogates political representation, cultural representation, the changes in the technologies of filmmaking, and militant politics.  

Drawing on Derrida's theoretization of the performative this paper argues that the filmic texts analyzed – among them, Libre te quiero (Basilio Martín Patino 2012), Vers Madrid, The Burning Bright (Sylvain George 2012), Banderas falsas and Falsos horizontes (Carlos Serrano Azcona 2012), and Flavio G. Garcia’s “Video Derives”  – constitute political acts in their own right; that is, rather than “representations” they perform their own politics. Accordingly, it posits a relation between formal abstraction (as antinomic of representation) and militant politics.   

While locating these recent productions within a counter-tradition of political cinema of the Spanish state, this paper also seeks to complicate their historical antecedents and their supposedly national affiliation.

Steven Marsh is Associate Professor of Spanish film and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Hispanic & Italian Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is joint editor of Gender and Spanish Cinema (Berg 2004) and the author of Popular Spanish Film Under Franco: Comedy and the Weakening of the State (Palgrave 2006). He is the editor of the forthcoming special issue of the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies on spectrality and Spanish film and he is in the process of finalizing a new monograph provisionally titled Spanish Cinema, A Counterhistory:  Cosmopolitanism, Experimentation, Militancy.


Sponsored by: Department of Spanish and Portuguese

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