ENG 4133: Cinematic Cartographies
This is a film production course, but its approach is primarily theoretical rather than technical.
How do we locate ourselves within the new global economic system? What connections can we make between our local environment and the bigger stage of multinational capitalism? These are the big questions that this course hopes to begin to answer by the end of the semester, but it will start more modestly with a series of mappings of more local areas and structures (specific buildings, streets, neighborhoods, etc.) before building to representations of the city itself and then finally tackling the more abstract issues of nation and the world system of global capital. We will be looking at various historical attempts at representing the world on these different scales (mostly in experimental film and video), but we will also look at some of the more ambitious literary and theoretical attempts at such mapping, including Fredric Jameson's work on "cognitive mapping," the Situationists' radical urbanism, contemporary architectural theory, etc.
Practically, the course will focus on aesthetic approaches to this project of cognitive mapping. Students will produce a series of short exercises designed to tackle these progressively larger scales of representation while simultaneously exploring the basics of moving-image work. The course should provide a good way of engaging with Berlin, its geography, its history, and its people while concurrently developing a set of technical and aesthetic strategies. While the primary focus will be on super 8mm filmmaking, students may elect instead to do photo-essays, write fictions, or experiment in non-traditional essay forms instead.