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Abstract

The relation between war and cinema, propaganda and cinema is a most intriguing area, located at the intersection of media studies, history and film aesthetics. A truly tragic moment in human history, the First World War was also the first to be fought before film cameras. And while in the field, airborne reconnaissance became cinematic (Virilio), domestic propaganda occupied the screen of the newly emergent national cinemas, only to see its lucid message challenged and even subverted by the fast-evolving language of cinema. Part one of this paper looks at three non-fiction films, released in 1916: Battle of Somme, With Our Heroes at the Somme (Bei unseren Helden an der Somme) and Battle of Somme (La Bataille de la Somme), as paradigmatic propaganda takes on the eponymous historical battle from British, German and French points of view. Part two analyses two war-time Hollywood melodramas, David Wark Griffith’s Hearts of the World (1918) and Allen Holubar’s The Heart of Humanity (1919), and explains the longevity of the former with the powerful “text effect” of the authentic wartime footage included. Thus, while these WWI propaganda works do validate Virilio’s ideas of the integral connections between technology, war and cinema, and between cinema and propaganda, they also herald the emancipation of post-WWI film language.

Abstract

The paper focuses on three figures connected with the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. As the conflict is not a part of the Czech national narrative, it does not present strong personal stories understandable to a broader audience or forming a part of historical awareness of the public. Numerous figures are to be found in the space between the historical reality, myth, tradition and a deliberate literary fiction, but none of them is a part of a universal consensus of understanding – the ability to be placed in time and space. The article focuses on the three figures of the topic of the Prussian-Austrian war that could help to shed some light on several causes of the phenomenon described.

Abstract

The article deals with the book collection of Jiří Ribay, the structure of his ownership notes (on the title page in the form of ‘Jiřího Ribay’, the year of purchase and the price), extant book catalogues from 1800 and 1803, and the copies preserved in institutional libraries in Europe. It has been shown on specific examples how Ribay acquired his books and how he sold some of the books still in his lifetime (e.g. to Mikuláš Jankovič in 1807). Research into archival documents has revealed some new information on how the former National and University Library in Prague acquired a part of Ribay’s books in 1857. The end of the paper outlines the potential use of a complete edition and a new treatment of Ribay’s catalogues for the history of book culture, retrospective bibliography and literary history.

Abstract

The article deals with the personal library of Václav Černý. Attention is first drawn to the portrait of Václav Černý as a reader, and the creation and augmentation of his collection (purchases, donations from friends and authors-colleagues, review copies). The paper presents Černý’s family background, studies at secondary grammar schools in Náchod and Dijon, his work abroad as well as at university, and his friendship with numerous colleagues-authors. The next part of the article outlines Černý’s personal library, the general characteristics of the collection, Černý’s methods of book acquisition, his work with books and evaluation of literature. The part of the library containing literature on existentialism is described in more detail. It deals with the predecessors of existentialism as well as Czech and foreign representatives of this philosophical movement. Not even libraries that Černý visited during his life are omitted.

Abstract

This study proposes a twofold analysis: the presumable strategies of the December 1989 events in Romania and their complexity as it appears in later filmic re-enactments. These re-enactments as theatrical “translations” offer a rhetorical reading of past events, and can also be seen as practices of memories inscribed in the body. The events are interpreted in the duality of the archival image and the acoustic/gestural memory, where the latter is understood as an atmospheric (bodily) memory. The disorientation or disinformation caused by the technical conditions, the circulation or lack of images, the alternating silences and chanting on the street make the past events incomprehensible and medially dissonant.

Abstract

The paper investigates two possible critical arguments following the pictorial turn. The first is formulated within ocularcentrism, the dominance of sight, and starts with the right to visibility as a general principle that governs today’s digital culture but gets twisted in special cases like the Auschwitz photos of the Shoa, the Abu Ghraib prison videos, or recently the website called Yolocaust. The second is conceived outside the visual culture and is meant to vindicate the other senses vis-à-vis the eyes. However, the argument is truncated here only to highlight the boomerang effect of the other senses: haptic vision. It is the case of visual perception when (a) there is a lack of things to see and (b) indeterminate synaesthesia: when vision intensifies the other senses in the embodied viewer. The two arguments converge upon a dialectic of the visible and the imaginable, which is formulated here as two paradoxes that the discussed examples transcend. By enforcing visibility at all costs where there is hardly anything recognizable to see, they lead to two diverging results. On the one hand, the meaning of “image” is extended toward the unimaginable, the traumatic experience, on the other hand, it is extended toward the invisible, the encounter with the radical Other.

Abstract

Active since 1980, the multidisciplinary Slovenian art collective Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK, New Slovenian Art) and its branches, the fine arts group IRWIN, industrial music band Laibach and theatre troupe Gledališče Sester Scipion Nasice (The Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre), have seen their works widely and often controversially discussed, most often in the context of subversion and over affirmation of totalitarian imagery, as well as the contemporary nation-state and nationalism. Gender, as another often essentialist category, has not figured prominently in the analysis of NSK’s output and impact. This paper proposes some areas (participation, representation) for investigation, as well as points of departure for a theoretical framework starting with key texts on gender by Judith Butler and R. W. Connell to analyse the moving images, performing and fine art produced within NSK in terms of the role gender plays therein, as well as its relationship to the construction of other defining categories such as nation and class.

Abstract

This work sets off to offer a polemical response to postcolonialist theories advanced by Homi Bhabha in his seminal work The Location of Culture, particularly to Bhabha’s famous notions of ambivalence and mimicry purportedly used as methods of struggle against colonialism. Reading Béla Tarr’s film Werckmeister Harmonies (Werckmeister harmóniák, 2000) as an allegory for the colonization of a former colonial agent in the guise of an ambiguously framed post-imperial Hungary now on the eve of Soviet invasion, I turn Bhabha’s notions on their heads, and thus de-stereotype the simplistic hierarchy that sees the colonial agent dominate the colonized subject in a top-down approach. To achieve this, I bring into play Kuan-Hsing Chen’s notion of deimperialization as well as the psychoanalysis of Octave Mannoni in order to show that rather than being a straightforward misreading of the Other by an uninformed Self, the relationship between colonized and colonizer appears more like a failed attempt at acquiring the most basic knowledge of the psychological functioning of the Self on both sides of the colonized/colonizer divide.

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Abstract

The core of the Višňová castle library was formed already in the 17th century, probably in Paderborn. Afew volumes come from the property of the archbishop of Cologne, Ferdinand August von Spiegel (1774–1835), but most of the items were collected by his brother Franz Wilhelm (1752–1815), a minister of the Electorate of Cologne, chief construction officer and the president of the Academic Council in Cologne. A significant group is formed by philosophical works: Franz Wilhelm’s collection comprised works by J. G. Herder, I. Kant, M. Mendelsohn as well as H. de Saint-Simon and J. von Sonnenfels. Another group consisted of historical works, e.g. by E. Gibbon; likewise his interest in the history of Christianity is noticeable. The library contains a total of more than 6,200 volumes, including 40 manuscripts, 3 incunabula and 15 printed books from 16th century; more than a half of the collection is formed by early printed books until the end of the 18th century. The other volumes come from the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Volumes from the 17th century include especially Latin printed books on law, and one can perceive interest in collecting books on philosophy. There are many publications devoted to Westphalia; in addition, the library contains a number of binder’s volumes of legal dissertations from the end of the 17th century and the entire 18th century published in diverse German university towns. Further disciplines widely represented in the library are economics and especially agriculture, with the publications coming from the 18th and 19th centuries.