Sensations of Dysphoria in the Encounter of Failing Bodies: The Cases of Karaoke by Donigan Cumming, Last Days by Gus Van Sant, and Drunk by Gillian Wearing

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The essay examines films and video installations that present the figures of suffering bodies and trigger strong dysphoric sensations through empathy: Karaoke (1998) by Donigan Cumming, Last Days (2005) by Gus Van Sant, and Drunk (2000) by Gillian Wearing. In addition to strong pathemic strategies that intensify the reception of the image, these artworks also contain counter-pathemic elements that distance the viewer from pathos. These long, moving, close examinations of pathemic physical states not only project the viewer into a frozen, insistent, and fascinated gaze at the suffering body and place him or her in a mirrored passive position but also offer an opportunity to move from sensation to sentiment, and then to sensitivity toward and experience of various stages of the empathetic response.

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Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Film and Media Studies

The Journal of "Sapientia" Hungarian University of Transylvania

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