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Title: Exposed intimacy : a comparative study of self-representation in selected works by Sophie Calle, Vincent Dieutre, and Mariana Otero
Author: Monteiro, Marlène
ISNI:       0000 0004 5370 8539
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis provides a comparative textual, aesthetic, and thematic analysis of self-representation in a selection of films and installations produced in France by three film-makers whose backgrounds and approach to the subject varies: the installation artist, Sophie Calle, the experimental film-maker, Vincent Dieutre, and the documentary film-maker, Marianne Otero. It examines ways in which their films and installations are characterised by certain recurring themes and aesthetic strategies despite their apparent differences. The first chapter contrasts the traditions of literary and pictorial selfrepresentation (autobiography, diary, self-portrait, and essay) with the blurring of such distinct categories in cinema and the visual arts. In the following chapters, a comparative analysis between the three artists points to a recurring representation of a questioning, split, and scattered Self. As a result, a sense of constant in-between-ness emerges, and the protagonists’ systematic spatial dislocations are not merely geographic and physical but also temporal and mental. The aesthetic constructions aptly reflect their interrogation about their place in the world in that the cinematic balance between motion and stillness aptly underscores the fundamental paradox of simultaneous permanence and change, which characterises identity. The abstraction associated with figurations of loss and absence contrasts with a sense of nowness, which is reinforced by the prominence of the body on screen, which harks back to more concrete issues and calls for a reflection on theories of affect, the Figural, sensation. Most importantly, the bodies’ physicality draws attention to the plasticity of the medium, and the fact that the body on screen is also that of the artist is especially effective. Self-representation is a mise en abyme par excellence and cannot be envisaged outside the film-makers’ aesthetic reflection upon their practice for their modes of self-representation rely heavily on the specificity of the medium used. Finally, it draws on recurrent patterns, which simultaneously reflect the rituals of self-representation and the cinematic process: passage, repetition, and transformation, through figures of intermediality, re-enactment, or intertextuality. Yet, equally important are figurations of the place and limits of the Self in relation to the outer space of the Other; hence the significance of margins, thresholds, liminality, in which the question of gender is also central.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available