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An Experiment in Cinematic Transmission: Dziga Vertov and the Avant-Garde Reception of Television

Doron Galili, Stockholm University; with Devin Fore, German

February 16, 2022 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · Zoom

Committee for Film Studies

Join the Committee for Film Studies for the first lecture in our spring 2022 series, “On the Boundaries of Cinema,” which features prominent film scholars in conversation with members of the Princeton community. This virtual discussion with Doron Galili, research fellow in the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University, will be moderated by Devin Fore (German), chair of the Committee for Film Studies.

Talk title
“An Experiment in Cinematic Transmission: Dziga Vertov and the Avant-Garde Reception of Television”

This talk, which draws on chapters from my book Seeing by Electricity: The Emergence of Television, 1878-1939, revisits Soviet filmmaker and theorist Dziga Vertov’s early ideas about the prospects of television. As I shall argue, despite his perceived affinity with high-modernist aesthetics of cinematic specificity, Vertov was in fact quick to regard television already in the 1920s as a superior medium that was destined to replace film. In his writings and film practice of the late silent era, including in the famed Man with a Movie Camera , Vertov was seeking to establish television’s appropriate media practices and configurations so it can succeed in fulfilling the revolutionary objectives of his ongoing political-perceptual experiment. In these early engagements with television, Vertov did not only articulate a fantasy of future media that responded to debates about wireless communication in the young Soviet Union, but he also demonstrated how the history of avant-garde cinema was intertwined with that of television at a remarkably early period.

This event is open to the public and will take place online via Zoom. Attendees must register in advance.

The spring 2022 lecture series is sponsored by the Humanities Council’s Committee for Film Studies.

Please email program manager Margo Bresnen at mbresnen@princeton.edu with any questions.

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