Screen and Screenscapes
by Het Nieuwe Instituut

'On the mode of existence of Screen and Screenscapes'. Lecture by Francesco Casetti, 14 November 2019, Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Through a reconsideration of some historical and contemporary screenic dispositives—from the Phantasmagoria to the most recent installations— the lecture discusses what the screen is in its diverse instantiations. On the one hand, we can’t delineate a screen “as such,” as if it were a freestanding device existing independently of its context. A screen is a screen when is part of an assemblage of elements and operations that triggers its action and assigns its functions and tasks. On the other hand, a screen is also part of a physical milieu that it helps to delineate. Its presence transforms a territory into a dedicated space—into a screenscape. Finally, the very fact that the screen is a device which is “grounded” in a territory uncovers its most basic function: it is a tool for the distribution of sensible (Jacques Ranciére). Screens not only display images; they define the modes of access to these images. In this, they are inherently political.

Francesco Casetti
Francesco Casetti is the Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of Humanities and Film and Media Studies at Yale University. He is the author of six books and more than sixty essays, including Eye of the Century: Film, Experience, Modernity (Columbia University Press, 2005), and The Lumière Galaxy: Seven Key words for the Cinema to Come(Columbia University Press, 2015). His current research focuses on early film theory, especially the cinephobic stances in the first half of the 20th Century; and on a reconsideration of silver screen that underlines its environmental aspects and the ways in which it becomes a component of our current “mediascapes.”
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