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Cluster for Cinema, Affect, Place

Cluster for Cinema, Affect and Place

The Cluster for Cinema, Affect, Place
Research at UCA

Our research Cluster for Cinema/Affect/Place (CCAP) supports, develops and publicises research-led film and moving image work.

Practitioners in the cluster are using filmmaking is a tool for attention, investigation and imagination, responding to marginalised and complex narratives and challenging dominant ones.

Founded by Dr Stephen Connolly, the cluster is based in our School of Film, Media and Performing Arts and aims to foster links with other academic institutions, production funding and distribution bodies, and with audiences interested in engaging, critical and interdisciplinary filmmaking.

The cluster is currently open to new members.

Our Projects

The Empire Flying Boat was a short-lived air service that offered fast (for the time) passenger travel and mail services from Great Britain to Africa, the Far East, and Australia in the 1930s and 40s. To its 48 weekly passengers, it offered an opportunity for mobility that was ahead of its time, yet barely comparable to contemporary travel options. As the Covid-19 pandemic changes global mobility and aviation in ways yet to unfold, Dr Stephen Connolly's “Flying Boat” compares our past and present expectations around global travel, and considers how they may need to evolve.

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This film by Simon Aeppli explores the story of how a clandestine military organisation, Information Policy Unit, coordinated fake satanic rituals throughout Northern Ireland during the early 1970s to create terror and confusion across the province. The ‘Satanic Panic’ scare is one of the strangest tactics carried out by the British Military and marks the emergence of a new way of working with intelligence as a weapon to combat terrorism.

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Working closely with the scare's main architect, Colin Wallace, the film investigates the intersection between folk history and unorthodox military warfare in Northern Ireland.

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This installation by Dr Jeremiah Ambrose used a digital representation of an art replica as an interface for emergent filmic experience. The act of looking at a virtual version of the replica spatially shifts the user, creating connections between their gaze and the space that surrounds them.

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This personal look through a family album began an examination of what images can say and how they might narrate a past that may be obscured or unknown. There are layers to the work in a considering the patterns of life and work across generations, and the circumstances of making work during lockdown.

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In this short film Maren Hahnfeld reflects the perspectives of members of the small, remote community of Eden on the high desert of Southern Idaho, and explores her own position as the artist and researcher, an outsider to the community.

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This hybrid documentary film tells the story of a Roma woman buried alive in a Polish forest during World War Two. Her ghost rises from its grave to reveal the Roma people's history of persecution, stretching from the 1940s to the present day.

The film interweaves fantastical re-imaginings of buried secrets with a ghostly narration and direct-to-camera testimonies from survivors and witnesses of historic and contemporary crimes against the Roma in Poland and Hungary.

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Our Events

Situated at the intersection of militant and expanded film practice, Mario Hamad's audio-visual experiments are conceived as forms of resistance against what he identifies to be the narrative component of the Assad regime’s campaign of genocide in Syria. Manifested through intermedial processes and exhibited in specific spatial environments, the films induce their audience to experience levels of embodied awareness via a variety of strategies that range from the intimate, to the unsettling, to the participatory. Underpinning this series is Mario's concept of wujoud (Arabic وجود trans: presence/existence/being) which takes on an inherently political significance in the context of genocide in Syria, emerging as a praxis and ethos of resistance embodied in the very being of a Syrian opposition. Wujoud, in these films, is enacted by the co-authored presence of Syrian civil activists—and an experiencer’s engagement with these very individuals.

This talk explores Michelangelo Antonioni’s ‘iconic’ films of the 1960s from the perspective of sound. This may seem counterintuitive, since these films tend to be appreciated for their images and have indeed often been seen, even by the director himself, to give more room to ‘silence’. Dialogue becomes sparser and extra-diegetic musical soundtrack is all but eliminated. But, as I will discuss, Antonioni’s ostensibly quieter films of the 1960s – and, perhaps, exemplarily, La notte (1961) – have crucial affinities with contemporaneous transformations in music itself, where the diffusion of new mass media technologies, such as audiotape and television, acted as powerful catalysts for experimentation with noise and attention to soundscape. In particular, I trace here a connection with the experimental practices of John Cage, musique concrète, and composers including Luciano Berio, Bruno Maderna and Luigi Nono associated with RAI Studio di fonologia musicale.

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(Quietly) Noisy Images - Matilde Nardelli
Time: Jan 20, 2022 04:00 PM London

Nazi horror, a corpus of horror films containing depictions of Nazis, has received relatively little critical attention despite its long cinematic history. From Revenge of the Zombies (Steve Sekely, 1943), to the recent (The Devil’s Rock, Paul Campion, 2011), the longevity of the Nazi horror film is significant and includes a marked resurgence in the 21st century.

This talk understands Nazi horror not as a historically and geographically confined cycle, but a prolific and persistent subgenre. In doing so it aims to recognise the depth and breadth of this corpus of films and to situate each in their respective national contexts, the conclusion of which is that the Nazi monster has much to say about the cultures it emerges from.

Kuc’s What We Shared also forges connections between the personal and the political, but the director’s area of interest is, from the outset, considerably broader. Intrigued by the disputed state of Abkhazia, Kuc’s film seeks to explore its transformation from a sunkissed Soviet holiday resort on the Black Sea to a derelict shell of its former glory after the 1992-3 War in Abkhazia. “I was sitting in a café with friends opposite the beach,” explains one woman in voiceover, “when we saw a helicopter flying over the sea.” Kuc uses a whole host of techniques to bring together a patchwork of history and memory in a portrait of time and place. Archival photographs and index cards detailing the historical timeline are combined with theatrical re-enactments by non-professional local actors, new footage, poetic voiceover and virtual imagery to both map Abkhazia and its people’s state of mind.

Ben Nicolson Sight & Sound 27.10.21

‘The herbs of the common had become weeds, the women of the common were witches’ (Nick Hayes (2021) The Book of Trespass: Crossing the Lines that Divide Us, Bloomsbury, p. 167.)

The enclosure of the commons instigated a profound and damaging transformation in the web of relations that bound us as humans to the natural world and to our bodies. Not only were commoners, my peasant ancestors, removed from and subsequently denied access to the land they had relied on for their subsistence, so too were a world of social and cultural practices and beliefs destroyed. The consequences, particularly for women were even worse, with a systematic controlling of their bodies, their social relations and knowledge exchange with other women, resulting in the ultimate persecution of women as witches during the witch trials of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Drawing on the work of Marxist feminist Silvia Federici’s ideas that connect the enclosure of land with that of a constraint on bodies and knowledge, I will share aspects of The Commons: Re-enchanting the World project co-curated with Catherine Morland, that was presented at The MERL (Museum of English Rural Life), University of Reading in March 2021 – April 2022. I will particularly focus on aspects of the project that I developed around commons, foraged or wild foods gathered for free to bypass our commercial food system: an unearthing of the knowledge of plants and their abundant nutrition. During the presentation, we will contemplate this severing from the land and the trauma we experience in our bodies, particularly in our gut. The lack of diversity of plants and microorganisms that we now eat results in a reduced microbiota which is having negative impact on our physical, mental and emotional selves.

What role might ghosts have in the way traumatic histories are communicated and represented on screen? How might the ghost have the capacity to bring the past forwards to us in the present and enable us to reconsider how histories have been formed and by whom? How are strategies of haunting and the haunted useful to us when thinking through contested histories and contested landscapes? How can global, hybrid and alternative approaches to both documentary film and socially-engaged fiction encompass these ideas to critically re-evaluate society and our position within it?

These questions are at the forefront of a growing number of creative practitioners who are building on the work of sociologists Avery Gordon (Haunting and the Sociological Imagination), Grace Cho (Haunting the Korean Diaspora: Shame, Secrecy, and the Forgotten War) and more recently cultural theorist Zuzanna Dziuban (The Spectral Turn: Jewish Ghosts in the Polish Post-Holocaust Imaginaire) to bring the notion of ghosts and haunting into socially and politically driven works that readdress and gently dismantle Western colonialist interpretations of knowledge-formation, authority, supremacy and otherness. Further, contemporary practice in this field is differentiated from how we might have traditionally encountered the ghost in cinema to re-position the ghost within moving image practice as a political entity with agency and intention.

This symposium and its associated events will delve into this relatively recent branch of scholarship and will
centre around practice-as-research. Spectral Cinema and Contested Landscapes is a hybrid project encompassing
an academic symposium and a series of public-facing events in Farnham.

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Head to our UCA Research Online platform to browse all our research projects.

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