Special Issue "Cinematic Bodies"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752). This special issue belongs to the section "New Media".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2017).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Jenny Chamarette
Guest Editor
Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, E1 4NS, London, UK

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is difficult to imagine a cinema without bodies. When Steven Shaviro published The Cinematic Body (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), he begged for a return to a materialist aesthetics of cinema, which placed the intensities of the body first and foremost on the contemporary screen. This was a plaintive, angry cry for a return to the body in film theory, away from prevailing psychoanalytic readings of the significatory structures operating in the cinema. One might say that the work of Vivian Sobchack had already answered this call to put the body first. Her formative volume, The Address of the Eye: A Phenomenology of Film Experience (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991), sketched out what a phenomenological account of film experience might be, in the light of 20th century alternatives to psychoanalysis and poststructuralist philosophy.

There has since been an explosion of scholarship in the 21st century on the materiality of the cinematic body, on embodied phenomenologies of the moving image, on modes of materialist film aesthetics, and on the provocations of affect, emotion, and enervation in and about film. However, the body has always been important to cinema. In early cinema, human, animal, and machine bodies were composite entities, from the Lumière brothers’ Eurocentric visions of the living planet, to Dziga Vertov’s Kinoeye. The physical expressiveness of silent stars Keaton and Chaplin, Brooks and Gish was a distinctive hallmark of their performances, just as gestures and body language, both on and off-screen, defined the stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood that followed them.

The cultures of national and transnational cinemas have encoded a diversity of bodily gestures, traversing the arts of performance and representation. And as studies of the moving image have expanded to incorporate video art, structuralist film and animation, so too has an expanded sense of the body emerged, particularly relating to synaesthesia, haptics and sensation. The body of the film medium: celluloid, magnetic video, DVD, digital file, internet stream, has equally informed the work of generations of avant-garde film and artist’s moving image.

This guest-edited special issue aims to provide a cutting-edge perspective on contemporary scholarship examining bodies through cinema and the moving image. We invite 3000-5000 word scholarly articles on the theme, and would especially welcome perspectives on non-anglophone, transcultural and/or global moving images. Practice-based research discussions are also welcome.

 Potential topics could include:

  • Physicality: athletic/sporting bodies, bodily impairment, injured/ill bodies, dying bodies, bodily acts and performing bodies,
  • Bodily deviance and normativity: deviant, exiled and abject bodies, non-normative bodies, bodily emissions
  • Identity and embodied experience: bodies and ethnicity, gendered and transgendered bodies, queer bodies, sexualised and sexualising bodies
  • Non-human and post-human bodies: non-human animal bodies, posthuman bodies, bodies and/as environments, being without a body
  • Bodies, myths and technology: cyborgs, prostheses, bodies and machines, mechanical bodies, celestial/heavenly/planetary bodies, illusory bodies
  • Film as a body: Intermediality and materiality, theories of cinematic embodiment, embodied spectatorship, cinematic sensation and affect
  • The body politic: bodies and community, collectivity, assemblages, bodily activism

Dr. Jenny Chamarette
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (2 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:


Jump to: Research

Open AccessEditorial
Cinematic Bodies
Arts 2016, 5(2), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts5020004 - 21 Jun 2016
Cited by 1
It is difficult to imagine a cinema without bodies.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cinematic Bodies)


Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle
What Is Body, What Is Space? Performance and the Cinematic Body in a Non-Anthropocentric Cinema
Arts 2017, 6(4), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts6040019 - 09 Nov 2017
The assumption of a clear demarcation and hierarchy between figure and ground has long informed key approaches in film studies to bodies and space. However, many filmmakers working in both animation and live cinema have confounded this hierarchy, working with an integration of [...] Read more.
The assumption of a clear demarcation and hierarchy between figure and ground has long informed key approaches in film studies to bodies and space. However, many filmmakers working in both animation and live cinema have confounded this hierarchy, working with an integration of figure and ground on equal terms to explore the full performative potential of the cinematic body. In the animation work of Einar Baldvin, this strategy is an Expressionist one, blurring the boundaries between figure and ground in order to project affective and psychic states onto the space around the body. In Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster, this blurring of boundaries between figure and ground eschews an Expressionist mode, working instead to render, in aesthetic form, a biophilosophy that emphasizes the continuity between bodies and environment to explore the possibilities of non-anthropocentric cinematic modes. An experimental writing style here serves to trace the energetic unfolding of these strategies across both films in order to frame the question, ‘what is body here, what is space’, and to ask how we as viewers engage with this embodied mode. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cinematic Bodies)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Back to TopTop