Political Modernism (cont)
Alex Juhasz responds to my post, and she explains the value she sees in connecting formal self-reflexivity to political critique. One thing I find intriguing is her attempt to see an inadvertant political modernism of examples in contemporary networked nonfiction culture.
To clarify, I don't put Juhasz in the "sneaky" camp. I was drawn to her post because she seemed clear in her political modernism. I think the arguable "sneaking through the backdoor" applies to the new theoretical readings that privilege art cinema or experimental work as a site for a superior kind of spectatorship. One can point to any number of examples, but if I had to pick one, I'd say that Michelle Langford's reading of The Day I Became Woman (Camera Obscura 64) demonstrates this type of reading. Never does Langford directly claim that realist representation lulls the spectator into ideological complicity, but she does argue a) that the value of The Day I Became Woman is not in the explicit or implicit representations of Iran but rather in the complex philosophical state that the film puts the spectator in because of its formal strategies and b) that this philosophical state is a more nuanced and political relevant disposition than learning from any direct message.
What interests me is that a discipline that at first blush seems to have "moved beyond" the 1970s Screen theory style of political modernism has formulated a theoretical variant that in some regards (not others) is not too different.