Film-Philosophy Conference, Film-Philosophy Conference 2016

Reenactment of Cinematographic Past: Complex Temporal Objects Situated Between Cinema and Contemporary Art

Lukas Brasiskis


In the last twenty years reenactment as a common strategy for re-articulation of film history and reconstruction of screen memories has gained a huge popularity among contemporary artists (e.g., installation films by visual artists Candize Breitz, Douglas Gordon, Paul Pfeiffer, among many others). In this paper I suggest that reenactment of the cinematographic past in contemporary art has to be considered not simply as reiteratiration of the images that have appeared on the cinema screen before, but as a spatial and political reassessment of how these images had initially been represented, who played them, and what implications for existing screen memories they generated.

In order to theorize a possibility of a productiveness of the reenactment of the cinematographic past with respect to screen memories, I will consult French philosopher Bernard Stiegler’s thoughts on the technological externalization of memory and its implications for human consciousness. I will closely analyze how functioning of tertiary memory is complicated in Deimantas Narkevicius’ Revisiting Solaris (2007), as well as Pierre Huyghe’s L’Ellipse (1998) and Third Memory (2000), three works by two well-known contemporary artists. Through establishing a-sinchronity between screen memories and their reenactments (the actor re-enacting his previous film character is a shared aspect of all three works) these installation films, I will point out, indiscernibly conjoin primary screen memories with secondary screen memories and assemble more complex technical spatio-temporal objects. In other words, I will argue that instead of routinizing the flow of cinema’s history, these gallery installations produce new images of the consciousness that are not repetitions of the same film (hi)story, but are new creative interpretations of it. The importance of questions such as: How the aging actor reenacting his previous roles epitomize the complexity of technical temporal objects?, How can creative strategies of the cinematographic reenactment counter existing screen memories? and What role does new space for of exhibition play in the processes of cinematic reenactment? will be accentuated in the paper. 

Only abstracts are available on this site

About the Presenter

Lukas Brasiskis
New York University

I am a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Cinema Studies in New York University. My current research interests incorporate analysis of archival footage-based cinema and its implications for the disciplines of historiography and memory studies, study of cinematic space, examination of the idea of non-representational cinematic realism, exploration of alternative historicities in Eastern European cinema, and study of film in contemporary art. 

My MA thesis "On the Possibility of Non-representational Cinematic Realism" received the New School's Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award in a year 2011 and a shortened version of it was published as an article for the book Film and Philosophy (ed. by Nerijus Milerius, PhD) that is the first Lithuanian academic book dedicated to issues of film-philosophy. After my graduation from the New School University, I taught  film theory and film history related courses in Vilnius Academy of Arts and in Lithuanian Academy of Music, Theater and Film (2011-2014).