Jane Stadhler

Jane Stadhler

About Jane

Jane Stadhler is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies in the School of Communication and Arts at the University of Queensland, Australia.

She led a collaborative Australian Research Council research project on landscape and location in Australian narratives (2011–2014) and has co-authored a book on this topic (Imagined Landscapes, 2016), and she is author of Pulling Focus (2008), co-author of Screen Media (2009) and Media and Society (2012), and co-editor of an anthology on adaptation, Pockets of Change (2011).

Her research interests span Australian screen landscapes and locations through to phenomenological, philosophical, and neuropsychological understandings of aesthetics, spectatorship, imagination, and emotion.

 

Talk: The ethics of enhancement technologies and digital visual effects in cyborg cinema

The body is a conduit of emotion and meaning, yet in film and television the actor’s emotive performance and the audience’s response are also mediated by increasingly sophisticated technologies, a phenomenon that is nowhere more evident than in the representation and reception of the cybernetic body on screen.

In her 2016 article “From Screen-Scape to Screen-Sphere,” phenomenologist Vivian Sobchack argues that “we have already become – or, more likely are in the process of becoming – living ‘biological components’ of the screen-sphere… newly-constituted as a ‘technobiological’ form of life” (16).

What does this evolving embodied relation with screen technologies mean for understanding the cinematic body and its digitally enhanced future?

The importance of engaging with technology and cognitive science to understand embodied responses to cinema is evident in recent publications such as Murray Smith’s Film, Art and the Third Culture (2017) and Maarten Coegnarts and Peter Kravanja’s Embodied Cognition and Cinema (2015).

Such work emphasises the need to engage with scientific accounts of how embodied meaning is produced by film and is tied to affective immersion as well as aesthetic and intellectual engagement.

However, deep divisions remain between the arts and the sciences, and between cognitivist and phenomenological approaches.

This presentation addresses ethical issues arising in the space where the biological and the technological meet, investigating enhancement technologies in relation to the digital body and cyborg cinema by drawing together insights across these different ‘bodies of knowledge’ and demonstrating how engagement with screen technologies and special effects produce technologically mediated forms of embodied cognition.