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AMMI colloquium - CATHERINE GRANT (Birkbeck, University of London/University of Reading): "Irresistible Instrumentalism: Studying Music-Making in Cinematic Story Worlds in the Form of the Video Essay"

When:Tu 10-05-2022 17:00 - 19:00
Where:Marie Loke Zaal, Harmonie Building
flyer with programme of the AMMI colloquium

Research colloquium of the theme group Arts, Medium and Moving Images.

Irresistible Instrumentalism: Studying Music-Making in Cinematic Story Worlds in the Form of the Video Essay by Catherine Grant, Birkbeck, University of London/University of Reading


In this lecture I will screen and discuss my latest video essay Irresistible Instrumentalism (11'14, 2022). It is a work that explores the somewhat paradoxical depiction in early cinema of the visible playing by onscreen musicians of music that makes no sound in the world beyond the film’s diegesis - the portrayal of music, in other words, that cannot be heard by the cinema audience without supplement. This video forms part of my practice-based research for a longer archive-filmmaking project on cinematically depicted musicians and the musical cultures of cinema in its first five decades, to which I will also refer. The project as a whole—and this component in particular—thus connects with a significant tranche of my earlier audiovisual essay-based work that has also focused on cinematic scenes of musical performance. Like much of that work, and of my video making in general,Irresistible Instrumentalism is a product of audiovisual material thinking, involving ‘a particular responsiveness to or conjunction with the intelligence of materials and processes in practice’ [Barbara Bolt] in the context of what the pre-eminent theorist of film music Michel Chion calls ‘the art of precision and of vibration that is cinema’.

About the speaker

Catherine Grant is Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Reading, UK. She carries out her film and moving image studies research mostly in the form of remix-based video essays. She also runs the Film Studies For Free social media platforms, and is a founding co-editor of the award-winning peer-reviewed journal [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film and Moving Image Studies .

Contact: Julian Hanich - j.hanich