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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for Arts in Society

FACAM colloquium - EUGENIE BRINKEMA (MIT): "Drabness and Ethics (on the Values of Formalism)"

When:Tu 06-06-2023 18:00 - 20:00
Where:Exposition room, Harmonie building
FACAM colloquium programme poster

This event is part of the Film and Contemporary Audiovisual Media research colloquium of the Research Centre for Arts in Society.

For more information, contact Giuseppe Fidotta: g.fidotta


Professor Brinkema takes as her starting point an aesthetic evaluation that greets the arrival of brutal death squads in Wes Anderson’s 2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel: “I find these black uniforms very drab.” Using the problem of drabness, and a reciprocal term that is yoked to it in the film—that of glimmer—the talk considers how problems of cinematic form related to light, saturation, and quality formally articulate an impersonal account of general historical violence and loss. The problem of color—and the question of values—thus poses the broader question of the value of formalism as both a reading method and a speculative grappling with ethics and politics.

About the speaker

Eugenie Brinkema is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and currently a fellow at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis at UvA. Her research in film studies and critical theory focuses on violence, affect, sexuality, aesthetics, and ethics. In addition to numerous articles, she has published two books: The Forms of the Affects (2014) and Life-Destroying Diagrams (2022), both with Duke University Press.