Through the Dark Lens the Body Touches You: Irigary and Haptic in the work of contemporary female filmmakers
University of Roehampton, London
My project contributes to shaping feminist studies and film phenomenology in ways that go beyond contemporary scholarship and recognise the textual, political and ethical significance of the intertwining between theory and practice. The focus of my study signals a shift from the traditional ocularcentric and/or logocentric investigation of female subjectivity towards a haptic exploration of cinematic texts.
My point of departure is the more recent work of the contemporary interdisciplinary thinker Luce Irigaray whose quest to perceive the feminine has spanned the past four decades to the present day. Irigaray’s shift beyond a focus merely on the visual towards a perception that ‘seeing amounts to being touched’ (Irigaray, 2004:399) opens up space in which to explore the role of dimensions of film beyond the visual in relation to female subjectivity.Irigarayhas built a model of thinking about feminine subjectivity that is innovative because of her distinct ideas on how to create a shared world where both men and women are recognised as autonomous subjects.
The format of the audio-visual essay allows for a non-linear analysis of contemporary filmmaking practices by female filmmakers both in terms of their narrative and cinematic strategies, offering the possibility of writing and experiencing with these cinematic texts instead of analysing them as separate entities. My work takes an important gender political position on these discussions by proposing a different way to perceive notions of feminine subjectivity through an investigation of the political, ethical and poetical dimensions of this new format of practice-based research.
My film will be the product of my written work and the practical work, drawing both outwards and inwards. In my unique approach I seek to move beyond the limitations of an analysis of female subjectivity through language and towards an exploration through the haptic/play to establish a feminine identity.