The Impact Factor

I am attending The NECS 2013 Conference on “Media Politics ‒ Political Media” at Charles University, Prague. My paper – The impact factor. Politics of cinematic representability of violent events – describes the ways in which the film spectator experiences physically and psychically the cinematic representation of falling human bodies in mainstream films, with particular regard to the culmination of this movement: the impact with the ground. Contemporary cinema, in fact, uses an invariable and cross-genre aesthetic politics: the impact is not explicitly shown on screen because of both its psycho-physiological violence and its controversial socio-political implications, especially in the post-11/9 era. As the series of examples that I analyse demonstrates, cinema employs a series of stylistic strategies – ‘replacement’, ‘obscuration’, ‘diversion’, ‘interposition’ – intended to represent the unrepresentable (Baudrillard, Didi-Huberman). To explain how these strategies operate and to evaluate their relevance in the theoretical paradigm of film-embodiment (Sobchack, Grodal), I draw upon both classic experimental psychology demonstrations on amodal perception (Burke, Glynn, Michotte) and recent neurocognitive experiments on visual occlusion (Zeki, Ramachandran).