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The Occluded Subject

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The Occluded Subject

Craig, Robert Carl (2012) The Occluded Subject. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

“The Occluded Subject” is a dissertation about performative documentary. The thesis begins with a personal account of filming a 1991 protest against the police killing of Marcelus François. During this demonstration, I was obstructed from filming something that was not seen at that time, or subsequently revealed to me. This occlusion of the subject marks the beginning of a meditation on documentary representation. The “Representation of a Crisis” chapter describes shifting social and historical contexts of that period in time. This so-called crisis of representation had to do with power relations when discursive parameters were changing, and the contemporary performative documentary emerged. “The Technology Question” chapter describes Heidegger’s views on technology and society, along with concepts like the Ge-stell, destining of revealing, genuine revealing, and the saving power. The chapter “Unfinished Diary” describes Journal inachevé, wherein documentarians Michael Rubbo and Marilú Mallet debate praxis. Bill Nichols’ performative modality is described in “Documenting the Performative”. This chapter provides background to performative documentary scholarship in the form of antecedent research by Michael Renov and the initial identification by Susan Scheibler of performativity in documentary. Scheibler explains constative and performative categories and brings forward the notion of a performative documentary referentiality in the interval between signifier and signified. Deviations from positivisms and conventional narrative are discussed, along with pronounced signifier play, renunciation of mastery, indeterminacy, and the importance of the personal to the performative. Several technological, cultural, historical, and ideological elements are described as well. “History as Memory” is a close reading of Rea Tajiri’s History and Memory: For Akiko and Takashige. This documentary effectively illustrates performative operation. As opposed to conceiving authentication of an absent whole, multiple subjectivities, poietic space, and genuine revealing position the spectator within the here and now. While the text connects to contemporary ideation such as postmodernism and poststructuralism, the dissertation considers performative documentary as phenomenological as well.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Craig, Robert Carl
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Humanities
Date:18 June 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Allor, Martin and Falsetto, Mario
ID Code:974160
Deposited By: ROBERT C. CRAIG
Deposited On:08 Jun 2017 15:00
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:37
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