The Essay Film and Space: The Essayistic Filmic Space as aLocation of Thought

Gegisian, A. 2014. The Essay Film and Space: The Essayistic Filmic Space as aLocation of Thought. PhD thesis University of Westminster Faculty of Media, Arts and Design

TitleThe Essay Film and Space: The Essayistic Filmic Space as aLocation of Thought
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsGegisian, A.

This practice-led research investigates the function of filmic space in essayistic discourse through the dialogic relationship between the essay film My Pink City that reflects on post-Soviet urban space in Yerevan and a written thesis that examines the role of space in the essay film.

The research considers essay film as a distinct modality of thought in moving image practices that incorporates multiple processes, a diversity of forms and heterogeneous material in its discursive logics. Reacting against the privileging of the temporal in the thinking operations of the moving image, the research addresses the renewed importance of spatial imagination, as a first step in establishing the significance of filmic space in cinematic consciousness.

Filmic space has been mainly conceived as a static space that forms a background to action by centring movement, thus restricting the thinking potential of the moving image. Mapping a series of theorisations of filmic space in film theory, in geography of film and in the Deleuzian conception of cinema, the research identifies that filmic space can contribute to the thinking operations of the image when it precisely opens up to movement. Locating moments of spatial thinking in fiction and avant-garde film, the written thesis redefines filmic space as open, relational, heterogeneous and always under construction and relates this expanded notion of filmic space to the thinking modality of the essay film.

The written thesis and My Pink City both demonstrate how the expanded notion of a fluid and dynamic filmic space, expressing thought via a variety of strategies, functions on multiple levels in the essay film and thus contributes to the thinking operations of the moving image. Following essay film’s ability to continuously makes visible its own thinking operations, the research proposes that filmic space (as the spatial imagination inherent in the image) also makes visible its own procedures, resulting in an essay film that does not only think about (the changes and complexities) of space but also thinks through filmic space.

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