Andrea GyengePostdoctoral Fellow Visual Studies
I am an interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersections between philosophy, visual studies, and the critical humanities. My research focuses on themes of orality and the mouth in continental philosophy, the history and legacy of post-war French philosophy, and theories of the image in visual culture.
Current Research Projects
My postdoctoral project, Swallow: The Mouth in Cinema, theorizes the ontological, material and historical traffic between the mouth and the image in film aesthetics. This project is drawn from work I first began in my dissertation. Using key examples from European thought and criticism since the eighteenth century, my dissertation argued that the mouth plays a fundamental role in philosophical ideas about the human in relationship to art, technology and knowledge. Both projects share an interest in the mouth’s ubiquity as a figure for contradiction: it is an organ of abstraction (e.g., speech) and an organ of material life (e.g., eating). While my dissertation focused on the former as a method for reading the history of modern philosophy, my postdoctoral research focuses on the latter as a method for analyzing film culture. Reading across theory and form in the works of Jean-Luc Nancy, Claire Denis, Jean Epstein, and Roland Barthes, among others, my project argues that orality is not just a theme in cinema; it ultimately figures the cinema itself.
My second project, The Life-Image: An Essay in Biopolitical Resistance, co-authored with Cesare Casarino, is a new study of film and video media during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the early 1990s. Using archival research conducted in the AIDS Activist Videotape Collection at the New York Public Library, the book focuses on three experimental documentary filmmakers during the height of the crisis—Tom Joslin, Derek Jarman and Hervé Guibert. Rather than focusing on their representation of living with AIDS, we argue that it is in refusing to represent their deaths that their work interrogates the spectacle of AIDS. In doing so, they create something that we call “the life-image.” Drawn from Gilles Deleuze’s division between the movement-image and the time-image, we argue that the life-image is both a critique of biopolitical capitalist production and a liberation of the body’s potentiality for life. The book will be published by Edinburgh University’s Incitements Series.
“Laocoön’s Scream or Lessing Redux.” New German Critique, no. 142, February 2021.
“Digestion and the Infinity of Labor.” Angelaki: A Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, no. 25.5, October 2020.
“Between the Toy and the Theatre: Reading Aesthetics in Beyond the Pleasure Principle.” Aesthetic Subjects, special issue of Free Associations, no. 75, 2019.
“Gucci Dans Les Rues or May ’68 as Political Kitsch.” 1968. Then and Now, special issue of Cultural Critique, no.103, Spring 2019.