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Pepita Hesselberth is a research fellow at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, and Assistant Professor Film and Literary Studies at Leiden University, The Netherlands. Her research interests revolve around questions concerning the production of subjectivity and the fabric of the social within our increasingly global, networked, and media-saturated world. She is the author of Cinematic Chonotopes (Bloomsbury 2014), and, together with Maria Poulaki, the editor of Compact Cinematics: The Moving Image in the Age of Bit-Sized Media (Bloomsbury 2016). She is currently working on her project on Disconnectivity in the Digital Age, for which she received a two-year fellowship from the Danish Council for Independent Research.
Disconnectivity in the Digital age. Digital detox holidays, phone stacking dinners, virtual suicide, a year without Internet. In a culture obsessed with social networking, participation and connectivity, to disconnect has come to mean going off-line: to reclaim presence in the physical world; to revitalize face to face communication; to salvage the actual over the virtual; to (temporarily) obliterate one’s online identity. To disconnect signals a desire to re_connect: with ones off-line identity, with friends, with the spiritual values of life, with ones natural environment, with the world at large. Disconnectivity thus bespeaks connectivity, and vice versa. For every form of connectivity, whether desired or feared, there is a correlative form of disconnectivity, dreaded or longed for. Each connection evokes the possibility of a disconnection that would instantly annul it, that precedes it, and that conditions it. The aim of this qualitative research project is to develop a conceptual framework for understanding the cultural and socio-political implications of the current tendency towards voluntary disconnectivity, where disconnectivity is understood as psychic, socio-economic, and/or political withdrawal from mediated forms of connectivity. This project is funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research.
Compact Cinematics: The Moving Image in the Age of Bit-Sized Media Culture (Bloomsbury 2017). Compact Cinematics challenges the dominant understanding of cinema as feature length/ big screen, to focus on the various compact, short, miniature, pocket-sized forms of cinematics that have existed from even before its standardization in theatrical form, and in recent years have multiplied and proliferated, taking up increasingly important part of our everyday multimedia environment. With contributions of Jay Bolter & Maria Engberg, Francesco Casetti, Sean Cubitt, Ulrik Ekman, Anna McCarthy, Todd McGowan, Tom Gunning, Gillian Rose, Pasi Väliaho, Kim Louise Walden, and many others, the essays in this volume ask what the changed technical, socio-economic and political situation entails for the aesthetics and experience of contemporary cinematics, calling attention to new phenomena as well as to the concepts, theories and tools at our disposal to analyze them.
Cinematic Chronotopes: Here, Now, Me (2014). The site of cinema is on the move. The extent to which technologically mediated sounds and images continue to be experienced as cinematic today is largely dependent on the intensified sense of being 'here,' 'now' and 'me' that they convey. This intensification is fundamentally rooted in the cinematic's potential to intensify our experience of time, to convey time's thickening, of which the sense of place, and a sense of self-presence are the correlatives. In this study, I trace this thickening of time across four different spatio-temporal configurations of the cinematic: a multi-media exhibition featuring the work of Andy Warhol (1928-1987); the handheld aesthetics of European art-house films; a large-scale media installation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer; and the usage of the trope of the flash-forward in mainstream Hollywood cinema. Only by juxtaposing these cases by looking at what they have in common, I argue, can we grasp the complexity of the changes that the cinematic is currently undergoing.