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The Simian gaze: examining the human and non-human gazes in visitors

The Simian gaze: examining the human and non-human gazes in visitors
The Simian gaze: examining the human and non-human gazes in visitors
Godfrey Reggio’s film Visitors (2013) is composed primarily of gazes. It begins with a gorilla’s direct gaze as it emerges from darkness, and this initial gaze is quickly followed by a series of human gazes. The gorilla’s gaze haunts the film, however, as it reappears in the middle of the film and also concludes it. These gazes are affective; the viewer spends almost the entire duration of the film being stared at, and thus quickly becomes sensitized to these gazes and their idiosyncrasies, as well as their effects. This paper examines these gazes and how they are experienced in the film. Focusing primarily on the gorilla’s gazes, I review theories surrounding the human gaze in regards to affect and power, and compare these theories to how the animal gaze has been examined, including concepts such as gaze sensitivity and its socioecological context and the effects of mirror neurons, arguing that this simian gaze acts as a bridge that combines, yet challenges, both. I ask: how does the gorilla’s gazes problematize how the human gaze has been theorized and its effects? How can theories of the animal gaze be incorporated in existing anthropocentric theories on the gaze?
Schultz, Corey K.N.
4df94248-6850-4238-acb3-6e0f1a7a4205
Schultz, Corey K.N.
4df94248-6850-4238-acb3-6e0f1a7a4205

(2015) The Simian gaze: examining the human and non-human gazes in visitors. Screening Animals and the Inhuman: 25th Annual Screen Studies Conference, United Kingdom. 26 - 28 Jun 2015.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

Godfrey Reggio’s film Visitors (2013) is composed primarily of gazes. It begins with a gorilla’s direct gaze as it emerges from darkness, and this initial gaze is quickly followed by a series of human gazes. The gorilla’s gaze haunts the film, however, as it reappears in the middle of the film and also concludes it. These gazes are affective; the viewer spends almost the entire duration of the film being stared at, and thus quickly becomes sensitized to these gazes and their idiosyncrasies, as well as their effects. This paper examines these gazes and how they are experienced in the film. Focusing primarily on the gorilla’s gazes, I review theories surrounding the human gaze in regards to affect and power, and compare these theories to how the animal gaze has been examined, including concepts such as gaze sensitivity and its socioecological context and the effects of mirror neurons, arguing that this simian gaze acts as a bridge that combines, yet challenges, both. I ask: how does the gorilla’s gazes problematize how the human gaze has been theorized and its effects? How can theories of the animal gaze be incorporated in existing anthropocentric theories on the gaze?

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More information

Published date: 27 June 2015
Venue - Dates: Screening Animals and the Inhuman: 25th Annual Screen Studies Conference, United Kingdom, 2015-06-26 - 2015-06-28
Organisations: Film

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 378710
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/378710
PURE UUID: 048fb8f5-c8da-49b5-a958-7a1115d33b3a
ORCID for Corey K.N. Schultz: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7866-2264

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 Jul 2015 10:23
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:22

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