Shimmering Images

Trans Cinema, Embodiment, and the Aesthetics of Change

Book Pages: 248 Illustrations: 35 illustrations Published: March 2019

Author: Eliza Steinbock

Subjects
Cultural Studies > Affect Theory, Gender and Sexuality > Trans Studies, Media Studies > Film

In Shimmering Images Eliza Steinbock traces how cinema offers alternative ways to understand gender transitions through a specific aesthetics of change. Drawing on Barthes's idea of the “shimmer” and Foucault's notion of sex as a mirage, the author shows how sex and gender can appear mirage-like on film, an effect they label shimmering. Steinbock applies the concept of shimmering—which delineates change in its emergent form as well as the qualities of transforming bodies, images, and affects—to analyses of films that span time and genre. These include examinations of the fantastic and phantasmagorical shimmerings of sex change in Georges Méliès's nineteenth-century trick films and Lili Elbe's 1931 autobiographical writings and photomontage in Man into Woman. Steinbock also explores more recent documentaries, science fiction, and pornographic and experimental films. Presenting a cinematic philosophy of transgender embodiment that demonstrates how shimmering images mediate transitioning, Steinbock not only offers a corrective to the gender binary orientation of feminist film theory; they open up new means to understand trans ontologies and epistemologies as emergent, affective, and processual.

Praise

"Through the concept of shimmering, Eliza Steinbock promotes a trans cinematic aesthetic that provides the means to move beyond examining issues of representation. Innovative and sophisticated, Shimmering Images offers a delightful, whirlwind experience and a stimulating encounter with cinema, media, and trans studies as well as aesthetics and affect theory." — Chris Straayer, author of Deviant Eyes, Deviant Bodies: Sexual Re-orientation in Film and Video

“Deftly combining film theory, affect theory, trans studies, and aesthetics, Eliza Steinbock's scintillating new book makes a bravura contribution to each of the fields it draws from. They argue that, in delinking and relinking sounds and images across literal cuts, filmmaking necessarily enacts a ‘transsexual logic of cinematic embodiment.’ The brilliance of the book lies in the sophistication with which it develops that fundamental insight into a full-fledged practice of reading, watching, feeling, thinking, and interpreting. It's a game-changer.” — Susan Stryker, coeditor of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly

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Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Eliza Steinbock is Assistant Professor of Film and Literary Studies at Leiden University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface. Call Me They  vii
Acknowledgments  xi
Introduction. Disjunction and Conjunction: Thinking Trans through the Cinematic  1
1. Shimmering Phantasmagoria: Trans/Cinema/Aesthetics in an Age of Technological Reproducibility  26
2. Shimmering Sex: Docu-Porn's Trans-Sexualities, Confession Culture, and Suturing Practices  61
3. Shimmering Multiplicity: Trans*Forms in Dandy Dust and I.K.U. from Dada to Data to D@D@  107
Conclusion. An Ensemble of Shimmers  145
Notes  157
Bibliography  199
Index  219
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0388-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0324-3
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