Feminist Post-Cinema was submitted as Christina Yglesias’ written thesis for UCLA’s Design Media Arts Department MFA and is available as a pdf.
The goal of this thesis will be to bridge the gaps in scholarship between the subjects of the post-cinematic—a further expanded field of film and video art—and feminist film studies. Feminist post-cinema, both a term I am coining and the title of this paper, reinvigorates feminist film studies within the context of the post-cinematic moment. In post-cinematic works, artists interrogate conventions of time and space codified by Hollywood, and traditional filmmaking is reimagined, restructured, and rejected. Instead, simultaneity, database aesthetics, and embodiment are privileged and utilized to respond to and highlight the conditions of networked culture. Scholars in feminist film studies, especially in the 1980’s and 1990’s, called attention to the sexism embedded into the very apparatus of the cinema, beyond the sexism often present in narratives and characterization, and called for a revolutionary alternate cinema. Arguably, that utopian cinema was never achieved in any cohesive way. The post-cinematic moment, which began roughly in the beginning of the 21st century in tandem with the proliferation of networked technology, offers an opportunity for the reinvigoration of a feminist cinema, since it has already begun to break the bonds of linear narrative, clear characterization, traditional projection, and reliance on the standard production and distribution pathways. The current political climate, although divisive, has been heavily marked by feminist efforts such as the Women’s March and the #MeToo and the #TimesUp movements, which further bolsters the possibility of a new feminist cinema. This thesis is in part a research paper, a manifesto, and a positioning of my own artistic practice. Feminist post-cinema is an approach to image-making and a set of practices to guide artists and their projects. Appropriation, database aesthetics, and cinematic restaging will all be discussed as methods that can be utilized to support this practice, both calling attention to and liberating woman as signifier from the tyranny of the male gaze and the narrative cliches that bind her.