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Title: The transposition of third meaning discourse from analogue to digital cinema
Authors: Stone, Ian P.
Advisors: Rugo, D
Roberts, J
Keywords: Barthes;Counternarrative;Visual cullture;Intertextual;Affectual
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: A consistent theme in Roland Barthes writing was his interest in, yet resistance to, the image. Exemplary of this is the Third meaning essay, published in the July 1970 issue of Cahiers Du Cinema. The essay uses film stills including from Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin and Ivan the Terrible to articulate political aesthetic neither confined to the intentionality of the author, or limited to affectual reception. This research proposes a taxonomy of political aesthetics based on the Third meaning essay and Barthes’ other theoretical film essays. The Third meaning is a site of resistance where the image is irreducible to the surety of signification; it unlocks a panoply of meanings, undermining the univocity of bourgeois ideology and instead proposing heterogenous engagement with neo-Marxist and postcolonial politics. The research argues three distinct movements of Third meaning: Soviet Russia 1920-45; France 1960-1980 and international digital Third meaning c.2000-present. Key Third meaning practitioners are identified beyond Barthes’ nominees, including Jean Luc Godard, Chris Marker and Göran Olsson. These filmmakers work in the interstices between fiction and documentary, between scepticism of the contemporary and its embrace; between impassioned support and constructive criticism of social movements and their representation. Using Barthes’ methodology, the research argues that Third meanings third act takes place in the digital age. Ability to cheaply produce and widely disseminate digital film make it efficacious for the spread of Third meaning’s political aesthetic. The research advances digital Third meaning as a necessary ideological confrontation within the contemporary image: the decisive Kairos moment. Digital Third meaning is proposed as having more theoretical cogence than Deleuze’s virtual image, which falls short of articulating a consistent political response to contemporary conditions. In particular the valency of the Third meaning aesthetic in general lies in its versality across time periods, culture and conveyances of media.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Media
Dept of Arts and Humanities Theses

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