IQ

N0’ 15 /// TRANSFORMATION ORIGINAL IDE AS IN CULTURE, MEDIA & THE ARTS ENTER>>

IQ
CONTENTS /// N0’ 15/// TRANSFORMATION

03 EDITORIAL

04 CRAFTING CONTEMPORARY SUBVERSIVE HANDCRAFTS

06 THE EMERGENCE OF THE FEMALE DANDY

08 NUIT BLANCHE AND TRANSFORMATIONAL PUBLICS

10 THIS IS NOT MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY IS THE GDR

12 NOLLYWOOD AND THE IDEA OF THE NIGERIAN CINEMA

14 APPROXIMATION: DOCUMENTARY, HISTORY AND THE STAGING OF  REALITY VISIT THE BLOG FOR MORE ARTICLES

ORIGINAL IDE AS IN CULTURE, MEDIA & THE ARTS

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Intellect Quarterly

EDITORIAL
Kyra Kordoski

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For over 25 years, Intellect Books has had the privilege of supporting some of the most exciting research in culture, media and the arts. Our aim has always been to create space for new currents of discourse. These days we facilitate the publication of over 90 highly specialised journals and the same number of book titles every year. Publishing a large body of research poses a particular challenge: sharing this wealth of original ideas with our community. This is where Intellect Quarterly (iQ) Magazine comes in. Through weekly blog posts and a quarterly publication, we highlight an ongoing selection of Intellect’s journal articles and books as they roll off the presses. iQ is a cross-disciplinary endeavour, drawing equally on all four of our specialisations: Visual Arts, Film Studies, Cultural & Media Studies, and Performing Arts. Each issue is guided by a carefully chosen theme and varied bodies of research are brought together through possibly surprising resonances, emphasising the deeply interconnected nature of academic inquiry. This magazine is an opportunity to discuss our authors’ work in an attentive but less formal framework—one that will be accessible to and informative for a broad range of thinkers and practitioners. We are constantly amazed by the quality, breadth, and originality that our authors bring to Intellects’ publications, and we

are committed to sharing this resource with as wide an audience as possible. Our inaugural theme, as we (re)launch iQ Magazine in the third quarter of 2013, is ‘Transformation.’ At its essence, we take transformation as the act of moving between states of being. Within the arts, integral notions of adaptation, appropriation, restaging, versioning—and even criticism—involve the transformation of ideas, images, objects and performance. More generally, transformation can be framed as a process of gain, loss, or exchange. It can be found at the roots of idealism and activism, in the desire to make things better. Engaging with an artwork can be a transformative experience; art production has often been driven by the hope that such moments of personal transformation will have long-term, positive social implications. Equally, transformation can be troubling, or even devastating. The environment is undergoing a process of transformation that has dire consequences, as are many economies worldwide. Focusing on transformation entails attentiveness to the manifold changes constantly erupting around us. The bodies of published research we discuss in iQ this quarter both explicitly and implicitly demonstrate this attentiveness. As such, they have the potential to help us productively influence new states of being. •

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Visual Arts | Original Article by Therèsa M. Winge and Marybeth C. Stalp

A REVOLUTIONARY BLAST FROM THE CRAFTS
Nothing says love like a skull and crossbones tea cozy: Crafting contemporary subversive handcrafts
Since 2004, Therèsa M. Winge and Marybeth C. Stalp have been interviewing self-identified North American crafters. Drawing on almost 50 interviews, they trace craft’s shift from the domain of ‘grandmothers’ to that of a younger, more vociferously political crowd—one that includes men as well as women. In addition to collecting these transcripts, the authors “participated in crafting circles, visited craft stores and fairs, documented spaces, stashes (i.e. crafting supplies) and finished products”. Wool socks and cross stitch might seem like the epitome of benign, but Winge and Stalp assert that, “The integration of subversive messages on traditionally domestic objects place handcrafting within a global, political context… highlighting feminist, environmental (Rufus, A. (2008), ‘The new knitting’, http://www.alternet.org/ environment/92939/the_new_knitting:_ this_is_not_your_ grandma%27s_arts_&_craft. Accessed 28 July 2008. ) Subversive craft very often employs humour. An historical—and persistent—tendency to associate craft with softness, delicacy, even obedience, provides a useful foil for more irreverent elements. Winge and Stalp cite Julie Jackson’s Subversive Cross Stitch patterns as an example of this, as it “combines charming traditional motifs, such as flowers and animals bordering amusing expletive messages…” One benefit of this tactic is the ability to express resistance without being aggressive or confrontational. Social aspects of crafting, both online and in craft circles and knitting groups, serve not only to maintain and perpetuate skills, but can also reinforce the counter-cultural values above, often with the same brassy, jocular attitude:

This is not crafting by necessity. This is not crafting to kill time. This is crafting to claim identity, to save the world from soulless junk. To casual observers it looks like adults making toys and keeping them. But this is a resurgence with a vengeance.

and DIY issues.” They quote an article written by Anneli Rufus for Alternet:

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“This is not crafting by necessity. This is not crafting to kill time. This is crafting to claim identity, to save the world from soulless junk. To casual observers it looks like adults making toys and keeping them. But this is a resurgence with a vengeance.” 

Subversive crafting groups suggest their dissident sociocultural and socio-political positions with humorous group names with overt illicit drug references, such as ‘Dirty Needles’ and ‘Yarn Junkies and Needle Hoppers’. Facebook crafting groups are named with tongue-in-cheek humour – ‘Radical Knitting’ and ‘Subversive Cross Stitch’, as well as ‘Renegade Artist Coalition’.
The DIY aspect of craft also has a political nature insofar as the

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The most strident and visible expressions of subversive craft have generally come to be known as “craftivism”. The practice of “yarn-bombing” and “craft-fiti” involves diverse activities such as wrapping public objects in boisterous rainbows of knitting, hanging homemade scarves and gloves for the homeless in public spaces, and adorning neighbourhoods with playfully embellished bras in support of breast cancer.

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act of making is inherently anti-consumerist. Furthermore, the stash that many crafters maintain consists of recycled fabrics and items that might have otherwise ended up in landfills. Crafts can of course become commodities, and the authors highlight the online marketplace Etsy as an example of how “crafters are often forced to exist in a conspicuous space between politics and profits.” The most strident and visible expressions of subversive craft have generally come to be known as “craftivism”. The practice of “yarn-bombing” and “craft-fiti” involves diverse activities such as wrapping public objects in boisterous rainbows of knitting, hanging homemade scarves and gloves for the homeless in public spaces, and adorning neighbourhoods with playfully embellished bras in support of breast cancer. This all throws into question the idea that ‘mere’ decorating is an innocuous or even vapid activity. Crativists have been known to face fines, or even arrests, which is a curious contradiction because, as the Winge and Stalp observe “Unlike typical vandalism, craft-fiti does not leave permanent damage to public space, but groups of (mostly) women engaged in craft are not taken seriously as they make handmade goods while simultaneously being seen as a threat when they share those handmade goods with the public sphere.” However, crafters have proved themselves more than able to stand up for one another. In 2012, an event called The Ravelympics, in which participants competitively crafted while watching the Olympics, was served with cease and desist from the US

Olympic Commitee (USOC). The USOC was ultimately forced to apologise, twice, as a result of massive pushback largely expressed through social media, demonstrating the fearlessness and social influence that crafting communities can wield. The duality of contemporary crafting, the seeming incongruity, even, of historical and current practices, is one of craft’s most powerful characteristics. And the authors point out the travelling exhibition, Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting, launched in 2007, as an example of the increasing cultural acknowledgment that subversive craft is earning. They conclude:

In a time when planned obsolescence and increased consumption cannot be sustained, crafting is well positioned as an alternative approach within consumerism. Within the Western capitalist cultural landscape, subversive crafters concurrently exist as part of tradition while redefining the domain. Even as it occupies many traditional craft tropes, subversive crafts exist in opposition by employing visual cues about the current political topics by utilizing vernacular from popular culture. Accordingly, subversive crafts challenge the preconceived notions of crafts, crafters, and by extension, femininity.•
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Media & Cultural Studies | Original Article by Senem Yazan

SHE’S A DANDY!
The black princess of elegance: The emergence of the female dandy

The title of Senem Yazan’s article, The black princess of elegance, gender flips a quote from Baudelaire:

“A dandy was the Black Prince of Elegance, the demigod of boredom who looked at the world with an eye as glassy as his pince-nez, suffering because his disarranged cravat had a crease, like the ancient Sybarite who suffered because his rose was crushed. He is indifferent about the horse he rides, the woman he greats, and the man he encounters and at whom he gazes a while before recognizing him. He bears, written on his forehead—in English—this insolent inscription: What do you and I have in common?” (Saint-Victor, P. D. (21 August 1859), La Presse cited in Steele, V. (1998), Paris Fashion: A Cultural History, New York: Berg.)
Yazan posits dandyism as a tactical position from which certain women in Paris in London around the turn of last century were able to investigate issues of patriarchy and class.

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Dandyism had a much more complex philosophical perspective than simply an irrepressible preference for dove grey trousers and emerald green silk cravats. It arose at a time when the entire fabric of European society was being unravelled and re-woven into modernity. It was a period, Yazan claims, “ in which social climbing or distinction was the ultimate aim...” At it’s most basic

level, Dandyism could perhaps be seen as the assertion that ‘aristocratic’ was no longer a quality of birth, but of character. In her article, Yazan “builds on the definition of dandyism as a whole state of being in the creation and presentation of the self, and of the dandy as an outsider due to gender, sexuality and class.” From Baudelaire’s perspective, and that of society in general, a dandy was indisputably a man. A perceived lack of essential— and essentially masculine—qualities ostensibly prevented women participating in true dandyism, namely: “aloofness, cynicism, provocation and decadence that depended on an underlying autonomy.” Yazan, however, explores the little-acknowledged realm of the female dandy that did, in fact, exist in Paris in London around the turn of last century. She posits it it as a tactical position from which certain women were able to investigate issues of patriarchy and class. In doing so, she looks at three particular strands: women who engaged in dandyism via analogously flamboyant feminine fashions—but with a more traditionally masculine brashness; women who worked as professional male impersonators; and a culturally elite circle of American-Parisian lesbians who cross-dressed to impeccable standards of dandyism. Just as male dandies could be seen as more feminine due to their delicate, fastidious nature and general indifference to the opposite sex (as described by Baudelaire, above), female dandies crossed gender lines towards traditionally masculine traits and aesthetics. As Yazan describes, “In nineteenth-century French society,

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This ‘ghost of a ghost’ has a somewhat complicated, perhaps even inverted relationship with simulacra. It considers the position that a ‘trace’ holds in relationship to ‘It considers the representation’.
the courtesan, referred to as a ‘femme excentrique’ due to her extravagant attire and quasi-masculine audacity, played a key role in the representation of dandyism.” As an illustration of this, Yazan focusses on Countess de Castiglione, who was professionally photographed extensively while wearing a vast array of costumes and gowns. According to the author, the flamboyance of de Castiglione’s poses aligned her more with a theatrical female impersonator than with a traditional female. “By challenging the conventions of masculinity and femininity regarding body poses (modesty, restraint and passivity for women; dignity, strength and nobleness for men), the Countess exploited the mirroring qualities of the camera (the anticipation of the self, seeing the self, being seen) as she staged herself in various disguises, interacting in a theatrical display.” Other women of the era outright impersonated men in a professional theatrical capacity, and garnered large followings by doing so. One of the most famous was Vesta Tilley. A star of Victorian and Edwardian music halls, Yazan claims that that Tilley “called attention to the complexities and constructedness of masculinity while inviting reinterpretation with characters that were neither butch nor effeminate.” She continues, “They were elegant, beautiful and vulnerable, part of a constellation of performances throughout the Victorian period and the early twentieth century that troubled and critiqued what it meant to be desirable.” A contemporary newspaper once published the opinion that London’s fashionable gentlemen took their sartorial cues from Tilley’s performances. Yazan also discusses artist Romaine Brooks and author Radclyffe Hall as representatives of an ultra-intellectual set of lesbians that lived primarily in Paris during this era: Through their painting, their writing, and through their adoption of the elegant masculine attire of dandies, Brooks, Radclyffe and their extended social circle infused “male imagery with feminine meaning”. Prevalent understanding sees dandyism as a philosophy conceived of and lived out by men. Contrary to this, Yazan situates the dandy’s ambiguously gendered expressions within the arc of feminist history.

If the dandy was constructing his visual presence like a form of spectacle and a theatrical staging, this self-objectification brought him closer to women who took over this performance and delivered it in a different context and for different audiences... These women approached this ideal through an insistence on ‘self-discipline’ and ‘novelty’, creating an ‘original work’ out of their own being, revolting briefly against the ‘corrupt civilization’ of the modern century. They strived to find something distinctive, ‘the cult of the self’ with the naivety of Baudelairean romanticism and the extravagance of a bohemian. •
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A number of women artists and writers sought to separate anatomy from destiny, assuming an identity that would question the roles prescribed by the conventional sexual ideologies. The term ‘inversion’, used by women to describe their own sexual inclinations, meant for them not only the desire for someone of the same sex, but also the need to play out the sexual ambiguity of a woman in man’s clothes seducing another woman to lesbian love.

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Visual Arts | Original article by Siobhan O’Flynn

ILLUMINATING PARTICIPATION
Nuit Blanche and transformational publics

Siobhan O’Flynn is Senior Lecturer in the Canadian Studies Program at the University of Toronto and Faculty with the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab. Dr. O’Flynn published Nuit Blanche and transformational publics in a recent special issue of the journal, “Public” edited by Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher, the theme of which was Art and Civic Spectacle. Nuit Blanche—an international network of locally organised nocturnal art events—has become one of the most widely loved and well attended examples of contemporary civic spectacle. The first Nuit Blanche took place in Paris just over ten years

Participants can influence one another in real time via mass communications, creating almost instantaneous awareness of things like popular installations, and the ebb and flow of queues.

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ago, but its roots go much deeper. Art and civilians had begun infiltrating the night at luminous events around Europe throughout the preceding decade. Early versions of the festival included Helsinki’s Night of the Arts (est. 1989), St. Petersburg’s White Night’s Festival, (est. 1993), and Berlin’s Long Night of Museums (est. 1997).  The closest hereditary precursor to Nuit Blanche was Jean Blaise’s festival in Nantes, Les Allumées (The Illuminated). Launched in 1990, the festival was set to run for six years, featur-

ing visiting artists from six cities, one city per year. Each year, it ran for six nights, from 6pm to 6am. Les Allumées was so successful that the mayor of Paris invited Blaise to create a similar event in France’s capital. In 2002 Nuit Blanche proper lit up urban streets for the first time. Various iterations of Nuit Blanche now take place in dozens of cities worldwide, featuring thousands of artists, and drawing droves of attendees. Toronto’s version of Nuit Blanche was launched in 2006. The first event brought 425, 000 people out into a fantastically glowing night. By 2010, the year that O’Flynn discusses in her article, the number of attendees was closer to a million. Use of social media had also burgeoned. O’Flynn’s research draws on a data set of over 15, 000 tweets from 2010, that used the event’s official twitter hashtag (“#snbTO”, referring to ScotiaBank Nuit Blanche Toronto). At an event like Nuit Blanche, social media deeply impacts people’s experiences. They can influence one another in real time via mass communications, creating almost instantaneous awareness of things like popular installations, and the ebb and flow of queues at these installations, which shapes the geographic trajectories people follow through the night. According to O’Flynn, social media is also incredibly significant in that it leaves behind a collectively generated “digital trace of physical activity”, which she contrasts to the notion of a curated archive.  As she puts it:

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These exchanges make visible the fluid actualization and processual experience of participatory, emergent public(s) that accord with how Michael Warner defines a ‘public’: that it is self-organizing, involves a relation amongst strangers, is simultaneously personal and impersonal in address, is constituted only through attention, and provides a discursive public space.
She does differentiate between the “emergent public” of Nuit Blanche and the “counter-public” that (Yale social theorist) Warner defines as having an “awareness of subordinate status”. And despite noting that attendees reported a relaxation of social norms throughout the night, she clearly distinguishes between the enhanced civic engagement that is demonstrated at Nuit Blanche, and the radical social reversal that is inherent in notions of the carnivalesque. The concept of psychogeography is important to O’Flynn’s analysis. A term conceived by Guy Debord, it is a method of encountering a city through wandering and play. The aim is to achieve a heightened awareness of the particular emotional and psychological effects of a given urban environment.  O’Flynn understands Nuit Blanche on one level as a “hybridization of physical space with digital content” and so, in a sense, participants are enacting a quasi-digital derive that significantly augments their real world experience. She states:

Nuit Blanche’s transformational spaces are simultaneously unfamiliar and often magical while remaining emphatically “here” and this duality opens opportunities for new, unexpected modes of engagement with familiar places as spaces of play, performance and interaction.
O’Flynn emphasises that the social media related to Toronto’s Nuit Blanche constitutes a marked collective expression of desire for a transformative experience. This desire is expressed equally through delight at Nuit Blanche’s perceived success in providing such an experience, and through disappointment at its perceived failure to do so—depending on the individual tweeters. As a means of addressing the disjunction between such utopian desires and the continued failure of society to produce a permanent utopian state, she employs a term advocated by architect Bruce Kuwabara: “ourtopia”. Rather than referring to an apparently impossible future state, “…ourtopia exists in the now, in the serendipitous mix of those willing to join in, in the idea of a shared and self-generating public that is fluid, open, and as metamorphic as the city is now and will be in the future.” Through analysing the organically produced and automatically persevered remnants of digitised social engagement at Toronto’s 2010 Nuit Blanche, O’Flynn explores the possibility that radical civic transformation can be achieved through participation and presence, as opposed to opposition and withdrawal. • Read original article

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Performing Arts | Original Article by Aimar Ventsel

THIS IS NOT MY COUNTRY
East German punk and socio-economic processes after German reunification

Aimar Ventsel is a senior researcher in the Department of Ethnology at the University of Tartu, Estonia, and visiting academic of the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick, UK. His article, This is not my country, my country is the GDR: East German Punk and Socioeconomic Processes after German Reunification, was published in an issue of Punk and Post-Punk that focused primarily on Russia and Eastern Europe. A concept developed by one-time Crass drummer Penny Rimbaud has a strong presence in this issue, being cited in articles more than once. His idea, simply, is that punk isn’t.

I imagine we are talking about [...] [s]omething we call ‘punk’. Well, I’ve got the answer to [the question] what is punk. And it is very simple. It isn’t. Period. It’s whatever [...] one makes of it where they make it. It has strong traditions since the beginning of the last century with bohemianism, dadaism and running through to the beatniks. It’s all one and the same thing, a quest for an authentic voice… I think, the overview of authenticity is a difficult problem to deal with as well, because by the very nature of authenticity [...] [i]t is beyond definition. The moment it is defined then it ceases to be. That has been the case of all great cultural movements. Define them and they are dead.
(Rimbaud, Penny (2011), Rottenbeat: Academic and Musical Dialogue With New Russian Punk Workshop, London, 4 May.)

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But even if punk isn’t, its effects most definitely are. If we can’t define punk, we can certainly talk about the influence it has had on politics, fashion, art, and society at large. Ventsel’s article looks at how GDR punk articulates and therefore helps define social attitudes within unified Germany. Of particular focus here, are attitudes towards the state. For Ventsel, the embedded relationship between a sub-culture and its parent society—a relationship observed by University of Birmingham’s Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies—is of integral importance. He states, “Recent developments in the East German punk scene help us to understand how a subcultural ideology is used to address larger social issues through music, behaviour and rhetoric.” Ventsel’s research for this article consists primarily of fieldwork undertaken in Halle, Germany. Between 2006 and 2010, he acted as what he terms a ‘participating observer’, taking part “in all possible gatherings and activities, from football matches to private birthday parties.” He also kept a diary, conducted numerous interviews and took hundreds of photos. Halle dates from the 800s and is now the largest city in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is an ideal place to explore these issues insofar as it has had a strong punk scene, historically, around which extreme post-unification changes have taken place. Under socialism, according to Vestel, Halle had a proud working class culture. This was dramatically undermined by economic turbulence resulting from the process of privatisation. In recent years Halle has experienced intense gentrification,

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largely attributed to the expansion of its universities. There is now a marked social division between local working class youth and the increasing numbers of students arriving from elsewhere in Germany and beyond. Ventsel’s representation of this split is based on the selective use of particular venues. Local ‘football hooligans’ keep to ‘their’ bars, while local sub-culture groups, including punks, generally outright refuse to go anywhere near what they perceive as the ‘student clubs’. In looking at how punk cultures relate to their social, political and economic environment, Ventsel pans out to the broader history of East German punk. He notes that early German punk fostered both left and right wing ideologies. While violently at odds with each other, these groups were even more violently anti-state. In the socialist state, punk sub-cultures also had quite close links with other alternative groups like hippies and metal fans, a circumstance due in part to limited venue space. (The venues most often used for counter-culture activities, oddly enough, were churches, which has a striking resonance now with Pussy Riot’s ‘Punk Prayer’.) During this period, Ostpunk—punk from East Germany—wasn’t strongly distinct from the standard Deutschpunk, “except that eastern punk bands seemed to have fewer sing-along choruses and ‘they often tended to have a saxophone in the band because they wanted to have an intellectual touch’ (Mytze, personal communication, November 2006).” After, and despite, the fall of the wall, the rupture between East and West sharply increased in many ways. Economic instability and rising unemployment in East Germany were deeply felt and hugely divisive—when the state began to implement privatization, only one million employees of four million kept their jobs. This lead to growing social tensions:

East Germany came to see West Germany as the new manifestation of an oppressive state. In West Germany there was a generalised feeling that they were being made to bear the financial burden of modernising the East. This social schism is reflected in today’s punk culture. Though the wall is gone, movement is still instinctively restricted:

‘It is just a fact that Ossi-bands tour in the East (Germany) and Wessi-bands in the West (Germany). We do not go over (to western Germany) that often and they do not want to come over to us either. I do not know why it’s like that, it just is.’
(Zippel, field diary, 1 December 2006)
From Ventsel’s perspective, the reason for this must be the relationship between these two related-but-divided subcultures, and their respective, socioeconomically defined parent cultures.

…in addition to the privatization of enterprises, former GDR universities were reformed in a process called Abwicklung/ implementation, East Germany was flooded with West German products whereas East German ones disappeared from the shops, and in many top official and management positions, people were appointed from Western Germany ‘who always knew everything better’ (referred to by East Germans colloquially as Besserwessi [bettter + western])… H. DeSoto (2000) concludes that the use of the term Besserwessi symbolizes the power imbalance between East and West Germany. (DeSotot, H. (2000), ‘Crossing western boundaries: How East Berlin women observed women researchers from the West after socialism, 1991–1992’, in H. DeSoto and N. Dudwick (eds), Fieldwork Dilemmas: Anthropologists in Postsocialist States, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, pp. 73–99.)

The lack of job prospects, stories of the past when the industry of the GDR was a well-functioning branch of the economy, and the popular view that West Germans are to be blamed for this devastation shape the nature of the Ostpunk world-view… East German punk subculture does not exist outside of society. There is contact through their parents, relatives, jobs and vocational training. As people from a vanishing group of industrial workers in towns that used to be centres of socialist heavy industry, punks are confronted with a complex socio-economic situation. Their anti-state stance becomes the ‘articulation’ of the wider national agenda, a protest against the threat of unemployment and lack of prospects that East German punks as people from a working-class background cannot in many respects avoid. •
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Film Studies | Original Article by Akin Adesokan

SEEING NOLLYWOOD THROUGH CELLULOID
Nollywood and the idea of the Nigerian cinema

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Nollywood is the second largest film industry in the world—it falls behind only Bollywood in terms of production volume. Hollywood only comes in third. Nigerian cinema began its rapid acceleration into this dominant position in the 90s. The adoption of video technologies at that time drastically dropped production costs and opened up vast channels for distribution in the form of home movies. While video is seen as the founding technology of Nollywood, Professor Akin Adesokan wants to illuminate Nollywood’s relationship to its celluloid precursors of the 70s and 80s. He claims, “…in aesthetic and ethical terms, the ‘new Nollywood’ films have much in common with the celluloid films that should be identified and explained.” Beyond dramatic differences in production quality, one of the fundamental reasons this relationship has been very opaque is the elusiveness of celluloid films in comparison to the deluge of available videos. Adesokan: “The one is everywhere palpably as a commodity and irrepressibly as a material force; the other is mythical in its absence…  It is sobering…that most of the celluloid films from the 1980s are nowhere to be seen these days.” Adesokan takes a three part approach to the problem. He looks at industrial aspects of film making with respect to the project of nation-building. He outlines out a number of paradigmatic elements of Nigerian film that were established by celluloid

directors, and which continue to be present in Nollywood. And, finally, he analyses Hostages, a 1996 film by prominent director Tade Ogidan. Hostages was created in the juncture between late-celluloid and early-Nollywood, and so sheds light in both directions. In tracing the industrial emergence of film in Nigeria, Adesokan turns to a volume of essays, The Development and Growth of the Film Industry in Nigeria. These were collected following a pivotal seminar organised in 1977 by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC). He cites a contribution from pioneering filmmaker Sanya Dosunmu as particularly relevant and insightful, stating that its “central thesis is that film is not a mere leisure item, but an instrument of culture in the most fundamental sense, one tied to economic forces in such a manner as to deserve the same level of attention as is given to other industrial forms – steel, oil exploration, agriculture and the like.” Adesokan contends that Nigerian film was first seen as “an industrial form that, given the right economic climate, was guaranteed to lead to a formidable cultural form on the order of Hollywood.” Ultimately, he claims that a lack of synchronism between “the discourse of modernisation and the national discourse” allowed Nollywood productions to thoroughly and rapidly supersede celluloid. Government organisations like the NCAC had a particular vision of

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National discourse in Nigeria is a means to the realization of the principles of social justice, an open-to-theworld idea that Nollywood appears to be pursuing, making a home for itself in the imaginary of others.

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how the cinema industry would develop with respect to the Nigerian nation, but this was not aligned with the reality of how local technological modernisation was unfolding. In conjunction with the ‘official’ industry’s crippling adherence to dated technologies, the multifarious nature of Nigerian audiences, made up of diverse cultural and ethnic groups, played a significant role in supporting the development of a new cinematic form. “Until the emergence of Nollywood, the bulk of Nigerian cinema… was constituted by works that were principally, although not exclusively, addressed to Yoruba audiences.” Adesokan identifies six persistent general characteristics of Nigerian cinema. He claims that they: are narrative; have a close relationship to television serialisation; heavily involve spectacle; proliferate freely and rapidly with one successful production engendering many others of a similar type; involve exhortation, with dramatic elements having an explicitly moral context; use politics as a subcategory of this morality. He thoroughly explicates each point in his article, and finds all of these qualities represented in Ogidan’s Hostages. This film that is in essence an inter-ethnic and inter-class love story set within the spectacular context of an thriller/action. He holds this work in particular to be representative of the ‘generic’ Nigerian film because, “it is filmed in the city, shot in English, presents a socio-political critique in broadly moral terms and projects a national identity in ways that draw attention to the contentiousness of political sovereignty.” The economic circumstances of Hostages are also instructive—

the film was very close to never being produced. It was originally conceived as television series, but Ogidan was unable attract sufficient investment. He ended up selling his own cars to help fund it, and though he was ultimately able to secure sponsorship from a new television station, the situation was always financially precarious. Numerous other attempted celluloid projects were not so fortunate. Although there was a great deal of resistance to the emergence of video as a filmic medium, the opportunities it afforded as far as allowing projects to actually see completion proved more compelling. In his conclusion, Adesokan states:

Nollywood, with all its imperfections, is a happy accident, and represents one possible way of advancing [a Nigerian cinematic] discourse, which need not be simply nationalist. For, in the final account, whatever the nature and the context of the national discourse in Nigeria, it is not an end in itself, but a means to the realization of the principles of social justice, an open-to-the-world idea that Nollywood appears to be pursuing, making a home for itself in the imaginary of others.
He contends that it is precisely Nollywood’s existence as a product, as opposed to as a governmental apparatus of nationalist culture, that allows for this possibility. • Read original article

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Visual Arts | Stella Bruzzi

APPROXIMATE REALITY
Approximation: Documentary, history and the staging of reality

In the abstract for her contribution to the second issue of Moving Image Review & Art Journal (MIRAJ), Stella Bruzzi states that she “explores the idea of ‘approximation’: the layered understanding of historical moments and events via works whose aim is to approximate reality and all its ramifications, rather than more straightforwardly to represent it.” In focussing on artistic works that (re)stage the real events of the September 11th and of Kennedy’s assassination, Bruzzi is specifically examining traumatic historical moments. Towards the beginning of her article, Bruzzi makes a very simple declaration in reference to the instantly generated and obsessively consumed images of the 9/11 attacks: “We wanted to make sense of the unfolding events.” This basic human impulse to understand the nature of any threat may well be the drive behind media saturation of trauma. Once generated, mediated representations become somehow co-extensive with the ‘real’ event and feed into cultural desires for narrative ‘approximations’ of that event. As Bruzzi describes:

planes careering into the Twin Towers, we might legitimately have been struck by the realization that, alongside the proliferation of live images had come an even greater need for the assimilation, contextualization and, most importantly of all, narrativization of factual footage.
Bruzzi connects the notion of approximation to that of haunting, introducing this first with respect to Gerhard Richter’s painting of the Twin Towers, titled, September (2002).

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The representation and immediate aftermath to ‘9/11’ as it is commonly known, had global impact, making us all more acutely aware of the multitude of issues attached to factual representation as a straightforward route to historical understanding. Even as we watched the devastating images of the

According to [art critic] Robert Storr, having ‘initially rendered the full explosive power of the hijacked planes’ collision with the skyscraper in bold tones and colours, Richter felt defeated by the failure of his work to measure up to the vividness direct photographic documentation of that collision achieved’ (2010: 47). What he ultimately produced was a vision of 11 September 2001, as ‘the ghost of a ghost’ (Storr 2010: 50), a hazier, more fragmented image, in which artistic technique… is an essential element of not only the painting’s style but of its critique of the events it depicts.
This ‘ghost of a ghost’ has a somewhat complicated, perhaps even inverted relationship with simulacra. It considers the position that a ‘trace’ holds in relationship to ‘representation’. It may

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We are no longer satisfied with the mere compartmentalization and ordering of data – things can continue to exist in collision or in contradistinction to each other.

be possible to represent something that never existed, but the vaguely rendered yet palpably felt presence of a cultural ghost can only refer to a real—usually traumatic—event. In its explicit ambiguity, an approximation refers more directly back to something else, something that actually exists, or something that once existed. The two art works Bruzzi concentrates on are Bruce Conner’s Report (1963–1967), and Ant Farm and T. R. Uthco’s The Eternal Frame (1976). Report is a short film composed with re-flimed, re-edited and collaged footage from Kennedy’s assassination. Bruzzi asserts:

...it provides the tools for us to not just focus on the assassination, but to examine more broadly the ‘failure’ of factual footage as the reliable purveyor of accurate and complete information. Conner’s collage method interrogates an event but also the ways in which information is processed, contextualized and endlessly reinterpreted or reframed.
For The Eternal Frame, artists Ant Farm and T. R. Uthco went to the original site, Dealey Plaza in Texas, to film a re-enactment of the assassination. However, the resulting work, rather than being a re-enactment itself, instead depicts the process of re-enactment in something approaching its layered entirety. The piece even includes impromptu interviews with tourists who had gathered to watch the artists work. According to Bruzzi, “The Eternal Frame’s radicalism stems from its performativity: it restages the assassination not to create re-enactments that are indistinguishable from their real documentary source, but to mark them out as different from it (in the re-enactments there is no blood, for example, and Jackie is played by a man) at the same time as they cite and recall that real source.”

In her paper, she also discusses an episode of Mad Men that similarly re-enacts not the assassination itself, but the impact that initial reports of it had on Americans. Significantly for the Bruzzi, this was handled by Mad Men’s producers in a manner that left the approximation ‘open’: “Both Mad Men and Report – although from entirely distinct perspectives – are ‘open’ or ‘extended’ approximations that are not merely focused on a central event but are intellectually and dramatically interested in the collisions between multiple events and textual layers and their distended effects.” This open-ness allows for—provokes—a continual process of narrativisation that Bruzzi brings back to haunting as a critique of the ethical and emotional void inherent in mere information, concluding:

I would like to reframe a[n].. impulse towards narrativization or filling gaps as emotional, complex and layered – a desire to complicate, to dispense with linearity and causality, to view complication as a route to not just interpretation but also assimilation. We are no longer satisfied with the mere compartmentalization and ordering of data – things can continue to exist in collision or in contradistinction to each other. ‘Atrocious images’ haunt us not because their horror is finite but quite the opposite: because they relate to, recall and reawaken other images and memories and will themselves never reach a point of definitive closure.•
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