Sexuate Subjects: Politics, Poetics, Ethics

  • Kristen Kreider (Invited speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


This international interdisciplinary conference seeks to generate new theories and practices of subjectivity – ‘sexuate subjects’ – through contemporary poetic and political research in the visual arts, humanities and social sciences, and with reference to Luce Irigaray’s theory of ‘sexuate difference’. It explores how these positive ethical subjectivities for women and men are constructed through spatial, material and textual feminist poetics and politics. Over three days, it will examine especially how sexuate subjects (people/disciplines) aid interdisciplinary responses to contemporary global crises of community conflict, social and environmental wellbeing.

Sexuate Subjects will focus on these issues as they are expressed in political, poetic and ethical practice in disciplines including: architecture, art, literature, modern languages, philosophy, the political and social sciences. Nine panels and invited keynote speakers examine the following themes:
- environmental and social crises
- sustainable ecologies
- poetic communities, pedagogies, voices and bodies
- the politics of bio-medicine, body-rights, family and well-being

By examining these complex expressions of our physical and psychic lives through artefact, body, dialogue, image, installation and word, the event will provide a platform of diverse approaches which can help us build sexuate futures for all. Such approaches aim to contribute towards developing more nuanced understandings of the diversity of global cultures and their academic and public intersections.

Paper: 'Time, Space and Empathy: A Material Poetics of the Film Image' This paper looks at a theory and practice of the film image as it figures in the writing and film work of acclaimed Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, with specific reference to the film Nostalghia (1983). In his writing, Tarkovsky identifies what is unique to his concept of the film image through an emphasis on time. This emphasis is evidenced in Tarkovksy’s film work through his signature style of the long take and tracking shot – both a means of, to borrow his words, ‘imprinting time’ onto the frame. Imbued with a sense of time, I argue, the film-image gives rise to a corporeal understanding of place, and this is the basis for appreciating a phenomenology of the film image in relation to place. In light of Luce Irigary’s feminism I then ask: how does sexual difference, as an existential and biological ‘given,’ inform this corporeal understanding of place and, in turn, affect our theorisation of the film image? Crucially, Tarkovsky predicates his discussion of the film image on the poetic image, thereby suggesting that not only time and filmic syntax, but also the symbolic properties of the poetic image are intrinsic to the complexity of meaning in the film image. This is evidenced by Tarkovsky’s own manipulation of the symbolic properties of word, image, object and gesture in his films. In the second part of this paper, I explore how the symbolic properties of the poetic image combine with the material properties of the film image, as discussed in the first part, and to what effect. In doing so, I address the theme of this conference strand: ‘Why Poetry Matters’.
Period3 Dec 2010
Event typeOther