This project consists of four cross-disciplinary components:

  • Six unique Kent-Mutoscopes: contemporary made hand cranked cinema devices, with work by national and international contemporary video artists, animation-artists, and filmmakers.
  • One-day symposium on Cinema and Embodiment: The Aesthetics of Pornography
  • Screening of short feminist, lesbian, queer, trans pornographic films
  • A series of creative workshops where participants will be able to design and create their own reel, by using a variety of media: photography, drawing, painting. A professional art instructor or artist will lead the workshops.

Taking the Mutoscope —an early motion picture device— as leitmotiv, this project will investigate the conjunction of public/private, visibility/invisibility, and proximity/distance in the film experience. The Mutoscope dominated the coin-in-slot peep-show business in Britain during the turn of the century. Operating on the same principle of a flipbook —showing a reel of 1000 images— the device is hand-operated by one person at a time. The viewer is thus able to influence the cinematic temporality of the film, creating his/her own unique viewing experience in a tactile relationship with the cinematic apparatus.

The film experience has often been equated with the distant sense of vision, evoking a disembodied and passive spectator. However, over the last few years there has emerged an increased interest in exploring the synaesthetic quality of cinema. The way in which cinema elicits the proximal senses, most importantly touch, evokes an active and embodied engagement with the screen. These interests range from the haptic quality of contemporary “touch-screen culture” to recent experimentations with a “carnal aesthetics” in art and independent film.