DOSSIER: Thomas Elsaesser
New Materialities and More: A Selection of Essays
Touch and Gesture: On the Borders of Intimacy
Trapped in Amber: The Materialities of Memory
Is a Factory a Museum?
Stigmar Polke: Films
Paradoxes and Parapraxes: On (the Limits of) Cinematic Representation in Post-Conflict Situations
Denise N. Green
Fashion and Fearlessness in the Wharton Studio's Silent Film Serials, 1914-1918
Linda C. Ehrlich
Turning Away from the Fire: A New Look at Films of Kore-eda Hirokazu
In the dossier that opens Framework 60.1, New Materialities and More: A Selection of Essays, we have republished some vital Thomas Elsaesser essay that have been out of print or not easily accessible for some time. In March 2008, on receiving the Society of Cinema and Media Studies' Distinguished Career Achievement Award, Elsaesser remarked that his career was one that had been forwarded by "productive misunderstandings," a route in which new ways of looking at a given subject emerged in constant and unexpected, even, at first, seemingly erroneous ways. Nevertheless, these proved to be serendipitous and eye-opening. His career has also been notable for the numerous publications, reprints, and translations of his work across a wide range of publishers. This scope has allowed readers to participate in their own "productive misunderstandings" as each iteration of work such as Elsaesser's, which reflects so conscientiously on culture, allows any of us to reform, re-access, rethink, and, in so doing, to establish new thoughts, not only about a given subject but in creating paths that open new ways of thinking about a subject and how to work on it.
The two essays that follow the dossier each take a single subject -- in this case a celebrity star and a director -- and trace the diversity and the bonding that each engendered and each represented. Looking at the fashion setting of silent era stars, such as Irene Castle and Pearl White in their years at the Wharton Studio, and at the use of fire in Japanese culture and its strategic appearance in the films of director Kore-eda Hirokazu, the two authors show how "everyday practices" are creative explosions. Exploring each topic as a small, rich culture within the nexus of a large, active culture, the essays -- Denise N. Green's "Fashion and Fearlessness in the Wharton Studio's Silent Film Serials, 1914-1918" and Linda C. Ehrlcih's "Turning Away from the Fire: A New Look at Films of Kore-eda Hirokazu" -- bring a vibrant perspective to how the larger culture is made up of the energy of the in-the-moment work from generation to generation.
– Drake Stutesman