This panel invites participants to consider the shared material spaces and embodied practices of film viewing. Based on ethnographic research at sites of film exhibition invited panellists will cover institutions, practices and material spaces that articulate sensual and social experience of film.
This panel invites participants to consider how the shared material spaces and embodied practices of film viewing contribute to understanding the social dimension of cinema. In order to do this the panel proposes to go beyond the now common Kantian association of aesthetics with art, to interrogate an older and broader Aristotelian notion of aesthetics as the embodied sensual perception of the world as a way rethinking the relationships between popular film and its audiences. While film studies approaches have used the notion of spectatorship to theorize how film viewers are constituted and positioned by the textual aspects of films, this panel will instead consider how the institutions, practices and material spaces of film exhibition help to articulate sensual and social experience of film as a shared performative encounter. From an anthropological perspective the study of how films address their spectators must also coincide with how audiences are constituted through the social space and embodied sensibility of film viewing. Based on ethnographic research at sites of film exhibition invited panellists will cover such topics as cinema architecture, the emergence of the multiplex cinema, the gendered and class organization of space and seating arrangements, and décor amongst other related issues. Though the panellists already contacted will focus on South Asia, we are open to contributors with other regional interests.