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European Online Journal of Natural and Social Sciences

Audience Embodiment in Haptic Space of Film

Mohammad Bagher Ghahramani, Marzieh Piravi Vanak, Hamed Mazaherian, Alireza Sayyad, Emad Moaddab


Film theoreticians, in the early stages of practice, emphasized the corporeal characteristics of the medium and the relationship between cinematic space and the spectator’s body. Besides, in the opposite direction to the early cinema concentration on audience bodily connection with the film, by the evolution of cinematic language, major streams were formed towards narrative identification. This transition led to the long supremacy of linguistic and psychological based theories of film. In the decades of the seventies and eighties, the connection between cinema apparatus and the renaissance perspective formed the fundamental discourse of film theories. Writers such as Baudry, Metz and Heath analyzed the liaison between the viewer and the screen based on the perspective model. Roots for advent of perspective theory must be sought in the optical theory of the Ancient Greek. Optical theory was based on a perceived distance between the subject as a seer and a corresponding object being seen, and provided the necessary conditions for the formation of the pattern of western thinkers to ponder the world order from a distance. The emergence of perspective understanding in the renaissance period helped the revival of optical spatial pattern that in turn consolidated the position of the subject and strengthened the distance between subject and object. In recent years, it seems apparent that there have been attempts to return to the body-centered theories of early cinema, and to accentuate the relation between the viewer body and the cinematic space. In the other direction of the dominance of optical film theories that ignore corporeal-sensual existence of the audience, it is appropriate that the bodily and haptic film theory would be reconsidered. Thus, by lending from Merleau-Ponty idea of the embodied subject, the film experience could be defined based on the experience of the embodiment of the audience in filmic space.


Renaissance Perspective, Haptical Cinema, the Viewer Body, the Embodied Subject, Film Space

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