Cinema Ethics

My book The Invisibilities of Torture: Political Torture and Visual Evidence in U.S. and Chilean Fiction Cinema (2004 – 2014) will be published with Edinburgh University Press in 2019. The link between moving images and their ethical dimension continues to anchor my current research (e.g. Jung & Bruzzi (eds.) Beyond the Rhetoric of Pain, Routledge 2018 and Jung, “Radical Watching,” in Bolton, Martin-Jones & Sinnerbrink (eds.) Screen Ethics and Global Politics, EUP, forthcoming in 2019).

Agency & GIFs

Under a post-cinema paradigm, I increasingly focus on the question of agency in new media, such as the role affect, the body, performativity and the (re)inscription of existing inequalities in digital formations.

My current project analyses GIFs as a magnifying lens of how the “computer layer” and the “cultural layer” (Manovitch 2001) intersect and interact.  By exploring aspects that are essential to understand the GIF’s usage, cultural pleasures and meaning-making processes, such as temporality, hapticity and affectivity, it is possible to determine the type of agency afforded or inhibited by the format, without absolves its human “ghosts in the machine.” Building on this framework, the final purpose of this investigation is to formulate a GIF ethics as one jigsaw piece for media literacy in the digital age.

I am passionate about collaborating and working creatively across disciplines. To further explore such issues, I co-founded a Research Cluster on Agency Matters in 2018. In this context, I have been invited to co-host an interdisciplinary workshop at Brunel University’s Games Studies Department, and I am convening a lecture series on “Agency and Digital Media” in Tübingen. During an Early Career Fellowship at Warwick, I developed and produced an interdisciplinary podcast, Artificial Intelligence & Gender Trouble. together with colleagues from various disciplines such as neuroscience and psychology, we explored the gendered representation of AI, fembots and sex robots in film and popular culture.

Torture and Cinema

In my PhD thesis, I explored the relation of two cases of torture to their fictionalization, set in two very different media landscapes: the torture committed during the War in Iraq, and the systematic torture under the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. Beyond analysing the films’ representation of torture – or its telling “presence by absence” – , I showed how some films succeeded in making some of the “invisible,” collective, long-term consequences of torture perceivable to the audience. They are able to expand our knowledge of torture by going beyond an ocularcentric epistemology. Despite the massive differences between the two cases, the comparative framework showed also disturbing similarities and continuities – among them lack of accountability, policies of misguided amnesty, revisionism, collective or at least official amnesia, as well as a largely unexamined experiences of entire groups, such as bystanders.


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