Recent and Forthcoming Publications
Handmade: The Moving Image in the Artisanal Mode. (Under review at the University of California Press)
Co-editor, Nam June Paik: Selected Writings (Forthcoming, The MIT Press)
“Between Canvas and Celluloid: Painted Films and Filmed Paintings,” MIRAJ: The Moving Image Review & Art Journal, 3.2 (2015): 162-177.
“Nam June Paik’s TV Crown and the Origins of Media Interactivity,” Millennium Film Journal (Fall 2013): 88-93.
“Eradicating the Psychic Space Between Eye and Ear: Synthetic Film Sound’s Challenge to the Index,” Animation Journal 20 (2012): 51-85.
“Analog Circuit Palettes, Cathode Ray Canvases: Digital’s Analog, Experimental Past,” Film History 24.2 (Spring 2012): 135–57.
“The Joshua Light Show: Concrete Practices and Ephemeral Effects,” American Art 22.2 (Summer 2008): 17–21.
“Lumia Across Media: The Legacy of Thomas Wilfred’s Light Art,” in Thomas Wilfred (exhibition catalog, Yale University Art Gallery, forthcoming, 2017).
“Titles Are Forever: The Bond Title Sequences and Digital Culture,” in Bond Beyond Bond: Alternative Perspectives on the James Bond Franchise (Forthcoming, 2017).
“Echoes of the Earth: Handmade Film Ecologies,” in Process Cinema: Handmade Films in the Digital Era, eds. Scott MacKenzie and Janine Marchessault (Forthcoming, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016).
“ICYMI: The Moving Image Online” in The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities (Forthcoming, Routledge, 2016).
“Getting Messy: Chance and Glitch in Contemporary Video Art,” in Abstract Video (University of California Press, 2015), 98-115.
“The Right Stuff?: Handmade special effects in commercial and industrial film,” in Special Effects: New Histories, Theories, Contexts, eds. Bob Rehak, Dan North, and Michael Duffy (BFI/Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 224-240.
“From Canvas to Screen: Weimar Germany and the Birth of Abstract Cinema,” in A New History of German Cinema, eds. M. Richardson and J. Kapczynski (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2012): 98-104.
“Gregory Zinman in conversation with Christopher Phillips,” in The 8 Train, eds. Josh Melnick and Angie Keefer (New York: Art in General, 2012): 61-67.
“Object Lesson: The Hologram,” The Atlantic online (Forthcoming, 2016).
“As Always . . . I Love Your TV-Reportages More Than TV Itself”: Nam June Paik’s Letters to John J. O’Connor (Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2014).
“Postwar: The Films of Daniel Eisenberg,” Afterimage 38.6 (May/June 2011): 41.
“Movement as Meaning in Experimental Film, by Daniel Barnett,” Movement: A Media Studies E-Journal 1.1 (Winter 2009).
Is it possible to define cinema? What is the relationship between the moving image and the other arts? How can other art practices inform our understanding of the moving image? What are the parameters of screen studies? These are the questions animating my research.
My current work attempts to address these issues via a study of handmade cinema—moving image works that are created by drawing, painting, or scratching directly onto celluloid—and the impact of these works on our conception of the moving image. I contend that these handmade films, which reject cinema’s putative “indexical relation” to reality in favor of abstract form, otherworldly color, textural richness, and sensory depth, serve as ideal objects with which to challenge—and subsequently, to reshape—our definition of what constitutes the moving image. I argue that this redefinition of the moving image, in turn, expands the parameters of screen studies, and forges a path to connect the moving image to the other arts.
Handmade films were—and continue to be—made by artists who seek to transcend the limitations of sculpture and painting. Rather than represent the world by photographic means, these artists create new ways of seeing via abstractions in time. Through an investigation of the conceptual underpinnings of, as well as the technical approaches to this strain of experimental filmmaking, I bring to light affinities between the avant-gardes in film and in the other arts that have previously been considered divergent. Recovering the tools, methods, and intentions of this shadow history of the moving image will enlighten our understanding of the intersection of art and cinema in the twentieth century. What is more, as the means of moving image production continue to change, and as artists increasingly engage with the moving image, this history will enrich our appreciation of what is to come.
I believe that studying the procedural and conceptual approaches to these diverse strains of craft-informed, time-based media practices allows for the recovery of neglected intermedial works from the realms of light, kinetic, and performance art. My goal, in this investigation, is to support the assertion that it is time to stop asking the question, “What is cinema?,” in favor of a more productive inquiry: “How do we best understand the moving image?”