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All that Gothic

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Edited By Agnieszka Lowczanin and Dorota Wisniewska

This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the history, aesthetics and key themes of Gothic, the main issues and debates surrounding the genre along with the approaches and theories that have been applied to Gothic texts and films. The volume discusses a wide range of 18 th and 19 th century texts and moves into 20 th century literature and film. It explores the cultural resonances created by the genre and raises a variety of issues, including the ways in which Gothic monstrosity mimics same-sex desire and social transgression. The texts included in the volume argue that Gothic film and fiction animated the darker shadows of the dominant culture.
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Gothic Convention and the Aesthetics of Failure

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Agnieszka Izdebska

The notion of “the aesthetics of failure” which features in the title of this paper requires further explanation not because it is uncommon and therefore may seem unclear, but because when it does, it appears in a variety of contexts. The term is applied both in relation to certain genres of electronic music, but also in relation to the visual arts, especially contemporary photography and video. In the field of visual arts this term pertains to the use of a flawed image, one with interruptions, accompanied by noise and seemingly uncontrollable modifications of texture and colour. Glitch art is, for example, described as the aestheticisation of digital or analogue failures which either appear naturally or are artificially elicited by prior manipulation with the recording device. This latter aspect is an essential part of lomography – a variant of this phenomenon connected with the use of the Russian LOMO camera – which gave rise to lomographic subculture. This paper will examine cinematographic narrative strategies inspired by the aesthetics of failure in contemporary horror film.

The effect of applying the aesthetics of failure is the fragmentary quality of the image, its palimpsest nature – the overlapping of different layers of representations of reality – albeit, a flawed representation. At the same time this technique makes it clear that we are dealing with representation, that is with something constructed, something that relies on the use of a specific tool which is never neutral. This tool, as in the case...

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