Edited By Agnieszka Lowczanin and Dorota Wisniewska
Gothic Convention and the Aesthetics of Failure
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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