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Just numbers. Challenging statistical reasoning in Peter Watkins’s La Commune (Paris, 1871)


Liptay, Fabienne (2019). Just numbers. Challenging statistical reasoning in Peter Watkins’s La Commune (Paris, 1871). Widok. Teorie i Praktyki Kultury Wizualnej, (25):1-23.

Abstract

The essay deals with the political aesthetics of cinema with regard to the use of extras. It is argued that what is usually considered as aesthetic abundance or luxury, especially in the Hollywood historical epic, which relies heavily on the use of extras, should be re-addressed from a social perspective as lack or shortage. Given the etymological proximity that exists between statistics (Statistik) and extras (Statisten) in German, the author proposes to think of extras as being produced by operations of numbering and counting that are deeply entangled into the political history of establishing and maintaining social and state order. In this context, Peter Watkins’s La Commune (Paris, 1871) (2000), a film about the Paris Commune, is discussed as critical engagement with the foundational practices of state order by challenging the statistical reasoning and thought that is so closely related to the figure of the extra.

Abstract

The essay deals with the political aesthetics of cinema with regard to the use of extras. It is argued that what is usually considered as aesthetic abundance or luxury, especially in the Hollywood historical epic, which relies heavily on the use of extras, should be re-addressed from a social perspective as lack or shortage. Given the etymological proximity that exists between statistics (Statistik) and extras (Statisten) in German, the author proposes to think of extras as being produced by operations of numbering and counting that are deeply entangled into the political history of establishing and maintaining social and state order. In this context, Peter Watkins’s La Commune (Paris, 1871) (2000), a film about the Paris Commune, is discussed as critical engagement with the foundational practices of state order by challenging the statistical reasoning and thought that is so closely related to the figure of the extra.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Cinema Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
900 History
Language:English
Date:2019
Deposited On:03 Feb 2021 07:37
Last Modified:03 Feb 2021 07:37
Publisher:Instytut Badan Literackich Polskiej Akademii Nauk
ISSN:2300-200X
Additional Information:Englischer Titel der Zeitschrift: View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture.
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.36854/widok/2019.25.2092
Official URL:https://www.pismowidok.org/en/

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