Volker Pantenburg (ed.)

Cinematographic Objects

Things and Operations

Texts by Marcus Becker, Francesco Casetti, Thomas Elsaesser, Lorenz Engell, Ulrike Hanstein, Rosa John, Esther Leslie, Volker Pantenburg, Lesley Stern, Annette Urban, and Kenneth White

Things and objects have been at the center of theoretical debate for some years. However, the question what Film and Media Studies can contribute to questions of human and non-human agency has been largely absent from these discussions. The essays in this book address this lack and scrutinize cinema’s specific way of dealing with objects. If we consider cinema not as a mere mode of representation but as an epistemological machine: What does it know about things and objects? How does it process the relations between humans and non-humans? Alternating theoretical approaches with individual case studies, this book provides answers from different perspectives and sheds light on the peculiar ontology of the “Cinematographic Object.”


» Mirjam Kappes in MEDIENwissenschaft 2 (2016)

Volker Pantenburg is Professor for Film Theory at Freie Universität Berlin. His publications include: Farocki/Godard. Film as Theory (2016, original publication in german 2006), Ränder des Kinos. Godard – Wiseman – Benning – Costa (2010), Screen Dynamics. Mapping the Borders of Cinema (ed. together with Gertrud Koch and Simon Rothöhler, 2012) and Kino Enthusiasmus. Die Schenkung Heiko Bachstein (ed. together with Katrin Richter, 2016). From 2010 to 2013 he led the Junior Fellow Programme „Theory and History of Cinematographic Objects“ at the IKKM Weimar.



The Cinematographic State of Things

Volker Pantenburg

I. Screen Objects


Objects on the Screen: Tools, Things, Events

Francesco Casetti


Round and Round: Horses, Carousels, and the Meta-Cinema of Mechanical Motion

Thomas Elsaesser

II. Liquid Objects


Roman Water: On the Cinematography of the Aqueduct

Marcus Becker


The Peculiar Ecstasy of the Animated Object

Esther Leslie

III. Temporal Objects


On Objects in Series: Clocks and Mad Men

Lorenz Engell


“It once was fire”: This Thing that Once Was a Body

Lesley Stern

IV. Technical Objects


Bolex and the Act of Filming

Rosa John


Strangeloves: From/De La Région Centrale, Air Defense Radar Station Moisie, and Media Cultures of the Cold War

Kenneth White

V. Image Objects


A Thing-Grammar of Film Qua Inventory of Images: John Baldessari and John Stezaker

Annette Urban


Rear Projections: Images of the Setting and Settings of the Image

Ulrike Hanstein