The Process Genre: Cinema and the Aesthetic of Labor

The Process Genre: Cinema and the Aesthetic of Labor

by Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky

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From IKEA assembly guides and “hands and pans” cooking videos on social media to Mister Rogers's classic factory tours, representations of the step-by-step fabrication of objects and food are ubiquitous in popular media. In The Process Genre Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky introduces and theorizes the process genre—a heretofore unacknowledged and untheorized transmedial genre characterized by its representation of chronologically ordered steps in which some form of labor results in a finished product. Originating in the fifteenth century with machine drawings, and now including everything from cookbooks to instructional videos and art cinema, the process genre achieves its most powerful affective and ideological results in film. By visualizing technique and absorbing viewers into the actions of social actors and machines, industrial, educational, ethnographic, and other process films stake out diverse ideological positions on the meaning of labor and on a society's level of technological development. In systematically theorizing a genre familiar to anyone with access to a screen, Skvirsky opens up new possibilities for film theory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478007074
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication date: 03/20/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 342
File size: 47 MB
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About the Author

Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky is Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago.

Table of Contents

A Note on the Art  ix
Acknowledgments  xi
Introduction: The Process Genre  1
1. The Process Film in Context  51
2. On Being Absorbed in Work  77
3. Aestheticizing Labor  116
4. Nation Building  146
5. The Limits of the Genre  193
Epilogue: The Spoof That Proves the Rule  219
Notes  239
Bibliography  287
Index 305

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