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ALEXANDER V. MARKOV
Russian State University for the Humanities,
APPLICABILITY OF HAUNTOLOGY TO THE STUDY OF THE ORIGINS OF SCREEN ARTS
Abstract. The article discusses the possibility of making hauntology one of the methods of studying screen arts at the stage of their formation, which might make it possible to correctly interpret the use of early screen arts techniques in later cinema and television broadcasts. Hauntology is a method backed by a program of research into social life and the role of associations in maintaining stable communicative structures, which program is based on the assumption of “ghosts” as cultural actors inherently belonging to the cultural order. Based on the ideas of Jacques Derrida and Mark Fischer, going back to Sigmund Freud’s methods of studying the “uncanny” and “effect of reality”, hauntology claims that ghosts determine the modes of nostalgia and user orientation of a number of screen and visual arts, in particular, the visual principles of modern musical culture.
Although hauntology researchers focus extensively on the world of ghosts in the culture of the 19th century, they limit themselves to private remarks and often optimistically presume the fact that the plot rationality ultimately triumphs over the power of ghosts. However, this contradicts both the actual history of the culture then, and the basic principles of hauntology, which asserts that ghosts cannot be fully rationalized. Therefore, the article proposes a visual-critical hauntology, which allows us to explain how visualization techniques contributed to the rationalization of ghostly existence, and how, to create the effect of reality, a screen was required as the basic method of this visualization. Vladimir Toporov’s work on the mystical prose of Turgenev provides the main source of visual-critical hauntology thus proving the need for screen projection to express the author’s position in the era under consideration.
The article establishes a connection between the ghostly statuses and the need for a screen reflection mode, which provides a consistent description of psychological reality. It is pointed out that a number of literary experiments of the Victorian era require a screen medium as a basis for understanding the independent sequence of events, from the plot of internal psychological transformation in Dickens’s A Christmas Carol to the “unreliable storyteller” technique in Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. Visual-critical hauntology, referring to the history of psychology, the decisions of directors, especially Hitchcock, indisputably proves that it is possible to cope with ghosts and rationalize them not with the help of everyday life staging, as it is usually considered, but with the help of its adaptation, which allows to apply emerging technology for creation long-term effect of reality.
Keywords: hauntology, visual-critical hauntology, ghost, screen arts, visual arts, visualization, Victorian era, rationalism in literature, visualization technologies