Seeing Film between the Lines: Remediation and Aesthetics of the Film Periodical (SP 8)


Subproject 8 examines media relations in illustrated film peridocials. What is understood to be a photo and what is understood to be a film if these media are approached from the perspective of the magazine? And conversely, how does the medium of the film periodical distinguish and position itself in relation to these media?

Hitherto, research has primarily considered film periodicals as secondary sources – the main focus has been on journalistic, political or historical aspects. SP 8, on the other hand, foregrounds the visual design and mediality of the illustrated film periodical. This triangular relationship between photography, film and the magazine allows reflection on each type of media from the perspective of the other two. The aim is to observe how photographs in film periodicals are placed in relation to one another and serialised. How is the movement of film transformed into a temporal order specific to the periodical via the medium of the photograph? The project also seeks to examine how periodicals are demarcated by comparing film periodicals with other multimedia print publications (posters, collectibles, other periodicals etc.). How are special interest magazines and their topics produced in competition with, in contrast to, but also in combination with other (print) media?

Further, illustrated film periodicals contain a fusion of different media logics. While film is characterised by its unfolding in the here and now and the transient nature of its reception and as a complete work, the photograph is understood as pointing to the past, as a medium of permanence and as a fragment. Photographs of films, on the other hand, point both back and forwards and are embedded in a textual, pictorial and structural context: they refer to the film the reader has yet to watch or will only ever see via the photographs themselves and/or they point back to a film experience that has already taken place. Furthermore, photographs in film periodicals do not feature in isolation; rather they share the pages with other elements and contributions. It is this extraordinary use of photographs referring to films while remaining part of the periodical as a means of visualisation that forms the focus of SP 8.

Another aim is to examine the transformation of the technologies associated with the three specific media. For any analysis of film periodicals, it is essential to consider the techniques of image reproduction used to print the photographs, how printing practices of such periodicals change over time and to what extent this was accompanied by changes in layout. A central characteristic of photographs in film periodicals is that they were usually film stills, that is, photographs of re-enacted scenes produced separately by a still photographer, rather than images (film frames) from the film in question. In the period under analysis, film also underwent several technical developments to which the illustrated periodicals responded in terms of their layout.

The corpus of material consists of German and American illustrated film periodicals from the beginnings of the genre to the 1970s. The technical transformations in all three media represent cross-sectional foci integrated into the longitudinal historical perspective. The aim of the subproject is to provide an initial approach to the visuality and mediality of the illustrated periodical. To this end, a relational database will be created, supplementing media-reflexive questions and close readings with qualitative and quantitative data.

Visit the Webpage of the Reseach Project here