This chapter argues that literature and contemporary art can and do play an important decentering role in accounts of our culture and of how the world works. It challenges conventional attachments to single cultures and the notion of belonging as increasingly understood as belonging globally, contrasting the notion of the “global” with that of the “planetary”. It suggests that planetarity, as outlined in works such as The Planetary Turn by Elias and Moraru, is a desired way forward in order to achieve a balanced belonging rooted in environmental, decentered ethics and in aesthetics. Citing contemporary art-work such as the installations of Rirkrit Tiravanija, the “atlas” works of Brigitte Williams and the performance art of Guillermo Gómez Peña, the paper advocates an approach that favours the periphery rather than an all-invading Western-dominated centre. Such an approach serves to emphasize the contours of the world to the point where we can think the world as a single, immense periphery, thereby enabling us to see the “Other” as someone we can genuinely get to know.
While the early films of Spanish director Luis Buñuel have proven easy to categorize within the albeit late Surrealist and avant-garde period in France of the late 1920s, not least because of Buñuel’s own proclamations of allegiance to the movement, the further experimentation with film language evident in his later films has earned him the reputation as one of the founding fathers of what would be defined – much later and in comparatively incoherent terms – as European auteur cinema. This essay seeks to determine the nature of the “experimental” in Buñuel’s postavant-gardist work.
This chapter traces the cinematic conception of French feminist and pioneer filmmaker Germaine Dulac as it evolved in her films of the 1920s. Drawing upon sources from Dulac’s personal collection, it explores the artistic influences (especially from music and dance) and the social aspects of Dulac’s approach, not only through her writings and films, but also through the historical conditions of their production. Setting aside the common division between Dulac’s commercial and avant-garde films, this chapter emphasizes the coherence and continuity of her vision across her narrative and non-narrative works, in their evolution from figuration to abstraction, and in her search for a “specific” or “pure” cinema.