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"Re-imagining Sociology, Re-imagining Society": SAANZ conference, 2013

Activity: Conference participationParticipation in conference


'Seeing the world in three dimensions: Cinematic journeys, ‘imperial visuality’ and unchained cameras'.
Abstract: In this paper I propose that the emerging aesthetic and narrative conventions of 3D cinema are structured by a restricted ideological conceptualization of space. In particular, I suggest that the exoticized spaces of 3D cinema are structured by a racializing discourse within which the perilous journeys undertaken by heroic protagonists are depicted in terms of a hazardous colonial expedition into terra incognita that is uncivilized, primitive and largely uninhabited. The mobile cinematic ‘eye’ roaming over the real and fantastic spaces depicted in these films is, effectively, an adventurer’s eye that scans, maps, penetrates and, by implication, colonizes these unfamiliar, remote and inhospitable spaces from deep space to the ocean floor. 3D cinema’s cartographic visuality is motivated in part by ethnographic curiosity and archaeological desire; it reproduces an explorer’s gaze.
Through close reference to two recent 3D films, the action film, Sanctum (Grierson, 2011), and the documentary, Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Herzog, 2011), this paper discusses the ways in which, despite the medium’s capacity to take us on unexpected journeys through time and space, 3D cinema leads us backwards again and again along well-trodden paths through spaces ordered around racialized, imperialist, and strictly gendered hierarchies.


Title"Re-imagining Sociology, Re-imagining Society": SAANZ conference, 2013
LocationUniversity of Auckland
CountryUnited Kingdom
Degree of recognitionInternational event