unruly gestures

I am happy to announce the publication of a new article, a video-essay, which I co-authored with the filmmaker and theorist Kamila Kuc. Published in the open access journal Culture Unbound, the basis of this performative article lies in a video Kamila and I made, which deals with and breaks through common preconceptions and assumptions around reading/writing gestures. Around this video, which consist of 7 semi-autonomous cine-paragraphs, we have subsequently composed a textual-visual essay.

Unruly Gestures: Seven Cine-Paragraphs on Reading/Writing Practices in our Post-Digital Condition

Janneke Adema and Kamila Kuc

Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research 2019 11(1): 190-208


A more in depth abstract can be found underneath. The video is both embedded in the PDF and available on the publisher’s website here (http://www.cultureunbound.ep.liu.se/v11/a11/unruly_gestures.mp4)and underneath.

Unruly gestures presents a hybrid performative intervention by means of video, text, and still images. With this experimental essay we aspire to break down various preconceptions about reading/writing gestures. Breaking away from a narrative that sees these gestures foremost as passive entities – as either embodiments of pure subjective intentionality, or as bodily movements shaped and controlled by media technologies (enabling specific sensory engagements with texts) – we aim to reappraise them. Indeed, in this essay we identify numerous dominant narratives that relate to gestural agency, to the media-specificity of gestures, and to their (linear) historicity, naturalness and humanism. This essay disrupts these preconceptions, and by doing so, it unfolds an alternative genealogy of ‘unruly gestures.’ These are gestures that challenge gestural conditioning through particular media technologies, cultural power structures, hegemonic discourses, and the biopolitical self. We focus on reading/writing gestures that have disrupted gestural hegemonies and material-discursive forms of gestural control through time and across media. Informed by Tristan Tzara’s cut-up techniques, where through the gesture of cutting the Dadaists subverted established traditions of authorship, intentionality, and linearity, this essay has been cut-up into seven semi-autonomous cine-paragraphs (accessible in video and print). Each of these cine-paragraphs confronts specific gestural preconceptions while simultaneously showcasing various unruly gestures.

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