Representing the aesthetics of movement in screen and print narratives

Christopher Lin

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated] This thesis examines the production of bodily movement as a key formal and thematic concern in recent cultural productions. The spectacle of the body in motion has elicited extensive artistic meditation in current visual and literary texts that not only inscribe innovative expressions of movement but also cultivate new ideas about what it means to move. I suggest that the way in which one perceives and makes sense of movement, and the conception of what movement is as a phenomenon, is contingent on the narrative form and content of the apparatuses that are employed to represent this movement. In demonstrating this claim, I specifically select cultural productions that poignantly illuminate the act of moving as a creative and aesthetically inclined pursuit. While movement is a universal and often mundane condition of human existence, there are narrative sites that seek to transcend this purely functionalist perception of human movement, that glean and articulate something of the vitality, surging energy, gracefulness, and expressive craft of bodies in motion.

The study of movement has become a key focal point in recent critical scholarship, particularly in light of the emergence of “mobilities studies” across the social sciences.“Mobilities studies” presents a critical paradigm that scrutinises the various ways in which experiences of movement inform the social, commercial, work-related, and leisurely dimensions of contemporary society. In doing so, it takes a keen interest in how movement underlies social procedures, institutions, and relations of power. Departing from this line of enquiry, this thesis is less concerned with how movement functions in a social sense than in movement’s aesthetic function: what compels my attention so forcefully are the mechanics through which movement is textually produced via the narrative media that form the foci of my chapters. Indeed, this premise of textuality, the set of mechanisms pertaining to a narrative form and the content shaped by this form, comprises the core of the definition of “movement” offered in my analysis. That is, movement not only refers to the physical actions of a body but also, in conjunction with this, the textual rearticulation of this motion through the cogs and conventions of a given medium. Movement not only takes place in physical space but also in the spaces of visual and textual representation.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2013


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