• Ekphrastic Temporality

    Shaj Mathew (see profile)
    Civilization, Modern, Persian literature, Foreign films, Literature
    Item Type:
    Modernity, Temporality, world cinema, World literature
    Permanent URL:
    In moments of cinematic ekphrasis, a painting, often a portrait, allegorizes the experience of uneven development. During the ekphrastic moment, the painting—ostensibly the spatial art par excellence—introduces multiple temporalities into the film. Some of these heterogeneous temporalities are surreal and reversible, while others are nonsecular and nonteleological. Ekphrastic temporalities are features of world cinema more broadly, but this essay develops its account through analyses of Abbas Kiarostami's Like Someone in Love, Certified Copy, and Rug. The multiple temporalities found in these films analogize the multiple temporalities of modernity itself. While Benedict Anderson once theorized the nation via Walter Benjamin's notion of homogeneous empty time, this essay suggests restoring the cinema, the nation, and the world to their primordial temporal heterogeneity. By extension, the simultaneity of these temporalities transcends linear accounts of modernization that underwrite the developmentalist conception of history, which severs the modern West from the belated rest. Thus, when a nation is said to have revolted against modernity, as Kiarostami's Iran was said to have done in 1979, precisely nothing of the sort has transpired. Moments of ekphrastic temporality instead allegorize a portrait of global modernity in which any given nation contains any number of temporalities at any given time. The literal and figurative world picture they illuminate explains why even the most progressive of nations can frequently seem to go backward.
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
    All Rights Reserved


    Item Name: pdf ekphrastic-temporality-nlh-shaj-mathew-.pdf
      Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 207