Mediating Potency and Fear: Action Movies’ Affect

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Resumé

Action movies participate in the administration of fear [Virilio, P., 2012. The administration of fear. Translated by Ames Hodges. Los Angeles, CA: Semiotext(e)], and the networked affects of contemporary warfare [Anderson, B., 2013. Targeting affective life from above: morale and airpower. In: P. Adey, M. Whitehead, and A.J. Williams, eds. From above: war, violence and verticality. London: Hurst & Company]. Through a sensory assault of intense bass soundtracks, kinetic camera movements, and intense CGI effects action movies work to produce what Steven Shaviro has termed ‘intensity effects’ [Shaviro, S., 2010. Post-cinematic affect. Winchester: Zero Books]. These intensity effects mediate between the age of terror's ecology of fear [Massumi, Brian, 2002. Parables for the virtual: movement, affect, sensation. Durham: Duke University Press] and our bodies. Rather than producing fear, action movies work to dispel fear by producing potency and bolstering resolve. We can thus understand action movies as participating in the biopolitical effects of contemporary warfare. Affect is globalized and intensified through action movies’ aesthetics, with the aim of producing a kind of drone subject. Robin James significantly posits a drone atmosphere where our perceptual limit reconfigures through ‘droning’ – the creation of an affective timbre [James, R., 2013. Drones, sound, and super-panoptic surveillance. Cyborgology]. As James argues, ‘[d]roning rivets you to material conditions, affects, and sensations that compel you to behave in specific ways, and not in others’ (n.p.). So while drones currently work overseas to target morale, action movies work on the home front to target our potency and resolve and so engender a mode of sensation that also functions as action. Affect works as a translator, where sensation is displaced into the feeling of having acted. In having acted, we are led to believe that we are safe from fear, which can be understood as a pharmakon. We are kept safe by action movies’ mediation of potency and fear.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftCultural Studies
Vol/bind32
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)43-62
ISSN0950-2386
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2018

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aesthetics
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abstract = "Action movies participate in the administration of fear [Virilio, P., 2012. The administration of fear. Translated by Ames Hodges. Los Angeles, CA: Semiotext(e)], and the networked affects of contemporary warfare [Anderson, B., 2013. Targeting affective life from above: morale and airpower. In: P. Adey, M. Whitehead, and A.J. Williams, eds. From above: war, violence and verticality. London: Hurst & Company]. Through a sensory assault of intense bass soundtracks, kinetic camera movements, and intense CGI effects action movies work to produce what Steven Shaviro has termed ‘intensity effects’ [Shaviro, S., 2010. Post-cinematic affect. Winchester: Zero Books]. These intensity effects mediate between the age of terror's ecology of fear [Massumi, Brian, 2002. Parables for the virtual: movement, affect, sensation. Durham: Duke University Press] and our bodies. Rather than producing fear, action movies work to dispel fear by producing potency and bolstering resolve. We can thus understand action movies as participating in the biopolitical effects of contemporary warfare. Affect is globalized and intensified through action movies’ aesthetics, with the aim of producing a kind of drone subject. Robin James significantly posits a drone atmosphere where our perceptual limit reconfigures through ‘droning’ – the creation of an affective timbre [James, R., 2013. Drones, sound, and super-panoptic surveillance. Cyborgology]. As James argues, ‘[d]roning rivets you to material conditions, affects, and sensations that compel you to behave in specific ways, and not in others’ (n.p.). So while drones currently work overseas to target morale, action movies work on the home front to target our potency and resolve and so engender a mode of sensation that also functions as action. Affect works as a translator, where sensation is displaced into the feeling of having acted. In having acted, we are led to believe that we are safe from fear, which can be understood as a pharmakon. We are kept safe by action movies’ mediation of potency and fear.",
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Mediating Potency and Fear : Action Movies’ Affect. / Christiansen, Steen Ledet.

I: Cultural Studies, Bind 32, Nr. 1, 2018, s. 43-62.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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