iPhone Cinema and Tangerine: Imagology, actor-network theory, and the idea of trans-

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    In his brief statement on a new imagology (2005), Anthony Johnson outlines a wealth of issues for image scholars. Synthesizing decades of image research, Johnson also adds numerous ideas to the study if images, including concepts of resurfacings, accessibility, displacement, portability, and loss. However, he also notes that images always take material forms and provide us with (affords us) a set of sensory cues.
    The purpose of this article is to argue that images matter: images function as transitive verbs that take objects, a position that Johnson has eloquently argued (2015). We may extend this insight by drawing on actor-network theory — ANT — which argues in favor of assigning agency to objects as much as subjects. For ANT, translation is the mechanism of taking form, the way that a network may be represented as a single object, such as an image.
    Using Sean S. Baker’s movie Tangerine, I wish to extend the notion of imagology with respect to the material affordances of new media technologies. Tangerine tells the story of transgender love relationships, which is a classic example of the uses and abuses of stereotypical images. Yet the film affords us a unique set of sensory cues because of its material conditions; the film was shot using only iPhones. The film’s audiovisual style thus comes to matter in ways that allow us to tie together the three different uses of ‘trans-‘ — transitivity, translation, and transgender.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRenaissance Man : Essays on Literature and Culture for Anthony W. Johnson
    EditorsTommi Alho, Jason Finch, Roger D. Sell
    Number of pages19
    PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
    Publication dateNov 2019
    ISBN (Print)9789027204257
    ISBN (Electronic)9789027262004
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


    • Film
    • iPhone
    • ANT
    • Actor-Network Theory
    • transgender


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