Antonio Somaini (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle/Paris III)
The Notes for a “General History of Cinema”: Eisenstein’s Media Archaeology
Sergei M. Eisenstein worked on the project of writing a General History of Cinema during the last two years of his life;the project remained unfinished at his death in February 1948. Eisenstein'slast theoretical endeavour can be read from several different perspectives: as an overview of cinema’s intermedial relations with the other arts; as a vast genealogy of all the media that can be considered as “forerunners” of cinema’s “expressive possibilities”; as an attempt to develop an anthropology of images which situates cinema in the context of a wide spectrum of media (death masks, casts of body parts, mummies) "Trieb” to “record phenomena”; finally, as a media archaeology trying to work with different models of historical development in order to understand cinema’s historical position as a medium: its pre-history, its present (in 1946-48), and its future developments with the advent of 3D cinema and television.
Antonio Somaini is Professor of Film, Media, and Visual Culture Theory at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3. His research deals with the film, media and montage theories of the 1920s and 1930s, and with issues related to contemporary visual and media culture. The English translation of his 2011 book Eisenstein. Cinema, Art History, Montage is forthcoming by The University of Illinois Press. His edition of Sergei M. Eisenstein’s Notes for a “General History of Cinema” has been published in French in 2014 by the Editions de l’AFRHC (Association Française de Recherche sur l’Histoire du Cinéma), and is forthcoming in English by Amsterdam University Press.