Laura Mulvey (Birkbeck College, University of London)
Becoming History: Spectatorship, Technology and Feminist Film Theory
When I wrote Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema in the mid 1970s, the way in which films were watched (projected onto a screen, in a dark auditorium at circa 24 frames per second) had hardly changed since the birth of the cinema. But within two decades, electronic and then digital technology had given the spectator a new freedom to intervene in the flow of film, with implications for theories of gendered spectatorship and cinematic time. More recently, the delivery of film through the internet has further transformed modes of consumption. In these radically changed conditions, is anything to be gained from a return to the feminist polemic of "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" and its now, perhaps, archaic concept of the ‘male gaze’?
Laura Mulvey has been writing about film and film theory since the mid-1970s. She has published Visual and Other Pleasures (1989, new updated edition 2009), Fetishism and Curiosity (1996 new edition 2013), Citizen Kane (1996, new edition 2012), Death Twenty-four Times a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image, 2006). In the late 1970s and early 1980s, she co-directed six films with Peter Wollen including Riddles of the Sphinx (1978) and Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (1980). In 1994, she co-directed with artist/filmmaker Mark Lewis Disgraced Monuments (Channel 4) with whom she has also made 23 August 2008 (2013). She is Professor of Film and Media Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London and Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image.