U. Meurer

Ulrich Meurer

Visiting Fellow, Fall 2018

University of Vienna
Research Project
Gold Ground / Silver Screen: The Byzantine Form of (Post-) Cinema

Ulrich Meurer teaches film & media studies at the University of Vienna. After receiving his Ph.D. in Film and American Studies from the University of Konstanz, Germany, in 2005, he became Assistant Professor at the Department of Classics and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Leipzig. Since 2009, he has been Visiting as well as Associate Professor at the Department of Theater, Film, and Media Studies tfm at Vienna, the Ruhr-University Bochum (Department of Media Studies) and the Visual Studies Platform at Central European University CEU, Budapest. His main fields of research are film and media philosophy, cinema and political theory, contemporary Greek and US-American film cultures, and (pre‑)cinematic media history and archaeology. His publications include Translation and Film: Cinema as Rendering (ed., 2012, German), Topographies: Concepts of Space in Postmodern Literature and Film (2007, German) as well as numerous articles, among them "Short Voyages to the Land of Gregarious Animals: On Political Aesthesia in Sto Lyko and Sweetgrass" (2017), "Laboratory Athens: On Austerity Politics and Small Gauge Film" (2018) and the upcoming publication "The Shards of Zadar: On the Rationale of Cinema Archaeology" (fall 2018).

About the Research Project
Gold Ground / Silver Screen: The Byzantine Form of (Post-) Cinema

'Gold Ground/Silver Screen'explores the potential of 'Byzantium' – both as a concrete reference point in art history and a figure of thought – for contemporary film & media studies. While traditional approaches tend to correlate (pre‑)cinema with Western Renaissance (monocularity, perspective, linearity, subjectivity), the introduction of a 'Byzantine mode' can point towards neglected forms of the moving image and counterbalance dominant conceptions in media history and theory. To that effect, the project aims at abstracting a set of central iconographic, aesthetic, formal, and media properties from Byzantine art as well as late-antique notions of visuality (gold ground / luminosity / mosaic / reverse & non-perspective / formulaic faciality / contemplative perception …) which not only inform depictions of, or references to Byzantium since early cinema, but may in fact be transferred to a much wider range of photographic and electronic images. In this sense, the Byzantine will also shed light on contemporary shifts in visuality and digital media technology at the closure of the cinematographic era: as a liminal figure, it seems closely linked to the changing ontology of images, to the transition from photographic presence to pixilated virtuality and from projection to emission.