Visiting Fellow, Fall 2018
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
'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.