St John’s College Oxford presents Prof Eugenie Brinkema, “Drabness and Ethics (on the Values of Formalism)”

Published on: February 20, 2023

Date: 20, February 2023 @ 5.15 – 6.45 p.m.
Location: Mark Bedingham Room, St John’s College Library and Study Centre

Please join us for this talk by Professor Eugenie Brinkema who will be presenting work from her new project on colour and ethics.

Professor Brinkema takes as her starting point an aesthetic evaluation that greets the arrival of brutal death squads in Wes Anderson’s 2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel: “I find these black uniforms very drab.” Using the problem of drabness, and a reciprocal term that is yoked to it in the film—that of glimmer—the talk considers how problems of cinematic form related to light, saturation, and quality formally articulate an impersonal account of general historical violence and loss. The problem of color—and the question of values—thus poses the broader question of the value of formalism as both a reading method and a speculative grappling with ethics and politics.

Eugenie Brinkema is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and currently a fellow at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis at UvA. Her research in film studies and critical theory focuses on violence, affect, sexuality, aesthetics, and ethics. In addition to numerous articles, she has published two books: The Forms of the Affects (2014) and Life-Destroying Diagrams (2022), both with Duke University Press.

Learn more here…