Proposal Title

Consumption horror: female re-presentation and the abstract disease in Hideo Nakata’s Ring

Start Date

June 2022

End Date

June 2022

Abstract

Ring (Hideo Nakata, 1998)’s narrative of a spectre’s vengeful curse-virus-hybrid, encountered through several points of video technology at once reinvents a traditional ghost story, whilst meditating on the implications of the traditional female position in screen culture. The relationship between videotape-phone-television with ghost-curse-spectator simultaneously invoke questions of localisation and abstraction, consumption and production, victim and villain. On the basis of Brian Massumi’s assertion that “a paradox is not a contradiction; a paradox abolishes contradiction,” I seek to analyze Ring’s emblematic use of technological mediation as a development on the gothic tradition’s relationship with plague and its (in the words of Mark Fisher) “affinity with a depersonalized and non-representational fictionality.” The combination of television and rumour that can result in such non-representational re-presentation foretells the online culture that would immediately follow Ring’s release, whilst reflecting feminist discourse surrounding woman and the male gaze: always to-be-looked-at, but never to-be-seen. That victim-villain Sadako is defined, not as the girl she was, but by the violence of her death embodies McLuhan’s claim “the medium is the message.” The medium achieves temporal verticality, whereby the notion of “message” itself is usurped by the abstract diseased event or, as Artaud expressed, “the immediate medium or materialisation of a thinking power in close contact with what we call fate.” I intend to investigate this reinvention of technologically mediated female victim-villainy through lenses of dark media, gothic materialism, gaze theory and Sontag’s illness as metaphor within the realm of contemporary screen-based “prosumption.”

Bio

Lexi Turner is a PhD student in the department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University. She is primarily interested in questions of troubled and troubling ontologies as reflected in art, media and philosophy. Most recently, she lectured at the Cultural Studies Association on sadomasochistic and theological reflections on harsh noise wall music.

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Consumption horror: female re-presentation and the abstract disease in Hideo Nakata’s Ring

Ring (Hideo Nakata, 1998)’s narrative of a spectre’s vengeful curse-virus-hybrid, encountered through several points of video technology at once reinvents a traditional ghost story, whilst meditating on the implications of the traditional female position in screen culture. The relationship between videotape-phone-television with ghost-curse-spectator simultaneously invoke questions of localisation and abstraction, consumption and production, victim and villain. On the basis of Brian Massumi’s assertion that “a paradox is not a contradiction; a paradox abolishes contradiction,” I seek to analyze Ring’s emblematic use of technological mediation as a development on the gothic tradition’s relationship with plague and its (in the words of Mark Fisher) “affinity with a depersonalized and non-representational fictionality.” The combination of television and rumour that can result in such non-representational re-presentation foretells the online culture that would immediately follow Ring’s release, whilst reflecting feminist discourse surrounding woman and the male gaze: always to-be-looked-at, but never to-be-seen. That victim-villain Sadako is defined, not as the girl she was, but by the violence of her death embodies McLuhan’s claim “the medium is the message.” The medium achieves temporal verticality, whereby the notion of “message” itself is usurped by the abstract diseased event or, as Artaud expressed, “the immediate medium or materialisation of a thinking power in close contact with what we call fate.” I intend to investigate this reinvention of technologically mediated female victim-villainy through lenses of dark media, gothic materialism, gaze theory and Sontag’s illness as metaphor within the realm of contemporary screen-based “prosumption.”