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Tom Conley (Harvard University)



A Map in a Movie.


"Maps appear in most of the movies we see. Even if a film does not display a map as such, by nature it bears an implicit relation with cartography. A map we see in a film may concern locale, if the film is a documentary, or, if it tells a story, an itinerary. It may belong to the places in which a viewer experiences a film. Like an inter title or a sign that tells us where the film is taking place, what it is doing, or where its characters are going, a map in a movies provides information; it whets the imagination. It propels narrative but also, dividing our attention, prompts reverie and causes our eyes to look both inward, at our own geographies, and outward, to rove about the frame and to engage, however we wish, the space of the film.
The cinematic possesses, like a map, a ‘language’ of its own that does not pertain to the linguist’s field of study. Like the idiolect of the geographer and cartographer, the cinematic idiom, multifaceted, is composed of signs that do not transcribe speech. Riddled with speech and writing, the cinematic image, like a map, can be deciphered in a variety of ways. Maps and films might be said to be strangely coextensive. Of vastly different historical formation, cinema and cartography draw on many of the same resources and virtues of the languages that inform their creation. […] A map in a film is an element at once foreign to the film but also, paradoxically, of the same essence as film. A map underlines what a film is and what it does but also opens a rift or brings in to view a site where a critical and productively interpretive relation with the film can begin."

Tom Conley (2006): "Introduction". In: Ders.: Cartographic Cinema. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, pp. 1-23: 1f.


Vortrag vom 11.01.2011