The Skin of the World

Propositions for a cinema of resonance

“The skin of the world... always floating and responding to the thrusting of the world’s breezes, breaths and gusts. In all respects, it is the powerful and fragile resonance of all that arouses a form or tonality of existence.” (Jean-Luc Nancy)

To resonate: re-sonare. To sound again — with the immediate implication of doubling or ghosting, assuming a haunting spectrality. Resound, rebound, refrain, return: sound sent back to us, reflected by surfaces, diffracted and refracted by edges and curves. Sound amplified, swathed in an acoustic ambience that transforms it. Sound enhanced and prolonged by its passing through a certain field or structure. Sound reaching out into the distance, suspended and straining between arrival and departure. Sound propagating itself, configuring a sense and a presence in the world. But to resonate is also to reverberate and reciprocate, to correspond and respond to something or someone other. Furthermore, to resonate is to remember, to evoke the past, to activate its latent potentialities and frequencies. It is also a mode of relation that allows for non-sequential forms of exchange and synergy, accommodating affective affinities and formless formations.

Resonance embraces a multitude of different meanings. Or rather, it is actualised and expanded in a wide range of different phenomena and circumstances. How can we think through the notion of resonance in or as cinema? What would happen when we consider cinema as a territory upon which resonance may unfold?

This programme aims to formulate a set of tentative propositions, or hypotheses, on what a “cinema of resonance” could be — seeking what is grounded in resonance, neither showing nor telling but sounding and resounding. A programme populated by glossic and phonic traces received and amplified across time, conjuring up forgotten histories and haunting memories; chants, murmurs and scansions reverberating through the stillness of desolated spaces and catastrophized places; songs and stories echoing and expanding into symphonic movements and sonic geographies. A programme that tries to consider resonance not only as form or content but also as method, involving a practice of pairing and configuring works that relate in ways that are not necessarily causal, historical or geographical, let alone inevitable, but that nevertheless are there. A programme as an accommodating resonance chamber that allows, but does not compel, a process of mutual oscillation between films that somehow speak to one another. It is up to us to lend them our ears.


Thanks to all the filmmakers and distributors involved, Ricardo Matos Cabo, Erika Balsom

In the context of the research project Echoes of Dissent (KASK & Conservatory / School of Arts Gent)