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Lidia Mateo Leivas: "How does a clandestine image behave?"

Publicación del artículo de investigación de Lidia Mateo Leivas "How does a clandestine image behave? Proposal for a theoretical tool based on a Spanish civil war gaze" en el último número de la revista Visual Studies.


The first time I saw the image of that old man I was beginning a research on clandestine cinema in Spain (1967–1981). What I did not know at the time was that this very image would crop up again and again in the course of my work. More surprisingly, each and every time I saw it, the image conveyed a different range of meanings. The reason was that the image was framed in different productions made at distant times, such as the Spanish Civil War (1939), in the middle of the dictatorship (1959) and in the 1970’s, when the clandestine film I was watching, Between Hope and Fraud, was made – or even today. In each encounter, my emotions changed, allowing me to experience the same image as a different one. All this made me expand the scope of the research project to the afterlife of images. While I was analysing clandestine cinema practices in Spain and their peculiar ability to intervene in ‘the sensible’ without being seen, I was also tracing the genealogy of the footage. Suddenly, I realised that these images had a common pattern, which allowed me to think about them from a broader perspective. In this paper, I relate the making of my research to finally proposing the idea of ‘clandestine images’ as a visual model, which I define in relationship to its behaviour and its effects on bodies. Ultimately, I create and propose a theoretical tool whose aim it is to make it possible to think about and predict the behaviour of other images, beyond the particular one I will discuss here.

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