Studio 02: Narrative, Storytelling and Time

Studio brief

This studio focus on modes of storytelling and narrative conventions. We particularly focus on time in narrative, and the studio undertakes a brief aesthetics of time and thinks about how art and culture has imagined time. To begin to ponder the notion of time we will (re)visit the classic debate on the nature of time between Albert Einstein and Henri Bergson. This is a version of the recurring science vs humanities chasm and “dialogue between the greatest philosopher and the greatest physicist of the twentieth century.” The studio invites you to consider how your practice and dissertation interests might relate to and intersect with theories, ideas, and questions of narrative and time: the past, present and future.

Students will be producing storygraphs, storyboards, and various forms of narrative and temporal analysis in the seminars. Under scrutiny will come issues around:

  • realism and classic Hollywood narrative
  • definitions and models of narrative
  • ways of researching narrative
  • the narrative theories of Todorov and Aristotle
  • alternative narratives
  • mythology and Campbell's hero’s quest
  • postmodern narrative
  • alternative narrative and the function of storytelling

Previous dissertation topics in this studio include cinema genre, Japanese anime, the mythology of the dragon, transgender in film, gothic imagery, the superhero genre, gender in Disney animation, digital cinema, psychoanalytical narratives, death and mourning, art therapy, photographic manipulation, alternative economic narratives, the films of Scorsese and so on.

Suggested readings, resources and preparatory activities

  • Visit Christian Marclay’s The Clock at the Tate Modern
  • Consider cinematic time in High Noon (1952), Pulp Fiction (1994), Memento (2000), and Mother! (2017)
  • Read HP Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu (1928, available in various publications)
  • Listen to Pink Floyd’s Time from The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
  • View Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory (1931)
  • Read Campbell, Joseph, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Princeton University Press, 1986)
  • View Claude Monet’s Rouen Cathedral series
  • Read Herman, David, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Narrative (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • Consider a Tibetan Sand Mandala
  • Read The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time (Canales, 2015, Princeton University Press)
Pendant clocks


Tutor Jon Baldwin

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