Abject Agency beyond ‘Soft’ and ‘Hard’ Ethics in Global Cinema
‘Abject Agency beyond ‘Soft’ and ‘Hard’ Ethics in Global Cinema’, talk by Dr Seung-hoon Jeong.
We are pleased to announce the first event run by the Centre for Film and Ethics at Queen Mary University of London, a new forum which facilitates interdisciplinary work involving ethics in the context of moving image research. All are welcome.
Abstract: Globalization has led to a double ethical phase: the ‘soft’ ethical inclusion of differences through multicultural, neoliberal systems, and their inevitable ‘hard’ ethical symptoms of fundamentalist exclusion and terror. Reflecting both, global cinema has also betrayed a consequent political deadlock, the impossible utopian change in various forms of catastrophic imagination. This talk, however, draws attention to an alternative potential direction of ethics irreducible to collective politics by exploring some films in which biopolitical abject figures become contingent agents of ‘atopian’ relations through commonality without community, identity without pity, solidarity without unity. Abject agency in this case inspires us to revisit and challenge ethical philosophy on gift/sacrifice, victimhood/responsibility, opening room for non-suicidal zigzag networking on the edge of the global regime beyond the problematic ‘soft/hard’ ethical frame.
Seung-hoon Jeong is Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies at New York University Abu Dhabi. He has mostly worked on theoretical issues with diverse films, and is currently focusing on global cinema related to multiculturalism, terrorism, networks, and catastrophes. Jeong received Korea’s Cine21 Film Criticism Award (2003) and the SCMS Dissertation Award (2012). He wrote Cinematic Interfaces: Film Theory After New Media (Routledge, 2013), co-translated Jacques Derrida’s Acts of Literature in Korean (Moonji, 2013), and co-edited The Global Auteur: The Politics of Authorship in 21st Century Cinema (Bloomsbury, 2016).