Mia Engberg – The Visual Silence

Researcher: Mia Engberg

Mia Engberg’s project “The Visual Silence” aims to examine and develop a film aesthetic that approaches silence and challenges the voyeuristic tradition of cinema. The research is based on feminist and postcolonial theories and is also inspired by Buddhist meditation and the do-it-yourself practice of punk rock. The project is carried out with financial support from the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Film Institute.

Goal & purpose

The project aims to examine and develop a film aesthetic that challenges the voyeuristic tradition of cinema. The study will examine a cinematic form that is situated in the gap between what is spoken and what is perceived, between the impression of the ear and that of the eye, thereby searching for a space in the interpretation that allows the spectators to create their own inner images. The cinematic form approaches the darkness of the cinema theatre and the silence of the spectator. “The Visual Silence” examines the possibility of a non-voyeuristic approach through the deconstruction of the image.

Research questions

Is it possible to create a cinematic story that resists the voyeuristic, objectifying gaze? How has visual silence been used in feminist, postcolonial and queer film aesthetics? How would a contemporary new visual language be developed out of this tradition? When does the spectator transform from a passive consumer to an active creator?

How the project will be carried out

A feature-length film will be produced within the project. The film is funded by external funds from the Swedish Film Institute and is expected to be completed in spring 2018. The research will also be documented in a book and presented at a number of seminars. The dates of the movie premiere, the book release and the presentations are not yet decided.