Cinematic Experiments

  • Margaret Medlin

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The objective of this thesis is to make connections between the fields of media art and dance experimentation in a way that contextualises my own artistic experiments. It takes a wide-angle approach, interweaving time periods and entangling interdisciplinary histories. It utilises a practice-led research methodology that combines two distinct methods: The first is an engagement with the work of diverse artists and scholars who provide various lenses and contexts to examine the interplay between dance and my multidisciplinary arts practice. The second, informed by the first, explores this interplay through the creation of twenty-eight cinematic experiments.

    The cinematic experiments are used to interrogate the cinematic frame as dance by positioning cinema not as a technology, but as a malleable medium with its own signature movements, contours and dynamics. What emerges from these experiments is: (i) a hybrid frame the viewer can enter that combines the machinery of the proscenium theatre and cinematic frames; (ii) an analysis of experimentation with the cinematic frame as having three active parts - the camera image (materiality), projection (reproduction) and the screen (appearance); (iii) a matrix of terms that presents a mapping of practice combining media technologies with aesthetic outcomes; (iv) and, last, eight ‘slippages’ that reframe classical concepts in cinema history to explore the viewer's perception of movement in cinema as dance. Slippage is a term that I have developed and applied to my analysis in order to describe the cinematic frame as dance is a powerful tool that can be used to explore with the viewer’s multimodal perception of movement and space. Furthermore, by analysing the viewer in a slippage between different disciplinary lenses I propose there exists a flexibility and potentially limitless number of modes of encounter between the viewer and the cinematic frame. The cinematic experiments do not imagine an ideal spectator but rather explore how the viewer might experience, make sense of, interpret or participate in the cinematic frame.
    Date of AwardApr 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorSimon Ellis (Supervisor), Emma Meehan (Supervisor) & Scott Delahunta (Supervisor)


    • The cinematic frame
    • screendance
    • dance
    • performance
    • choreography
    • media and electronic art
    • cinema history
    • expanded cinema
    • the cinematic avant-garde
    • architecture and design
    • visual and multimodal perception

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