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Christopher Hagenah

Transliteracies Project Coordinator, Graduate Student, English Dept., UC Santa Barbara

Christopher Hagenah

Christopher Hagenah is a doctoral candidate in the English department at UC Santa Barbara.  He studied English and Film at USC (BA) and at Loyola Marymount University (MA).  His research interests include twentieth century literature, film, and culture; digital and information culture; science fiction; and the digital humanities.  He is currently exploring questions of motion, temporality, and textuality in modernism and postmodernism.  Chris has worked as a Research Assistant for the Literature.Culture.Media Center at UCSB, and is currently a HASTAC scholar.  Some of Chris’ recent work involved digital deformation with Jason Lutes’ Berlin, in the Berlin Project.  Outside of academia, Chris is a writer, filmmaker, and musician.

Research Sample: From “Adapting the Style of Time in Comics and Film: Re-Reading the ‘Time-Image’ Through the ‘System of Comics’” to be presented at SCMS LA, March 17-21, 2010

This attempt at adaptation is particularly interesting considering that comics’ form has had a long medial history, and quite possible cultural coevolution, with filmic creation in the form of the storyboard. That the storyboard, as conceptual predecessor to many filmic sequences, shares formal relations to comics, should point out the negotiation that takes place between these specific media (it’s no coincidence that comics illustrators move back and forth between working on comics and movie storyboards- Steve Skroce, Jeff Darrow on the Matrix films etc.). The storyboard visualizes that which will be, or pre-visualizes in immobile iconography that which will be in mobile cinematography, invariably opening the question of time for it is precisely within that field that the most important negotiations in an adaptation will take place. In other words, the medium-specific aesthetics of temporality come to light when a style of time embedded within one medium, comics, must be adapted, or exchanged, or translated into another medial currency, that of film. For me, the bridge that must be constructed is built out of temporal relations, that is, translating not the invisible, but the un-visible. We don’t see time directly, but rather we see in time, or rather, within movement, duration and change. Gilles Deleuze claims that time is “that which endures through the succession of changing states… the unchanging form of that which changes” (17). Certain media can give us an image of time, as in cinematic slow motion, or time-lapse photography, but time itself is that which resists sight, and must be filled in by thought and its relation to memory. This filling in is precisely what the language of comics requires, particularly in what Scott McCloud describes as the “gutter space.” This mode of reading invariably involves a subjective notion of time. But this is why I believe that the language of comics can profoundly open up thought, in the same way that Deleuze proposes certain films can. Certain media can break through what Deleuze calls the sensory-motor-schema, and shock us out of our quotidian sense of time, allowing new forms and reformulations of time to rise to the surface.

Contributions to Transliteracies Project:

  chagenah, 09.28.09

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