More Than Meets the Eye: The Haptic Spectatorship Experience of Short Avant-Garde Animation about Vision Disabilities

By Slava Greenberg

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In this paper I will analyze three short avant-garde animation films that address the issues of vision disabilities and blindness: Many Happy Returns (Marjut Rimminen 1996), A Shift in Perception (Dan Monceaux 2006) and Ishihara (Yoav Brill 2010).[1] Through the use of diverse animation techniques[2] intensified by sound strategies[3] all three films evoke a dream-intoxicated-like atmosphere. These shorts subvert – in form as well as content – former cinematic and cultural representations of people with vision disabilities. Thus, by providing a phenomenologically-sensual alternative, these works critique the able-bodied cinematic construction of spectatorship. I will argue that these shorts offer an antidote to the social organization of vision, and above all, to the supremacy attributed to vision in the experience of spectatorship.

This analysis is derived from the interconnections between disability and crip studies, phenomenology and the critique articulated by the Frankfurt School scholars. The kinship between these theories and the avant-garde animations about vision disabilities lie in their common hypothesis that shifts in perceptions are at the heart of any possibility of change. The disability approach of this essay uses crip theory, which emphasizes the compulsory able-bodiedness articulated by Alison Kafer (2013), and is influenced by disability theoreticians such as Margarit Shildrick and Janet Price (2006) who incorporate phenomenology into their deconstruction of an able-bodied society. In addition, I will discuss the intoxicating spectatorship these shorts offer their viewers through film studies that rely on phenomenologists such as Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1962) and Edmund Husserl (1940). Finally, all three autonomous works of art offer a political critique of the very social order that defines a sensual hierarchy, and are therefore continuing the tradition of Frankfurt School scholars like Walter Benjamin (1931, 1936), Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer (1969) who theorized the experiences of perception of art as an emancipatory possibility.

The avant-garde animation works that address the issue of visual disabilities create a dream-like experience which alters traditional spectatorship. This alteration challenges traditional uses of the cinematic apparatus in screening “prosthesis” narratives, which function as a type of prosthetic response to the fact that something or someone needs to be fixed.[4] The subversion in form and narrative aims to disrupt the tranquilizing effect of ableist images and prosthetic narratives. In a sense, alternative cinema, and especially avant-garde animation, draws from Adorno and Horkheimer’s vision of the possibilities of autonomous art.

According to Miriam Hansen, Adorno and Horkheimer put an emphasis on the illegitimate and anarchic beginnings of the cinema as well as on its affinity to the circus and the road show. They clearly preferred marginal genres like the grotesque, funnies or certain varieties of the musical. Their repeated contrasting of the sound film with the less streamlined products of the silent era – all flow from the main thesis point to a subversive potential which could some day lay the ground for the negativity essential to a different kind of cinema.[5]

In Transparencies on Film (1966), Adorno emphasizes the subversive potential of the ambiguous layering of response patterns. This ambiguity allows for the possibility that “the ideology of the culture industry contains the antidote to its own lie”.[6] Thus, a short clay animated documentary like School – Sneaking up (Leonard Cheshire Disability and Aardman Animations, Creature Discomforts Series 2007-2008) may expose the able-bodied ideology or could even contain the cure for it. Christopher is a blind chameleon who lives in an unnatural surrounding: a human home. It is not Christopher’s blindness which is the main reason for his social oppression, but rather his humanization. The chameleon is forced to adopt human habits and is used to critique the able-bodied social structure and uncover its ideology. Therefore, “[t]he presentations of disability through comedy and using the medium of stop-motion work in the Creature Discomforts series leads us away from staid representations and through incongruous discourses allows an access to richer truths”.[7]

Walter Benjamin (1931) was also fascinated with art and response patterns. Benjamin focused on marginalized spectatorships and conceptualized the optical unconscious, explaining it in the following manner:

[It is] another nature which speaks to the camera rather than to the eye: “other” above all in the sense that a space informed by human consciousness gives way to a space informed by the unconscious. […] Photography, with its devices of slow motion and enlargement, reveals the secret. It is through photography that we first discover the existence of this optical unconscious, just as we discover the instinctual unconscious through psychoanalysis.[8]

Benjamin’s optical unconscious offers a perspective on marginalized forms of spectatorship that enables us to grasp people and objects we neglect to see.[9] His “elaboration of the ‘optical unconscious’ oscillates between a description of technical innovations and their emancipative possibilities.”[10]    Furthermore, Benjamin’s famous essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936) was directly linked to disability studies critique. According to Tobin Siebers, Benjamin “argued that photography, film, and lithography, among other forms, introduce profound changes in the ancient craft of the beautiful. These new forms supposedly destroy the ritual aura of the artist and the artwork, enable art to illustrate everyday life, and make art available to the masses”.[11] Siebers utilizes Benjamin’s critique to the explanation of the presence of disability in art:

It is no accident […] that new forms of art have embraced the disabled body as a primary aesthetic symbol. […] Images of the body, especially of traumatic bodies, are available to people on a daily basis as never before, and if it is the case that the body is one of the privileged sites of symbolic action, this development cannot be meaningless. The media age has made possible a return to ritual that has renewed the effectiveness of the body as a collective representation. The disabled body has evolved such a strong presence in the art world for this reason.[12]

The presence of people with disabilities, including vision disabilities, was prominent in cinema, especially in the US, from its earliest days. Silent films such as The Near-Sighted Cyclist (1907), Near-Sighted Mary (1909)[13] and the popular Chaplin hit City Lights (1931) made use of the topic to explore various comic situations. In mainstream cinema these characters function as either male villains/criminals who seek to destroy the able-bodied or a female victim who tells of the terror of ‘living in darkness’.[14][15] In addition, blind characters who are romantically involved with people with other disabilities are often used to emphasize the repugnance of people with these other disabilities.[16] In other cases where people with vision disabilities are portrayed as a subject matter for prejudice and injustice the context is usually nationalist or militaristic.[17]

Mainstream documentary cinema has had its own role in depicting the stories of people with vision disabilities in accordance with what Paul Longmore identified as the narratives of adjustment, perseverance, self-acceptance and “positive-thinking”, which aim to lift the spirits of the able-bodied spectator.[18] These formulas go hand in hand with the individual/medical model of disability, which locates the “problem” in the individual and the cause for his/her functioning or physiological limitation. Thus, the individual model forges a personal tragedy narrative that contains a medical/rehabilitational solution.[19] Furthermore, it has been argued that the emphasis on tactile perception is a stereotypical representation of disability. In his analysis of Johan van der Keuken’s documentary Herman Slobbe/Blind Child 2 (1966), Hing Tsang asserts that the film subverts stereotypes by representing the body as a whole, rather than atomizing the senses and resorting to the stereotypical emphasis of aural and tactile perception.[20]

Despite the claim that the sensuous representation is stereotypical, I wish to suggest that avant-garde cinema and animation have the potential to create political intersections between different bodies and senses and deconstruct mind-body and part-whole dichotomies. By providing a sense of being-in-the-world (in-der-Welt-sein)[21] with a disability, which includes bodies and senses, these films may politicize their spectators and force them to take responsibility for their privileges. The experimental and avant-garde short animations I explore here use diverse techniques to illustrate the experiences of those who are socially and culturally overlooked as a result of vision disabilities. Moreover, I will argue that these shorts utilize new technological capabilities to create an atmosphere which forges a sensual spectatorship and provides a tool for resisting conventional and ableist ways of looking.

A prominent example of this potential is seen in Gary Tram’s documentary Black Sun (2005), which tells the story of Hughes de Montalembert, a NewYork based French filmmaker and painter who was attacked in his apartment and blinded. The film is a collage of 16mm visual imagery, which is not always in full agreement with Hughes’ narration. The visuals of this 70-minute film lure the viewers into a dream, moving from one image to another and generating a string of associations. This extraordinary experience of spectatorship may be analogous to Hughes’ own visual experiences soon after he was blinded:

Not receiving perception from the eye the mind would create very strong images, vivid images. To the point I would talk to you and suddenly I would see something like a vision. […] or I would have erotic images. Very strong erotic images. Talking to somebody was very disturbing because I had very strong erotic images.

This compulsory associative, and perhaps even dissociative, imagery is the most forceful message conveyed to the viewer, to the point of intoxication by the images. Thus the spectators must rely on Hughes’ voice and allow it to guide them through the tactile imagery of the film.

Miriam Hansen wrote that Benjamin introduced ‘tactile’ elements into the field of the ‘optical unconscious’. Benjamin’s allegorical devices, such as framing and montage, would thus have a therapeutic function similar to other procedures – the planned rituals of extraordinary physical and mental states, such as experiments with drugs, flaneurist walking, surrealist séances, psychoanalytical sessions – all procedures that are designed to activate layers of unconscious memory buried in the reified structures of subjectivity.[22]

Similarly, fragments and ghosts from the buried past that demand attention are the materials of which the short animation Many Happy Returns (Marjut Rimminen 1996) is crafted. The short juxtaposes digital image manipulation and pixillation with live action and puppet animation, inserting the past into the present, and claiming an inability to separate the two. It portrays a puppet little girl who continuously haunts a woman’s everyday life, constantly demanding her attention. The girl represents a childhood trauma which ails and disrupts the woman’s experience of the present. The doll-ghost-girl is made of delicate, disintegrating material, which is most notably frail in the eyes. The animation resurrects the repressed and transparent child and forces the spectators to truly see her, not only with the help of their eyes.

In a documentary entitled Janela da Alma [A Window to the Soul] (Walter Carvalho and João Jardim, 2001) about artists with vision disabilities, Marjut Rimminen was asked about the film Many Happy Returns. Rimminen talked about her strabismus or squint, which she described as “terribly upsetting because you don’t get that contact with people”. Her childhood memories include her mother’s “very depressed and sad [way of] looking through you”. Hence one of the director’s most prominent childhood memories was a gaze which offered no connection to the other. According to Rimminen the animation is about the trauma of mental rather than physical deformity. For her, the damage inflicted on the eyes stem from their witnessing of traumatic events as well as from an internal feeling of distortion resulting from her “squint”. Rimminen rouses the repressed child who was looked at with pity and who failed to connect with others; this child subverts her marginalization and demands to be looked at.

The final sequence of the animation depicts the doll-ghost-girl as a ghost gazing through the window and watching the departure of the woman’s partner. The child’s cry “Mommy, don’t go!” coincides with the woman’s whisper “Don’t go!” and creates a dual sense of abandonment. As the child falls on the carpet, she is turned into waves in her reflection, which is followed by a shot of her lying in bed with a bandage over her eye. This shot is replaced by one of a gift unwrapping which finally reveals a wounded face instead of an eye. The face then becomes a crystal ball that resembles an eyeball.

The obscure style of the animation becomes tangible through the senses and especially through the evocation of tactility. The eye and the wound, the wrappings and the bandages are all materials that blend into one another, thus offering a sensuous perception. This unique and unclassifiable form forces a focus on the materials and textures of which the short is composed. In a sense, Rimminen’s work enables us to grasp that of which our eyes cannot make sense: the trauma of invisibility.

The experience of watching abstract images while the haptic senses are intensified is further discussed in Benjamin’s “protocols of drug experiments”, posthumously published in On Hashish.[23] His wish to articulate a sense of intoxication in complex terms preceded the contemporary term “high”. In his fifth protocol from March 1930, Benjamin attempted to characterize the image zone. He asserted that while intoxicated, we may grasp both images and sounds in a way we cannot in a normal state of consciousness. Benjamin wrote that “there can be an absolutely blizzard-like production of images, independently of whether our attention is directed toward anyone or anything else. Whereas in our normal state free-floating images to which we pay no heed simply remain in the conscious, under the influence of hashish images present themselves to us seemingly without requiring our attention.”[24] These protocols enable a reading of the experience created by Many Happy Returns in a manner which includes the unique state of mind and body it offers its spectators. As Benjamin stated, the result of such a state may be a static gaze; “the production of images that are so extraordinary, so fleeting, and so rapidly generated that we can do nothing but gaze at them simply because of their beauty and singularity.”[25]

Although Benjamin wrote about the joy and beauty of such an experience, he did not exclude the “down” aspects of intoxication. Furthermore, Benjamin’s concept of beauty does not coincide with the socially constructed one, but rather resembles Tobin Siebers’ Disability Aesthetics, Alison Kafer’s Feminist, Queer, Crip theory and Judith Halberstam’s Queer Art of Failure. In an earlier protocol from September 1928 he wrote: “I now suddenly understood how to a painter (hadn’t it happened to Rembrandt and many others?), ugliness could appear as the true reservoir of beauty – or better, as its treasure chest: a jagged mountain with all the inner gold of beauty gleaming from the wrinkles, glances, features.”[26]

The abstract animation style of Many Happy Returns combines the intoxicated imagery with the presence of depression, deformity and trauma. Or, in other words, the animation blends the high and the low as experienced through the body. These kinds of concoctions can be read through crip and queer theory which challenge the unified norm. According to Sara Ahmed, the enjoyment of failure to be “proper” characterizes both queer studies and phenomenology. She asserts that phenomenology can offer a resource for queer studies “insofar as it emphasizes the importance of lived experience, the intentionality of consciousness, the significance of nearness or what is ready-to-hand, and the role of repeated and habitual actions in shaping bodies and worlds.”[27] The lived experience includes inhabiting a body, or what Edmund Husserl calls “living body” (Leib).[28] All these insights regarding the “inappropriate” or “disoriented” body as needing to be revalued through queer phenomenology correlates with disability and crip studies.

Alison Kafer explains the term ‘crip’ as an integration of radical queer theory with feminist and disability studies, asserting that “critical attempts [are needed] to trace the ways in which compulsory able-bodiedness/able-mindedness and compulsory heterosexuality intertwine in the service of normativity; to examine how terms such as ‘defective,’ ‘deviant,’ and ‘sick’ have been used to justify discrimination against people whose bodies, minds, desires, and practices differ from the unmarked norm […].”[29]

The crip converges the disability with the queer and includes the excluded, the lowly and the failure. In her book The Queer Art of Failure, Judith Halberstam adopts the term “low theory” from Stuart Hall’s writings in order to “locate all the in-between spaces that save us from being snared by the hooks of hegemony […]”. But, she adds, this theory “also makes its peace with the possibility that alternatives dwell in the murky waters of a counter intuitive, often impossibly dark and negative realm of critique and refusal.”[30]

Thus, the crip doll-ghost-girl encompasses both compulsory able-bodiedness and a dark realm of refusal in the lived experience through the body. Rimminen does this by portraying the transformation of the doll into a traumatic ghost, waves, crystal ball and a girl. The most prominent transformation is of the eyes which turn into diverse objects, organs and textures. The lived body of the protagonist “touches” the spectator’s body since, as argued by Maurice Merleau-Ponty, all subjects and objects are “flesh” in the “flesh” of the world. “[…] The body belongs to the order of the things as the world is universal flesh”. Thus all subjects and objects can touch and be touched.[31] This interconnection between touch and bodily parts in Many Happy Returns calls for a crip spectatorship in which the viewer employs all disparate parts of the body in addition to the eyes and fails to be oriented by social norms.

Both Benjamin and Merleau-Ponty claimed that an intoxicated perception foregrounds and politicizes the otherwise unconscious cross-modal sensory exchange. In Phenomenology of Perception, Merleau-Ponty wrote the following: “A subject under mescaline finds a piece of iron, strikes the window-sill with it and exclaims: ‘This is magic’: the trees are growing greener. The barking of a dog is found to attract light in an indescribable way, and is re-echoed in the right foot.”[32] He further politicizes this experience by stressing that “synesthetic perception is the rule, and we are unaware of it only because scientific knowledge shifts the centre of gravity of experience, so that we have unlearned how to see, hear, and generally speaking feel, in order to deduce, from our bodily organization and the world as the physicist conceives it, what we are to see, hear and feel”.[33] This phenomenological elaboration of shifts in live-body perception can be useful for disability studies as a tool of deconstruction of medicalized perceptions.

A Shift in Perception (Dan Monceaux, 2006) makes use of animation techniques similar to those of Many Happy Returns, thus creating a comparable intoxicating or dream-like atmosphere which may offer a shift in perception as articulated by Benjamin and Merleau-Ponty. Yet this animated documentary adds the indexical voices of three blind women who bear witness to the oppression of a vision-centric society and to the sensual creativity it obligates. Although the animation’s imagery is also indexical, it is completely transformed and obscured by filming and editing techniques such as soft focus, speed manipulation and stop-motion. Despite the women’s talk about their everyday experiences, a large part of their dialogue focuses on their dreams, which also justifies the abstract imagery. Therefore the black and white set of dream-like images sends the spectators on a journey through a sensuous world. This meditative voyage, which resembles the one in Janela da Alma, is guided by the blurred and intoxicated images, and is organized by the voice-over which focuses on dreams. The phenomenological atmosphere created by this animation was noted in some of its reviews. David Finkelstein, for example, noted the following:

The best footage gives us a kinetic and tactile sense of the women’s experience, how touch, sound and smells are dominant in their experience. A sequence where the camera sits behind a shopping cart, wheeling around the aisles of a supermarket, helps us to immediately understand how the weight and feel of the cart itself helps Rhonda to navigate, and a shot of jangling keys clarifies how she so easily locates the store manager for assistance.[34]

The haptic knowledge brought forth in the animation, especially in the depiction of dreams, is the same kind of knowledge that Vivian Sobchack (2000) claims spectators use at the movies. Drawing from Merleau-Ponty, Sobchack argues that we do not watch a film merely with our eyes, but rather with our entire bodies and senses. Cinema allows viewers to touch and be touched by images, to feel a visual atmosphere, to sense weight, suffocation and sometimes even smell or taste. In her phenomenological reading of The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993), Sobchack writes that it is not through vision or touch that we know what we are seeing, but also through our fingers, skin, nose, lips, tongue, stomach and all other parts of the body.[35]

This haptic-bodily knowledge plays an important role in avant-garde animation which is often abstract, dreamlike, meditative and metaphorical, often making it difficult for the spectator to understand what s/he sees.[36] Yet, it is this very visual uncertainty, stressed by animation, which offers the haptic spectatorship experience. Monceaux’s subjects, more so than any seeing subject in a film, cannot return the spectators’ gaze, but through the abstract nature of the film they blur the spectators’ vision and deny them of the privileged perspective. This political dimming of the standardized vision, or a sort of “criping” of the spectators, problematizes and de-neutralizes vision in filmic spectatorship. By deforming the material of the world, Many Happy Returns and A Shift in Perception accord with Benjamin’s notion of the optical unconscious, illustrating a world that spans beyond mere scopic awareness. By fogging conventional vision, they force spectators to touch sounds and images and thus realize Benjamin’s vision of the use of new technological abilities for emancipatory purposes.

The emancipatory purpose in this animation corresponds with the postmodern-phenomenological “touch ethics” articulated by Janet Price and Margarit Shildrick.[37] Much like the discussed animation, Price and Shildrick reverse the sight-touch hierarchy and suggest that the sense of touch has the ability to cross boundaries:

Much has been written in broadly phenomenological literature about how our sense of touch is every bit as important as, if not more important than, sight in mapping our morphology of our bodies and of the spaces in which we move. Between sentient beings, touch, unlike sight, is quintessentially an interactive sensation in which the moment of touching is indivisible from being touched. There is never a point at which we can fail to reverse the sensation, nor at which we can distinguish clearly between the active and passive mode. Again, unlike sight, touch frustrates hierarchy, and crosses boundaries rather than creates distance.[38]

The emphasis on touch constitutes a break from social boundaries – the boundaries between self and other, between one subject and another, between subject and object. Thus it is an ethical question since “in touching, we become more exposed to each other, immersed in each other, opening up the possibility of facing similar experience which could arouse fear and discomfort. […] the thought that ‘this could be me’.”[39] Moreover, through the dimming of sight and the arousal of touch the boundaries between spectator and spectated may collapse too. The sounds and images are touched by the spectator and break boundaries. Hence these animations attempt to avoid the experience of an able-bodied person who gazes at a disabled one. Instead it forges an inter-subjective experience of a “touch ethics”.

In contrast to Many Happy Returns and A Shift in Perception‘s intoxicating abstract images, Ishihara‘s (Yoav Brill, 2010) imagery lies on the medicalized diagnostic. The cel animation artistically asserts that there is no such thing as normal vision. Ishihara‘s world is entirely constructed by cel animated colored dots from the Color Perception Test. Yet Brill transforms the restrictive role of the Ishihara dots by depicting various artistic ways to bend and blend them. The same test, which diagnosed the protagonist as color blind, is used to animate the visual world as both limited and fluid. In other words, all that we see is limited by the colored dots which can be reused. Thus the animated film questions to what extent our vision is socially constructed or restricted. In more simple terms, do we all see the same things?

In one scene, the teacher asks the students who are on a field trip to find a red poppy among the white ones. Yet the color-blind protagonist wonders “What poppy?”. Another student determines that the protagonist cannot see a thing as “he sees see-through”. The protagonist realizes that explaining what one cannot see is as impossible as feeling one’s own forehead for temperature. Furthermore, this external gaze directed at him marks his vision as transparent, thereby condemning him to equal translucence. In the words of the protagonist, he went from a person who could not see very well to one who is unseen. Consequently, the dot that represents him turns from brown to grey.

The final scene of the film takes place years later when the protagonist travels with friends to a beach in Sinai. A moment before sunset, a large male figure made up of the Ishihara dots approaches the protagonist, still represented by a small grey dot. The young man says that the sea is red during these hours. The dotted figure, which now seems to represent the protagonist, turns to the sea with its back filling the frame while the dots switch from shades of grey to distinct colors of brown, pink and red. The storyteller-protagonist concludes with the question “What sea?”. This scene further deconstructs notions of vision and visibility. The fluidity of the character and its crossing of boundaries lie not only in its transformation from one color to another, but, more radically, in its shift from a dot to a human being, and from a color-seeing character to a color-blind one.

Finally, Ishihara crosses boundaries between able-bodied and disabled people, yet it’s constant preferentiality to the medical test blocks the flow of associations which animations like Many Happy Returns and A Shift in Perception allows. The dream-like or intoxicating imagery of live-bodies in both these films offer exchanges in sensuous perception and thus disrupts the foundations on which the sensuous hierarchy is constructed. Sobchack explains this kind of spectatorship as “the way in which our equally available senses have the capacity to become variously heightened and diminished, the power of culture regulating their boundaries as it arranges them into a normative hierarchy.”[40] Laura Marks argues that the sensuous normative hierarchy is determined by distance: the more a sense can overcome that distance, the higher it will be estimated.[41] Thus, touch, which allows a political subversion of separation and segregation, is at the bottom of the sensory scale. Therefore the uniqueness of Many Happy Returns and A Shift in Perception lies in their foregrounding of tactility and in their applying of a “touch ethics” to spectatorship.

In conclusion, these avant-garde animations about vision disability offer their spectators a shift in perception. Yet while Ishihara shifts medicalized perceptions of disability, Many Happy Returns and A Shift in Perception alter the very centricity attributed to vision in spectatorship. The latter create a dream-like or intoxicated-like atmosphere which is based on abstract and ambiguous imagery making what there is to be seen uncertain. This sort of visual uncertainty calls for a haptic interconnection and puts spectators “in-touch” with images, bodies with senses, highs with lows and able-bodied-seeing spectators with vision-disabled people. The live-bodies portrayed in the shorts are subjected to social orientation in the form of compulsory able-bodiedness in a vision-centric culture. Therefore a crip phenomenology analysis of the spectatorship experience of the abstract animations foregrounds their claim that we all fail to see straight. This failure is celebrated both by phenomenology and crip studies since it is a more haptic and un-unified alternative to spectatorship. Drawing from Frankfurt School, this shift in spectatorship may function as a possible antidote to the social hierarchy of the senses and bodies.

 


[1] With sincere gratitude, I acknowledge the support and contributions made by Anat Zanger, Anton Kaes and the editor.

[2] Such as: digital image manipulation, found footage, live action, pixillation, the use of a super 8 mm film, time manipulation, soft focus and cel animation.

[3] Such as: music, digital sound manipulation, dubbing and the use of indexical voices in animated documentary.

[4] David T. Mitchell, T. David, Snyder L. Sharon. Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse. Michigan: The Michigan University Press, 2001.

[5] Hansen, Miriam. “Introduction to Adorno, “Transparencies on Film (1966)” in New German Critique, No. 24/25, (Autumn, 1981 – Winter, 1982), 197.

[6] Ibid.

[7]Norris, Van. “Taking an Appropriate Line: Exploring Representation of Disability within British Mainstream Animation”, Animation Studies, vol. 3, 2008, p. 75.

[8] Benjamin, Walter. “A Short History of Photography.” Alan Trachtenberg (ed.) Classical Essays on Photography. [1931] 1980, 142-151.

[9] Hansen 1987, 217.

[10] Ibid 210.

[11] Siebers, Tobin. “Trauma Art: Injury and Wounding in the Media Age”, Disability Aesthetics. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, p. 108.

[12] Ibid, p. 109.

[13] Norden, Martin F.. The Cinema of Isolation: A History of Physical Disability in the Movies. New Brunswick and New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1994, 20.

[14] Longmore, Paul K.. “Screening Stereotypes: Images of Disabled People in Television and Motion Pictures.” Why I Burnt my Book and Other Essays on Disability. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, [1985]. 2003, 133, 143.DiMare, Philip. “Representations of Disability in Film.” Movies in American History: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, Vol. 1: 2011, 1050.

[15] The one-eyed hit man in the 1984 series Hot Pursuit or the dependent heroine in A Patch of Blue (Guy Green 1965). Longmore [1985] 2003, 133, 143, DiMare 2011, 1050.

[16] Diana, Rocky’s blind girlfriend in Mask (Peter Bogdanovich 1985). Longmore, 142.

[17] Bright Victory (Mark Robson 1951), Pride of the Marines(Delmer Daves 1945). DiMare, 1051.

[18] Longmore, 137-141.

[19] Oliver, Michael. Understanding Disability: From Theory to Practice. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996, 32-33. Wendell, Susan. “The Social Construction of Disability.” The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability. New York: Routledge, 1996.

[20] Brylla, Catalin. “‘Documentary and (Dis)ability’ Symposium, University of Surrey, United Kingdom, 20 September 2013.” Studies in Documentary. 2014, 2.

[21] See: Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (Tran.). New York: Harper & Row, 2008 [1927]. Dreyfus, Hubert. Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger’s Being and Time, Division I. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991.

[22] Hansen, 211.

[23] Benjamin, Walter. On Hashish. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 2006.

[24] Ibid, pp. 59-60.

[25] Ibid, p. 60.

[26] Ibid, p. 50.

[27]Ahmed, Sara. “Introduction”, Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others. Durham and London: Duke University Press, p. 2.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Kafer, Alison. Feminist, Queer, Crip. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 2013, 16-17.

[30] Halberstam, Judith. The Queer Art of Failure. Durham: Duke University Press. 2011, 2.

[31] Merleau-Ponty, Maurice (1968). “The Intertwining – The Chiasm,” Claude Lefort (Ed.), Alphonso Lingis (Tran.) The Visible and the Invisible, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, p. 137.

[32] Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of Perception, trans. Colin Smith. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1962, p. 229, in: Sobchack, Vivian. “What My Fingers Knew: The Cinesthetic Subject, or Vision in the Flesh, 2000.

[33] Ibid.

[34]Finkelstein, Frank. “A Shift in Perception”, in: Film Threat, June 25, 2007. http://www.filmthreat.com/reviews/10793/ .

[35] Sobchack, Vivian. “What my Fingers Knew: The Cinesthetic Subject, or Vision in the Flesh”, in Senses of Cinema, Issue 5 2000.

[36] An interesting perspective on synaesthesia and people with strong visual reaction to sound is portrayed in Samantha Moore’s animated documentary An Eyeful of Sound (2010).

[37] Price, Janet and Margari Shildrick, 2006. “Bodies Together: Touch, Ethics and Disability Theory”, in: Marian Corker and Tom Shakespeare (ed.) Disability/Postmodernity: Embodying Disability Theory, Continuum, London, 62-75.

[38] Ibid, 66.

[39] Ibid, 71.

[40] Sobchack, Vivian. “What my Fingers Knew”.

[41] Marks, Laura U. “The Memory of the Senses.” The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2000. 194-242.