The Colour of the Possible: Olafur Eliasson, and Gilles Deleuze’s ‘Colour-Image’ in Claire Denis’ High Life

By Tamara Tasevska

DOI 10.15664/fcj.v0i17.2082

Filmmaker Claire Denis’ palette is known for its natural, urban, and earthy tones that call attention to experiences and perceptions of skin colour. Critics Andrew Asibong and Isabelle le Corff have observed that her filming of Black skin, in particular, enters into the colour spectrum as a means of mediating postcolonial, social, and political spaces.[1] However, in her most recent film High Life (2018), colour exceeds the overt reference to racialised perceptions to focus on broadly conceived questions of existence and ethics in a world marked by loss, isolation, and exile. Denis achieves this by experimenting with the chromatic medium and colour sensations, notably through the use of intensely saturated hues and luminous fluorescence.

Set in the not-so-distant future, High Life takes place inside a spaceship designed for prisoners who have opted for the participation in a scientific mission to outer space, in lieu of execution or life imprisonment on Earth. The spaceship is the film’s dominant object, shaped through isolating and repetitive shots that alternate between its colour-saturated interiors and rectilinear exterior.[2] The artificial green, blue, red, and yellow lights of the film’s palette are rendered all the more striking with the help of Denis’ artistic consultant, Olafur Eliasson – an installation artist who describes his own work as activating light and space through the use of colour.[3]

Drifting through deep space, High Life’s spaceship speaks of the inner and outer worlds of one of the prisoners, Monte (Robert Pattinson), who together with an infant, Willow (conceived with his sperm against his knowledge and consent, and born on the spaceship), become the only survivors of the mission after violent events lead to the deaths of the other prisoners. With no possibility of return to Earth, Monte decides to raise Willow and narrates his story through a series of distorted and discontinuous flashbacks which curiously echo the spaceship’s colourism.

Alongside the scenes set on the spaceship, which are filmed digitally, High Life features flashback sequences of stark, wintry landscapes on Earth that are shot on 16mm in Poland and which are dominated by blueish, darkened tones. As objects of nature, technology and memory, these images are moreover resonant with the extensive sample of seemingly random film and video materials sent from Earth. These range from early documentaries to glitchy home videos and sporting events, and are screened in a separate transmission room inside the spaceship. Engaging with the past and collective memory from Earth is no doubt central to the film. As these recollections and fictional/non-fictional forms of media interact, they force Monte to renegotiate with his past and the intolerable present on the spaceship.

In order to gain a better understanding of Denis’ engagement with representations of memory, this text will examine the provocative images of filmed colour, and how they function within the film’s framework. I will show that the images of intensified colour not only articulate the environment of the spaceship, but that they are also self-consciously framed as studies of memory attempting to describe a new sensibility in search of an alternative, even when there seems to be no imaginable future. First, I will look at High Life’s use of intensified colour in relation to Eliasson’s artwork and its ecological aesthetics. Second, I will theorise this use of colour as a perceptual affect through Gilles Deleuze’s notion of the colour-image, as it is conceptualised in Cinema 2: The Time-Image (1985). This essay will ultimately trace the political and ethical potential of the colour-image, wherein colour acts as an agency in and of itself.

The opening shot of High Life figures the lush green imagery of the spaceship’s garden. By focusing on the abundant plant life, it reveals how the garden is tarnished by objects that suggest human presence. The atmospheric sound of the film emerges through a series of electronic overtones mingling with the lilting noise of spraying mist, which envelopes the viewer in a natural and artificial soundscape that attends to the visual tracking of this human-made garden. This establishing shot is followed by repetitive still shots of doorways and passageways of the spaceship; isolating and pausing on the moving flows of shadow and lights that glow green, orange, red, and blue, illuminating the otherwise bare space. Poignantly, then, a baby’s cry enters the soundscape, followed by Monte’s comforting voice, as the visual cuts to a fixed shot of Willow watching two screens simultaneously showing footage of early ethnographic documentaries by Edward Curtis and of Monte within the spaceships’ surveillance cameras.[4]

The temporal structure evoked here curiously merges an origin story from a distant past with high-technological modernity. The scrubby nursery surrounding Willow (Scarlett Lindsey) figures sagging wires, sound speakers, and spotlights which reflect a constellation of small patches of multi-coloured lights playing on the darkened walls of the room. Recalling early nineteenth-century magic lanterns, these initial shots use back projection, concealed mirrors, screens and multi-coloured glass to project light and illusory images, not only as means of evoking the freewheeling interchange between the animate and inanimate world, but also to modulate the spaceship’s translation of matter and memory into form; precipitating a split between organic life and technology that will govern the rest of the film.

Spotlights, coloured air, and luminous patches of light are indeed prominent elements of many of the film’s still and tracking shots, created with the use of smoke, grids, monofrequency lamps, plastic panels and coloured glass. While watching these images that reconfigure techno-vitality and natural phenomena inside artificially constructed spaces, one thinks specifically of Eliasson’s own immersive installations, such as Your Lighthouse (1991-2004), Your Rainbow Panorama (2006-2011) and The Weather Project (2013), to name few. Known for using organic material and innovative technology, Eliasson’s installations stress the importance of a subject’s embodied perception and sensory experience. They are intended, as the artist himself explains, to construct a discourse of environment and of one’s positionality within an ecosystem.[5] This ecological aesthetic is present in Denis’ film as it is in Eliasson’s art.

As if immersed in Eliasson’s installations, the camera in High Life often follows the prisoners as they move inside the eco-machinic set-up of the spaceship, activating its sensory atmosphere, but also its vital functioning through the use of colour. For instance, flashing red lights, alarm sounds, and fog warn the prisoners to enter a daily report (“to feed the dog,” as Monte says), which allows for the “prolongation of life-support systems for 24 hours”. Some of the flashbacks emerge as if directly triggered by the spaceship’s surface, as we see in a scene in which a dropped tool reminds Monte of his crime on Earth; or in another, where engraved words on the spaceship’s damaged walls trigger a series of various memory images. As the film shifts between 16mm and HD images, between materiality and memory, it becomes increasingly evident that colours, technology, bodily presence and vitality bind together to produce and structure an interrelated ecology.

Critics often discuss the way Eliasson’s artworks straightforwardly point to constructed climates, changing atmospheres (or atmospheric change) and spaces of containment as primary means of collective, political and environmental engagement. Jonathan Crary, for instance, considers them as “groundless spaces filled with forces, affects and intensities”, emphasising the way they materialise non-hierarchical “virtual zones”, hovering on the edge of actualisation.[6] Bruno Latour, moreover, views his installations as explorations of the “nature of atmospheres in which we are all collectively attempting to survive”.[7] This discussion particularly resonates with the filmic fabric of High Life, where specific references to environment and climate merge with themes of incarceration.

In one flashback, Monte’s voice-over explicitly refers to human beings with signifiers of environmental politics: “we were scum, trash, refuse that didn’t fit into the system, until someone had the bright idea of recycling us” – a claim which is illustrated with images of train-hopping outcasts, then disciplining and assimilating prisoners, rendering them productive for the system. This is equally reflected in scenes set in the corridor, where the characters circulate, enveloped in an intense blue that is created by monochromic lighting.[8] The colour blue that glows with this fluorescent and synthetic force, inevitably solicits our attention to Earth, the “blue planet”, to its nature and organic vitality, but it also poignantly mirrors the atmosphere of strong gravity and radiation of outer space, as well as the atmosphere of confinement often experienced through Eliasson’s installations. Unlike the grainy blueish texture of the 16mm film, which recalls a medium of the past, the intense fluorescent blue on the spaceship, filmed using digital technology, brings to attention qualities related to both artificial, synthetic colouring and digital colour technologies in the new age of electronic media.

As Carolyn L. Kane observes, fluorescent technologies, whether chemical or electronic, illustrate several paradoxes in terms of perceptible quality, including the fact that they both generate and reflect light.[9] When used in cinema, fluorescent, digital colour can simultaneously “intensify the narrative form” and the “aesthetic of the visual image” as it appears on screen.[10] Kane furthermore illustrates that, like the development of fluorescent colour in Western aesthetics, digital colour technologies are hardly divorced from mass consumerism, and market and commercial interests.[11] Seen through this perspective, High Life’s use of fluorescent, digital colour is highly suggestive when read within the visualisation of the discourse and critique of corporate globalisation, presented in the film through the heroic and radical collective project imposed on the prisoners. The experiment they are engaged in, which could be interpreted as a thinly veiled suicide mission, consists of investigating energy extracted from a black hole to build up Earth’s energy resources. The mission is regarded as a viable techno-ecological solution to the contemporary global population crisis, society’s dependency on scarce natural resources such as oil, and the accordingly turbulent geopolitics. However, as the film makes clear, this experiment is also issued from a long history of imperialism, colonisation, prisoner exploitation, over-taxation of the environment as well as marginalisation and exclusion. This gesture poignantly alludes to global economic and ecologic issues, notably critiquing the existing political landscape imposed by “Occidental government authorities”, as the Indian philosophy professor (Victor Banerjee) puts it, in one flashback to Earth. By suggesting that the effects of imperialist governance, digital-synthetic cultures and environmental issues are intertwined, High Life urgently calls into question the different kinds of ethical and political sensibilities shaped in relation to existing integrations of the debates and discourse on the technocratic governance of the global system of late-capitalism, and the unpredictable (yet impeding) catastrophic effects of climate change.[12]

While Eliasson’s installations are intended to produce critique through the spectators’ physical presence and immediate perception, Denis’ film engages us from the perspective of the cinematic process of visualisation and narration. High Life, like many of her earlier films, uses voice-over and elliptical narration, flash-forward, and long tracking shots that allow for time to emerge somatically, and eschew conventional image-sound relations in favour of emphasising different kinds of movement through a given space. Colour, through this movement, loses its referential capacities, detaches itself from the narrative action of the film, and comes to act as a force that intervenes between perception and action. This construction of colourscapes brings to mind Gilles Deleuze’s associations of the splitting of actual and virtual in what he termed time-image and specifically, colour-image, one of the time-image’s avatars. As Deleuze explains, there takes place a certain “worldizing” [mondialisation], a depersonalising effect, when colour no longer attaches itself to a character or action, but acts as an asignifying affect, absorbing characters, and situations beyond the movement of the narrative, and enabling cinema to become “pure optical, sound (and tactile) image”.[13]

The use of colour as means of arresting narrative is not something new to modern cinema, and is apparent in the history of colour film more broadly. As Joshua Yumibe observes, the vast majority of early silent films used filters and applied colouring techniques such as toning and tinting in ways to undermine the logic of realism of the cinematic narrative. There, as Yumibe writes, colour “functions as a direct address, rupturing the scenic to project a virtual sense of physical contact with the audience, in high relief”.[14] While most viewers of classical cinema have become accustomed to colour uses that are motivated by realism as well as narrative, some directors, like Denis, manage to use cinematic image as a kind of sensate flesh, “in high relief”, as Yumibe puts it, bringing to attention the colour’s “thingness”.[15] This use of colour is precisely what interested Deleuze about modern cinema. For him, the colour-image takes the form of a perceptual affect; it does not refer to a particular object nor is it strictly used symbolically, but rather “absorbs all that it can” in a movement beyond the narrative action of the film.[16] The examples of colour-images that Deleuze provides, interestingly stem from films in which colour creates, as he puts it, images that look “out of this world” – a term that also intimately resonates with High Life’s aesthetics.[17] The examples Deleuze gives include: the mental and vital colours of Kubrick’s Space Odyssey (1968), or Antonioni’s deserted, empty spaces of Red Desert (1964), but also the colourful reveries of Minnelli’s musical comedies. The colour-image in these films reconfigures movement by giving rise to “dream-worlds” or states of “reverie, of waking dream, strangeness or enchantment”, activating in the process, virtual potentials no longer attached to the narrative movement.[18] We can see this, for instance, in the musical numbers of Minnelli’s films, in which from an ordinary, banal situation like walking on a street, a character gets transported into a virtual “implied dream” of a shared world.[19] Colours here rise up beyond the actual situation of the narrative of the film, absorbing characters, objects and the whole situation into a collective, virtual movement of pure affect.[20]

Unlike Minnelli’s colour-images of enchanted collective dreams, High Life’s colour-images are subjects to something darker, as they encompass individual sufferings as well as an overall intolerable atmosphere of isolation and confinement. Within these colour-images, the cinematic process of slowing things down to the point of suspension is enhanced by lighting and colour to engage a particular spectatorial consciousness that loses track of both narrative and lived time. This is best demonstrated in situations where the characters, overwhelmed by intense colour, are positioned in interstitial spaces that apprehend the similarities between the natural world on Earth and the constructed environment of the spaceship. In one of the film’s most dazzling scenes, we see a flashback to Dr. Dibs (a prisoner participating in the mission, played by Juliette Binoche) bewilderingly enveloped in bright blue light and a stream of air blowing from the spaceship’s air conditioning system.[21] The camera alternates between medium shots of Binoche’s body and close-ups of her closed eyes, as she dramatically inhales the conditioned air as if it were a fresh mountain breeze. Evoking elements of the natural world, the technology of this scene’s setting simulates the atmospheric effects of weather. Dibs is situated in the spaceship’s corridor where the monochromic lighting and reflecting panels colour the air and the whole of the setting with a glowing blue intensity. The exchange between her and the blue-infused air illuminating her in a halo is profoundly affective, evoking a sense of intimacy and tactility. The colour-image of this scene allows for a reconfiguration of time relations and narrative linearity. In order to understand this, it is crucial to trace how this blue dreamy scene emerges in Monte’s flashbacks.

Figure 1: Dr. Dibs absorbed in blue-infused air. High Life (Claire Denis, 2018).

Like the random films and videos from Earth that reach the spaceship’s screens, (which Monte calls “viruses” and “parasites”, using again the semantic play of references to biology and technology), we can be led to believe that this hallucinatory scene erupting into Monte’s present is equally uninvited. At first, the scene appears to merge an objective reality with Monte’s fantasy. However, on second viewing, this scene might also appear solely as a product of fantasy, evoking something not witnessed by Monte. Suspended between past and present, between memory and fantasy, this blue-saturated scene does not re-create an event from the past or uncover a truth about something that happened on the spaceship. Rather, it points to a direct and conscious creation of the past, which opens itself to the possibility of a different future. It intervenes in the way the temporality and the ordering of the world of the spaceship operate within the time and structure of the film itself.

If we look at the microscopic world of the spaceship presented through the perspective of Monte’s memory, we will see that even early into the mission, Monte is figured as a solitary character, isolating himself from the others, and realising perhaps that this bubble-world of the spaceship resembles the imaginary and socio-economic coordinates of the violent and wrongful world he had experienced on Earth. The film indeed alludes to the many ways the world of the spaceship, together with its outwardly capitalist mission, perpetuates the social and teleological coordinates of our current world, profoundly dominated by “Occidental authorities” and white imperial logic. Thus, in Monte’s memory, the characters and events on the spaceship appear as somewhat distorted versions and figures of our own world. Dibs is an embodiment of the mythical Medea (the tragic protagonist from Euripides’ play Medea (431BC), who killed her children to punish her husband) and a witch (her heavy hair reaches her thighs), who biologically experiments on the prisoners to “create the perfect human”, despite radiation effects. As the film unfolds, we see her reproductive exploitations lead to the death of Elektra (Gloria Obianyo), a black woman whose name is another reference to a tragic mythological figure. After this event, Tcherny (André Benjamin), the other black prisoner onboard, states that “black people are the first to die even in outer-space” – a claim, which is not without reference to Denis’ long-standing attention to racial dynamics, and which points to the hierarchical ordering and control of the world as we know it. As the narrative develops, we find out that Dibs’ experiments ultimately lead to the birth of Willow, who in the film is presented as the result of two white people’s supposedly “strong genes”. After other violent and tragic events, such as rape, murder and suicide, leave Monte alone on the spaceship, he decides to raise the infant – initially by following and recreating the order of this world. It is not accidental that “taboo” is the first word Monte teaches Willow – a Freudian concept that underlies the notion of incest and the beginning of (Western) civilisation.[22]

As Deleuze explains, the colour-image emerges as a cinematic stoppage that interrupts the narrative continuity of the film and signals a temporality that exists beyond the diegesis.[23] On the level of High Life’s narrative movement, the blue-suffused colour-image emerges at the moment when Monte’s idea to recreate a world on the spaceship according to the logic of our world on Earth collapses. This colour-image can be viewed as the climax of Monte’s blockage to act upon his situation, but also as the beginning of his opening up to the ideas of the possible to establish new morals and order. The colour here detaches itself from an individual character and a specific reference. Its intensity and perceptual affect transform the perceptible fabric of a shared world. If we look at this scene again we will see that it is filmed through a series of reaction shots between the prisoners and Dibs. The sequence begins by capturing Dibs absorbed in her own thoughts and blue-suffused air. As the prisoners watch her, the camera shifts to close-ups of their faces, bodies and actions. Some of them in turn interrupt their daily affairs and pause, as if transfixed and aroused, to collectively absorb the appeal of Dibs’ image, which comes to echo and resonate with a new desiring intensity. The intense colour-image absorbs them and the whole of the spaceship as an affective reality, momentarily circumscribing different facets of a shared, but hidden single world. This affective reality is the complementary landscape of the possible, which in the given situation cannot be actualised, but can only serve as a means to signal a new sensibility, asking for an ethical engagement, without revealing in what form or expression this novel appearance of promise and belief might look like.[24]

The last scene of High Life, staged outside the spaceship, incorporates elements from Denis’ and Eliasson’s previous collaboration on a short film, Contact (2014). It begins by showing Monte and teenaged Willow (Jessie Ross) against the black hole’s absolute intensity, which nimbly illuminates them in yellowish tones, as they decide together to move forward, their futures uncertain. Poignantly, Denis shot this scene on 35mm in order to capture, as she explained, an “irradiating” yellow light through the direct “chemical reaction” of film.[25] In a final moment that reverberates into the future with new intensity, Monte asks “Shall we?”, a sentence Denis describes as a marriage proposal.[26] Their first and last step into the unknown of the black hole, appears at once as a death sentence and a promise of resurrection. The scene ambiguously ends by displaying a horizontal band of yellow light expanding to fill the entire screen in intense white, transforming the screen into a blank canvas. As the narrative closes, obliterating the characters into the void of the black hole, the screen’s intense brightness reverberates, folding the film back on itself. Denouncing the intolerable, corrupted vision of the world, this final gesture is both an over-exposure and an erasure of its narrative, asking us to rethink the world and invent new ways to live and relate.


[1] Andrew Asibong, “Claire Denis’s Flickering Spaces of Hospitality,” L’Esprit Créateur, vol. 51, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 154-167; Isabelle le Corff, “Postcolonialism in Claire Denis’ Chocolat and White Material: Africa Under the Skin,” Black Camera, vol. 10, no. 1 (Fall 2018): 123-143. Chocolat (1988), Beau Travail (1999), 35 Shots of Rum (2008), White Material (2009) are some of Denis’ films that explicitly tackle such issues. For another productive account of Denis’ use of colour in relation to racialised perception of skin, see Michael T. Martin, Eileen Julien, “Post colony’s Colonial Registers in Claire Denis’s Chocolat and White Material,” Black Camera, vol. 10, no. 1 (Fall 2018): 99-122; For a broader reflection of Denis’ cinematic style and colour palette, see Judith Mayne, Claire Denis (Urbana: U of Illinois Press, 2005); and Martine Beugnet, Claire Denis (Manchester: Manchester U Press, 2004).

[2] The spaceship resembles a floating container or “shoebox”, as Denis puts it, emphasising its atmosphere of containment and capture. See, David Sims, “The Artistic Chemistry of Robert Pattinson and Claire Denis,” The Atlantic, April 10, 2019: (last accessed May 8, 2020).

[3] Olafur Eliasson, “Olafur Eliasson: Playing with Light and Space,” TED2009 video, filmed February 2009, posted July 2009.

[4] This juxtaposition is striking, bringing attention to forms of colonialism, and establishing a relation of visual order between the regimes of ethnographic practices and disciplinary/observational technology. For Denis’ discussion of High Life and Edward S. Curtis’ fictionalised documentaries, see Pamela Hutchinson, “Heavenly Bodies,” Sight and Sound, vol.29, no. 6 (June 2019): 25; and listen to podcast Le réveil culturel, “Claire Denis : ‘C’est plutôt un film de prison que de science-fiction,’” directed/written/performed by Tewfik Hakem, aired on July 11, 2018, on France Culture:

[5] Quoted in Olivia Eriksson, “Reaching out: Activating space in the art of Olafur Eliasson,” NECSUS: European journal of media studies, vol.4, no. 1 (June 12, 2015): 287-293.

[6] Jonathan Crary, “Olafur Eliasson: Visionary Events,” Olafur Eliasson, ed. by Kunsthalle Basel (Berlin / Muttenz: Schwabe & Co, 1997), 63-64.

[7] Bruno Latour, “Atmosphere, atmosphere,” quoted in Louise Hornby, “Appropriating the Weather: Olafur Eliasson and Climate Control,” Environmental Humanities, vol. 9, no. 1 (2017): 67.

[8] For Eliasson’s use of monochromic fluorescent lamps, see Anna Souter, “The Sprawling Ecologies of Olafur Eliasson,” Hyperallergic, August 5, 2019: (last accessed June 16, 2020).

[9] Carolyn L. Kane, Chromatic Algorithms: Synthetic Colour, Computer Art and Aesthetics after Code (Chicago and London: U. of Chicago Press, 2014), 44.

[10] Ibid, 251.

[11] Ibid, 47-58.

[12] On political governance, ecology and economy, see Thomas Pringle, Gertrud Koch and Bernard Stiegler, Machine (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2019), esp. 49-99. For a more detailed discussion on the relationship between incarcerated population and climate change, see Njideka C. Motanya and Pamela Valera, “Climate Change and Its Impact on the Incarcerated Population: A Descriptive Review,” Social Work in Public Health, vol.31 (May 5, 2016): 348-357.

[13] Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989), 58-64.

[14] Joshua Yumibe, Moving Colour: Early Film, Mass Culture, Modernism (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2012), 79. Yumibe emphasises how colour is used to create spectacular, eye-catching images of the world, —examples of what Tom Gunning has termed the “cinema of attractions.” On the attraction of colour in early cinema, see Tom Gunning, “Colorful Metaphors: The Attraction of Colour in Early Cinema,” Fotogenia 1 (1995): 249-255.

[15] Yumibe, Moving Colour, 79.

[16] Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 1: The Movement Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986), 118.

[17] Deleuze, Cinema 2, 204-205.

[18] Ibid, 58-59.

[19] Ibid, 59.

[20] Ibid, 61-64, 102.

[21] This scene also intimately resonates with the colour blue in cinematic history, namely the film Three Colours: Blue (Krzystof Kieslowski, 1993), which also features Juliette Binoche.

[22] For Freud’a psychoanalytic analysis of this concept, see Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo, trans. First published 1950, Routledge & Kegan Paul (London: Routledge Classics, 2001) and Civilisation and Its Discontents, trans. James Strachey (W.W Norton and Company, 1962).

[23] Deleuze, Cinema 2, 182-84.

[24] This resonates with what Thomas Elsaesser via Jean-Luc Nancy has identified as “community-to-come’ in relation to Denis’ recurrent use of abject/sacred character figures. Monte’s character can be viewed as another instantiation of this figure. See Thomas Elsaesser, “European Cinema and the Postheroic Narrative: Jean-Luc Nancy, Claire Denis, and Beau Travail,” New Literary History, vol. 43 no. 4 (2012): 703-725.

[25] When shot digitally this scene gave green tones. Instead, Denis opted for 35mm film, which gave the colour and tactility she desired. (The translations of Denis’ descriptions are mine). See Jean-Sébastien Chauvin and Stéphane Delorme, “Tabou: Entretien avec Claire Denis,” Les Cahiers du cinéma n°749 (2018): 36.

[26] Ibid, 35.


Asibong, Andrew. “Claire Denis’s Flickering Spaces of Hospitality.” L’Esprit Créateur, vol. 51, no. 1 (Spring 2011) : 154-167.

Beugnet, Martine. Claire Denis. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004.

Branigan, Edward. Tracking Colour in Cinema and Art. New York and London: Routledge, 2018.

Crary, Jonathan. “Olafur Eliasson: Visionary Events.” In Olafur Eliasson, ed. by Kunsthalle Basel, 60-66. Berlin / Muttenz: Schwabe & Co, 1997.

———“Your Color Memory: Illuminations of the Unforeseen.” In Olafur Eliasson: Minding the World. Ed. by Caroline Eggel, Studio Olafur Eliasson, and Gitte Ørskou.  219–25. Aarhus: ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, 2004.

Chauvin, Jean-Sébastien, and Delorme, Stéphane. “Tabou: Entretien avec Claire Denis.” Les Cahiers du cinéma n°749 (2018): 34-36.

Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 1: The Movement Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986.

———. Cinema 2: The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta. London: The Athalone Press, 1989.

Eliasson, Olafur. “Olafur Eliasson: Playing with Light and Space.” Filmed February TED2009 video. Posted July 2009.

Elliott, Nicholas. “S’envoyer en l’air.” Les Cahiers du cinéma n°794 (2018): 32-33.

Elsaesser, Thomas. “European Cinema and the Postheroic Narrative: Jean-Luc Nancy, Claire Denis, and Beau Travail.” New Literary History, vol.43, no.4 (Autumn 2012): 703-725.

Eriksson, Olivia. “Reaching out: Activating space in the art of Olafur Eliasson.” NECSUS European journal of media studies, vol.4 no.1 (June 2015): 287-293.

Freud, Sigmund. Totem and Taboo. English Trans. First published 1950 by Routledge & Kegan Paul. London: Routledge Classics, 2001.

———-. Civilisation and Its Discontents. trans. James Strachey. W.W Norton and Company, 1962.

Gunning, Tom. “Colorful Metaphors: The Attraction of Colour in Early Cinema.” Fotogenia 1 (1995): 249-255.

Haken, Tewfik. Le réveil culturel. “Claire Denis : ‘C’est plutôt un film de prison que de science-fiction.’” Aired July 11, 2018, on France Culture.

Hornby, Louise.  “Appropriating the Weather: Olafur Eliasson and Climate Control.” Environmental Humanities, vol.9, no.1 (May 2017): 60-83.

Hutchinson, Pamela. “Heavenly Bodies.” Sight and Sound, vol.29, no. 6 (June 2019): 20-25.

Latour, Bruno. “Atmosphere, atmosphere.” In Olafur Eliasson: The Weather Project, ed. by Susan May, 29-41. London: Tate, 2003.

Le Corff, Isabelle. “Postcolonialism in Claire Denis’s Chocolat and White Material: Africa Under the Skin.” Black Camera, vol. 10, no. 1 (Fall 2018): 123-143.

Martin, Michael T. and Julien, Eileen. “Post colony’s Colonial Registers in Claire Denis’s Chocolat and White Material.” Black Camera, vol.10, no.1 (Fall 2018): 99-122.

Mayne, Judith. Claire Denis. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2005.

Motanya, Njideka C., and Valera, Pamela. “Climate Change and Its Impact on the Incarcerated Population: A Descriptive Review.” Social Work in Public Health, vol.31 (5 May 2016): 348-357.

Kane, Carolyn L. Chromatic Algorithms. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2014.

Shechet Epstein, Sonia. “Claire Denis’ Science Consultant Talks About High Life”. Science & Film. Last Modified November 14, 2018. Last Accessed May 8, 2020.

Sims, David. “The Artistic Chemistry of Robert Pattinson and Claire Denis.” The Atlantic. Last Modified April 10, 2019. Last Accessed May 8, 2020.

Souter, Anna. “The Sprawling Ecologies of Olafur Eliasson.” Hyperallergic. Last Modified August 5, 2019. Last Accessed June 16, 2020.

Peacock, Stephen. Colour: Cinema Aesthetics. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010.

Pringle, Thomas., Stiegler, Bernard., and Koch, Gertrud. Machine. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2019.

Yumibe, Joshua. Moving Color: Early Film, Mass Culture, Modernism. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2012.


Three Colours: Blue. Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski. France, Poland, Switzerland, 1993.

Contact. Dir. by Claire Denis and Olafur Eliasson. Dir. by Claire Denis. Berlin: Studio Olafur Eliasson, 2014.

High Life. Dir. by Claire Denis. France, UK, Germany, Poland, USA, 2018.

About the Author
Tamara Tasevska
is a PhD candidate in French and Francophone Studies at Northwestern University, where she is a Mellon Interdisciplinary Fellow with the program in Critical Theory Studies. Her research focuses on the creative networks of filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and Claire Denis, as well as writers Marie NDiaye and Emmanuel Hocquard in counterpoint with Gilles Deleuze’s writings on aesthetics, politics and cinema. Her article on Godard’s use of media, comics, and politics was published in the journal Etudes Francophones (Spring 2020). She also has a forthcoming book chapter on François Ozon and the queering of cinematic form.