ISSN: 20456298
First published in 2012
2 issues per volume
Volume 5 Issue 1-2
Cover Date: December 2016
The interval and the instant: Inscribing death and dying
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Authors:  Steven Eastwood 
DOI: 10.1386/miraj.5.1-2.26_1

death and dying,palliative care ethics,alterity,bare life,immanence,documentary,artists’ moving image,fiction

Non-fiction filming involving death and dying has taboo status in terms of what western society can and cannot sanction – the image of dying is not something we should see, or even want to see. As a consequence, there is very little film-making done with the consent and collaboration of the dying person and there are few moving images of natural or good deaths. The documentary film-makers and artists who have navigated this difficult ethical territory, engendering a space where dying and death can be given images, have done so by adopting a way of seeing, and being with, the terminally ill person that has some confederacy with the practices of the palliative care professional. Drawing upon the writing of Vivian Sobchack and Ernest Becker, as well as Giorgio Agamben’s theory of bare life, and particularly Emmanuel Levinas and his concept of alterity, the article concentrates on art and film that turns to face death and dying. Moving through narrative cinema, observational documentary and artists’ film, and examining specific film works by Stan Brakhage, Sophie Calle, Kirby Dick, Allan King and Bill Viola, among others, the complex area between ethics and aesthetics is explored, suggesting that in the context of film and death there can be an ethics of aesthetics.
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