“Bringing the Unseen out of the Shadows”: in Pursuit of Ciné-Trance and Film-Performance in Ben Russell’s the quarry (2002) and TRYPPS #7 (BADLANDS) (2010)

Kornelia Boczkowska


This paper aims to present the ways in which Ben Russell’s films, the quarry and TRYPPS #7 (BADLANDS), tend to draw on conventions traditionally associated with ciné-trance (TRYPPS #7), as developed by Jean Rouch, and film-performance (TRYPPS #7 and the quarry). While both pictures invoke the presence of the sublime, the quarry transforms the featured landscape into an image-object and hence fails to represent the lived experience and instead provides the audience with a spectacle or a sensation simultaneously engaging them in the performance on their own terms. Meanwhile, TRYPPS #7’s reliance on ciné-trance becomes more evident in its attempt to expose the hypnotic and deceptive capabilities of moving-image media, which do not only distort the spectator’s rational sense of space and perspective, but also connote the phenomenon of possession itself through featuring the protagonist’s narcotic trance. To achieve the desired effect, Russell creates an atmosphere of sublimity and transcendence by means of structural and avant-garde film’s devices that transcend the realist–narrative paradigm of anthropological filmmaking, including static and kinetic montage, multiple perspectives, hand-held and rotating camera movements, intimate long takes or fixed shots of extended duration.

Article received: December 28, 2017; Article accepted: January 10, 2018; Published online: April 15, 2018; Original scholarly paper


How to cite this article: Boczkowska, Kornelia. "'Bringing the Unseen out of the Shadows': in Pursuit of Ciné-Trance and Film-Performance in Ben Russell’s the quarry (2002) and TRYPPS #7 (BADLANDS) (2010)." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 15 (2018): 113–126. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i15.235


American experimental and avant-garde film; ciné-trance; film-performance; Ben Russell; the quarry; TRYPPS #7 (BADLANDS)

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25038/am.v0i15.235


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