Bodil Marie Stavning Thomson: Lars von Trier's diagrams of affect 1990s till 2014


The films of Lars von Trier have often been seen in accord with his performative efforts or been read referring to his own reading manuals (Dogma rules, etc.). This speech will aesthetically explore what I refer to as Trier's production of »diagrams of affect«. In order to theoretically scrutinize his methods, Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy on film and affect as well as his cooperation with Félix Guattari on haptic and striated space, the refrain, the diagram, faceality and microperception will be applied. This approach is non-representational, and in line with Deleuze’s philosophical approach to film as »blocks of sensation« that create affects and percepts the guiding question will be: What percepts and affects generate thoughts in Lars von Trier’s film? This speech will mainly focus on the relation between filmic, electronic and digital materiality, and on haptic compositions and the diagramming procedures of the hand-held, multiplied or confined film camera in order to explore how Trier is actually able to create types of filmic interfaces involving affect. The paper's accent will be on the Depression Trilogy: »Antichrist« (2009), »Melancholia« (2011) and »Nymphomaniac« (2014). Even though these films are loaded with literary and symbolic references, they also highlight 'the signaletic material' of film in the ways in which psychic conditions are affectively and digitally transferred (or transfused) to the audience by way of various real-time imitations, haptic distortions of vision and hearing as well as diagramming technics.