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dc.contributor.advisorHarvey, Louise
dc.contributor.authorStone, David Hamilton
dc.description.abstractDuring the Middle Ages, the Christian church primarily employed the visual arts to showcase and communicate theology. Yet within the realms of today’s audio-visual media, the popularity of spoken-word short films indicates a preference within the Christian community for didactic speech over traditional visual symbology. In examining ways in which the primacy of the visual spectacle might be reinstated into modern screenbased forms of theological communication, this doctoral research identifies an enduring and powerful element in the underpinning presence of illumination. Understood in concrete and abstract modes, illumination can be both a physical process of lighting, as well as spiritual or mental knowledge. This multimodality allows it to be an effective allegorical device for expressing abstract theological concepts through concrete visual forms, exemplified in stained-glass windows, magic lantern shows and, as my research proposes, the recent mediums of film and the digital video screen. My research revises the practice of illumination for visual theology in short film. Using a conceptual framework, it identifies key properties of illumination, alongside practical filmmaking equivalents and demonstrations in the form of my three short films. Early cultural and historical studies in religious practice and Platonic philosophy reveal illumination’s allegorical applications, and provide models of comparison by which contemporary methods can be determined. With reference to relevant theories from Roland Barthes, Paul Schrader and André Bazin, my cultural studies indicate that illumination essentially facilitates the mediation process between binaries, including the progression from darkness to light, ignorance to knowledge, concealment to revelation, man to God, confinement to liberation, and death to life. Content, discourse and semiotic analyses were then applied to select short and feature films to identify contemporary equivalents of illumination in faith-based and secular cinema. The surveyed works include the films of Rob Bell, Francis Chan and Robert Bresson, as well as examples from formalist film theory and cinematic realism. Many of the illumination techniques detailed in this body of work appear as specific camera movements, mis-en-scène, symbolic lighting, film editing and reflective narrative pacing. Yet despite illumination being physically essential for film production, my cultural research would suggest that it operates in deeper systems, such as the progression of narrative from concealment to revelation, as from darkness to light. Along with my written research, the practical component of this investigation takes the form of documented optical experiments, and provides a method of assessing how realworld applications of illumination might metaphorically correlate with theological concepts and principles. The findings from both cultural and action research methods informed the production of my three short films: Negative Space (2015), Reflect (2016) and Pierced (2017). Each film functions as a practice-based research output and allows key illumination techniques to be demonstrated, tested and evaluated, consequently providing data for further inquiries. Placing primacy on real-world visual phenomena rather than the spoken word offers audiences a visual narrative that is arguably less didactic and more subjective. My research would suggest that a multimodal application of illumination can be instrumental in reinstating the spectacle in contemporary visual theology.en_US
dc.publisherGriffith University
dc.subject.keywordsIllumination Practiceen_US
dc.subject.keywordsTheological Short Filmen_US
dc.subject.keywordsVisual theologyen_US
dc.titleThe Enlightened Screen: Illumination Practice in Theological Short Filmen_US
dc.typeGriffith thesisen_US
gro.facultyArts, Education and Lawen_US
gro.rights.copyrightThe author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.
gro.hasfulltextNo Full Text
dc.contributor.otheradvisorSpark, Andi
dc.contributor.otheradvisorMoyes, Peter
gro.thesis.degreelevelThesis (PhD Doctorate)en_US
gro.thesis.degreeprogramDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)en_US
gro.departmentQueensland College of Arten_US
gro.griffith.authorStone, David Hamilton

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