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UAL Research Online

Secreting History: the spectral and spectacular performance of political violence

Zimmerman, Andrea Luka (2006) Secreting History: the spectral and spectacular performance of political violence. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Zimmerman, Andrea Luka

This project (film materials and Thesis) seeks simultaneously to investigate and perform the conference and exchange between covert operations (real, but whose details, for reasons of official secrecy, can only be imagined) and their spectacular Hollywood renditions (imaginary, but projected in spectacular realism).

The aim here is to identify and analyse the exchanges - imaginary and material - between the spectral and the spectacular rather than point to the accuracy of detail (or otherwise) of the Hollywood account, or oppose a sensationalised and spectacular violence to a stealthy and lethal reality. By focusing on figures who bridge these sites of exchange (people who have been involved, not only in actual operations, but also the staging of their cinematic representations), I have been able to proceed by way of successive layering of performance and artefact, historical chronicle and fictional account, historical figure and Active character.

Encounters with these characters allows this Thesis to question and research the mechanisms and effects of a discursive circuit that links the production of ‘official histories’ - governmental, academic, journalistic - and the production of a mythic cinematic history, on the one hand, with the production of violence, on the other. In this context the concentration on Rambo, both as a series of films and as a significant element of the history and politics of the USA, also serves as an exemplar and research testing ground for a cinematic methodology.

This project is a dialogue between Hollywood and my own filmmaking inquiries (the film project and these reflections on it) and through this dialogue I pursue two purposes, each inextricable from the other. I seek to reiterate the irrecoverability of the historical real, and at the same time, to resist its erasure. Underpinning the dialogue, back and forth, between the actualities of history and its spectacular representation in Hollywood cinema has required extensive research of new primary materials through interviews and correspondence, this material is represented in appendices that are an integral part of the Thesis.

The Thesis concludes with a developed understanding of the relationship between the real, documentary practice and fiction, proposing further extension of the broader research project of which this PhD is part.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

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Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: September 2006
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2023 13:24
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2023 13:28
Item ID: 19715
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/19715

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