The course of "Avant-garde and experimental cinema" is one of the activities in the free section of the DAMS BA, and is dedicated in particular to the “Cinema, television and new media” program.
The course focuses on the history of avant-garde and experimental cinema according to a multiplicity of perspectives concerning theoretical reflection, cultural context, stylistic forms, relations with other arts and other media, the role of counter-culture, the notion of post-cinema and the digital landscape. The aim is to provide knowledge and methodological tools that allow to measure themselves critically with the historical and theoretical forms of avant-garde and audiovisual experimentation.
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Central and privileged object of the history of traditional art, the human figure has undergone, especially in the last forty years, an iconic and cultural modification, reconfiguring itself through the body-screen relationship, which redefines the theories and expressive practices acquired by the system of media and contemporary arts. The course aims to analyze the prevailing relationships between the human figure and statuary, tracing an iconographic mapping of the most recent and significant representations of the body in the field of artistic experimentation: from underground and artist cinema to photography, from sculpture to performance, to video art. Using a versatile methodology that combines visual and cultural studies with the theories of media and plastic arts, we want to reflect on some characteristic figurations of contemporary bodies and on their processes and representative models. The focus of interest is linked to the widespread and pervasive role that media devices and their extensions and technological applications have taken on our perceptual, iconographic and identity regimes.

Core Documentation

Giacomo Ravesi, Le maschere di Dioniso. Figure del corpo tra arti visive, media e tecnologia, Armando, Roma 2021.
A selection of texts edited by the teacher, available at the beginning of the course at the photocopy shop of viale Leonardo Da Vinci, n. 168.

For non-attendance students:
Roy Menarini, Il corpo nel cinema. Storie, simboli e immaginari, Pearson Italia/Bruno Mondadori, Milano, 2015.

Feature film: David Cronenberg, Videodrome (1983); Jan Švankmajer, Spiklenci slasti (Cospiratori del piacere, 1996); Matthew Barney, The Cremaster Cycle (1994-2002).
Anthology of avant-garde and underground film: Jean Cocteau, Fernand Léger, Luis Buñuel, Jean Genet, Maya Deren, Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith, Barbara Hammer, Jan Švankmajer, Alberto Grifi.
Anthology of videoart: Nam June Paik, Gianni Toti, Tony Oursler, Gary Hill, Orlan, Zbigniew Rybczynski, Mariko Mori, Studio Azzurro, Stephen e Timothy Quay, Chris Landreth, Bériou, Char Davies, Leonardo Carrano, Egbert Mittelstädt, Kouhei Nakama, Andrew Thomas Huang, Francesca Fini, Alessandro Amaducci, Igor Imhoff, Alessandro Bavari, Beatrice Pucci, Rita Casdia, Donato Sansone.
Anthology of music-video: Lady Gaga, Bjӧrk, Madonna, Marilyn Manson, Tool.
Films and videos will be shown in full or in part during lessons. Dvd copies will be available at the Biblioteca "Lino Miccichè", via Ostiense 139.

Reference Bibliography

Barbara Grespi, Figure del corpo. Gesto e immagine in movimento, Meltemi, Milano, 2019. Stefania Rimini, Every body needs some body… Figure del desiderio e linguaggi della visione, Kaplan, Torino, 2019. Alessandro Amaducci, Screendance. Sperimentazioni visive intorno al corpo tra film, video e computer grafica, Kaplan, Torino, 2020.

Type of delivery of the course

Frontal lessons integrated with movies and audiovisual materials.


Optional, but attendance is strongly recommended due to the poor availability of the audiovisual materials shown during the lessons.

Type of evaluation

Oral. Students can write a text on a theme developed during the course. The text must be of around 20.000 characters and will be an integration – not a substitution – of the oral exam. It must be given to the teacher 10 days before the exams.