Nawel Sebih: The (Im-)Possible Representation of Traumatic Historical Events in Cinema: Digging Voids and Excavating Absence

This research aims to examine the aesthetic of the void in light of its close relation to the representation of tragic historical events. The study of films from WWI to the Yugoslav Wars allows us to identify the fundamentally non-symbolic aspect of trauma as a causal origin of this correlation. This demonstration leads to the identification of three key stages on which the cinematic representation of trauma is mostly based. Each of these three phases revolves around a distinctively traumatic blankness similar to the absence that counter-monuments aim to create or intensify when commemorating communal traumas.

Nawel Sebih has a PhD with highest honors in Cinema and Audio-Visual Studies from the University of Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle (IRCAV) for her thesis about the figures and dispositifs of the void in cinema. Her current research interests involve the aesthetic of the void in light of its close relation to the representation of traumatic historical events in the visual arts, and in cinema in particular. She has been given the opportunity to be published and has presented her research at several university conferences across Europe.


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