Introduction: Practice as Research, Politics, Affect, and the Camera

  • Alex Lichtenfels Salford University


This essay focuses on three political topics that run throughout the contents of this special issue. The first area, concerned with the fact that we are all invested in new methods of making art politically, relates closely to debates about the nature and method of practice as research in the creative arts in general and screen production in particular—practices that generate new approaches to making and documenting artwork. The second area, political import, discusses the way that new practices might generate different ways of knowing and how these might provide alternative strategies for engaging with the world than those given by liberal and neoliberal institutions and ideologies. The final area considers artmakers who use cameras in a range of different related media. It argues for the importance of the camera in today’s cultural climate and how that importance might be harnessed in as yet undocumented ways of valuing through artmaking and political action.

Author Biography

Alex Lichtenfels, Salford University

Alex Lichtenfels is a filmmaker and theorist who is a senior lecturer in film production at the University of Salford. He has several years’ experience in the film and television industries, working primarily as a freelance producer and director in corporate and advertising venues. He is also an independent filmmaker with the Primary Films collaborative, producing or directing numerous short films as well as several longer projects. Through his work, he investigates emerging filmmaking practices, driven by research into technological changes and how methods used in other artforms might be applied to filmmaking. He is concerned with how these practices might allow for new types of films that engage audiences in nonstandard ways. He is currently pursuing research projects on remodelling the organization of film production based on anarchist political principles, and the links between film and antihumanist ethics.