ARCHITECTURES OF CRISIS IN BLINDESS AND SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK

May Chew

Abstract


This paper endeavours to do two things at once. It posits, firstly, that Fernando Meirelles’s Blindness (2008) and Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York (2008), can be conceptualized through the language of crisis and quarantine, in order to illustrate how architectural  and discursive enclosures—or the synchronized acts of building and narrating crisis—work to anxiously “contain the outbreak” and regulate the wayward text or body. At the same time, this paper also looks at the ways in which Synecdoche, when compared to the more prototypical quarantine film, Blindness, is in the end rather ambivalent with regards to the disciplinary project of quarantine, and in fact leaves room for unresolved tensions and renegade narratives which function to significantly trouble the articulation and containment of crisis.

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