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Unit Overview


This unit investigates the historical development of a progressive film experiment that examined the unique material properties of the film medium and infused progressive cultural thinking in its works. The issues of the film avant-garde are discussed in relation to global technological developments in the cinema, the theoretical speculation of contemporary art and the evolving problem of exhibition and distribution. The objectives of the unit are to investigate an area of the film avant-garde that instil knowledge of the cultural, social and technological relations that mediate this form of cultural practice in order to enhance the student's ability to research and communicate an effective theoretical analysis of the subject.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the History of Art major sequence
  • Level 3 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the historical and cultural progression of the film avant-garde that focused upon material exploration and the perceptual circumstances of exhibition; (2) display an ability to make correlations between trans-historical works and to synthesise forms of analysis that makes relationships between the film avant-garde, technological development and other areas of critical cultural discourse and art; (3) analyse the specific nature of cinematic exhibition and in relation to other forms of art and the dissemination of cultural values within those practices; (4) integrate art historical research techniques in the development of written texts that infuse the critical discourse surrounding avant-garde film practice and provide a fresh theoretical analysis of the subject; (5) enhance written and spoken communication skills within reflective comparative examinations of key works from the film avant-garde; and (6) develop substantial connections between the film avant-garde and the broader cultural milieu.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) short essay; (2) research paper; and (3) seminar presentation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Peter Mudie
Unit rules
at least one Level 2 unit from the History of Art major sequence
VISA3340 Materialist Avant-Garde Film
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
seminars: 2 hours per week
Enrolled students can access unit material via the LMS (Learning Management System).
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.