Posthuman Perspectives: The Strange Case of Jodie Mack and Johann Lurf


  • Vittorio Lubrano New University of Lisbon/IFILNOVA


In this article, I analyze two documentaries screened in the 2019 edition of Doc’s Kingdom: ★ by Johann Lurf and The Grand Bizarre by Jodie Mack. I suggest that these works stand at the juncture between a posthuman sensibility and an original way of conceiving documentary films. Indeed, they constitute an instance of what can be called a machinic documentary – where an excess of sensorial stimulations meets the suspension of the quest for the real. In the first section, I introduce shortly the posthuman turn within the realm of the arts. The disciplines of Literary Studies, Visual Arts, and Moving Images have been among the first to address the challenges raised by the posthuman paradigm and the aesthetic field still seems to be the crucial laboratory for the future of posthumanities. In order to emphasize some of the most innovative aspects of the posthuman transition, I explore in the central section the works of Mack and Lurf according to the following hypothesis: although multilayered and problematic, both artworks can be interpreted as “strange cases” of posthuman documentaries. Despite the singularity of each work and despite their different strategies of film-making and image-editing, both developed original ways of expelling the human from the screen despite the persistence of some traces. Thus, I insist on the main lines of tension that appear from such liberation from the human in film normativity, giving a particular emphasis to the status of spectatorship and to the mutated paradigm of authorship. In both cases, new correlations within the history of documentaries and a dialogue with certain cinema theorists are made possible. I conclude the article with a brief reflection that cannot but remain an open challenge. Surely, notwithstanding the radicality of the project, it is not an easy task to “get rid” of the human. Yet at the same time, what the films of Jodie Mack and Johann Lurf may be insinuating is that the production of a new kind of gaze can enable us to find room for a different ecological and techno- mediated sensibility, beyond self-destructive anthropocentric perspectivism. A peculiar re-reading of the Oedipus complex allows me to raise the fundamental issue: what is it that remains from our aesthetic perception once it has been de-anthropocentered?




How to Cite

Lubrano, V. (2020). Posthuman Perspectives: The Strange Case of Jodie Mack and Johann Lurf. Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image, (12), 61–75. Retrieved from