What might a synaesthetic cinema look like? Or, better, what might it sound, smell, taste and feel like? This essay approaches David Lynch's Mulholland Drive as a means of thinking through conceptual but concrete descriptions of synaesthesia not as an artistic device, a metaphor, an historical trend, or a rare clinical condition, but as a way of being in space and time —and being in cinema —that is simultaneously abstract and very real. Lynch's film becomes, as well, an opportunity to think about cinematic spectacle and 'excess' in sensorily specific ways. The hallucinatory sensual disjunctions that occur throughout the film reveal a double system of reference: vision and proprioception mutually informing and interrupting one another, in ways that recall Brian Massumi's discussion of topological architecture. Those moments of cinematic, sensory 'excess' are sensual reminders of the degree to which vision is entangled with other senses in the experience of cinema.


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pp. 236-251
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2009
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