In the fourth and final section of the conference, three papers turn the audience’s attention to source material that has not been discussed in the previous sections: moving bodies in moving pictures. Dr. Barbara Englert from Frankfurt takes a very close look at the Hollywood sports film of the 1970s. To Englert, these films are a reflection of contemporary struggles for an American identity in an increasingly heterogeneous society. PD Dr. Olaf Stieglitz from the University of Cologne takes the concept of “moving pictures” a little more literally. Among other material, he presents flicker books from the early 20th century to provide fascinating insights into the visual proliferation of hurdling practices in early 20th century America. Hurdling, he argues, was conceived as a decidedly modern and avant-garde phenomenon due to the lack of an antique tradition and the complexity of movement. Dr. Eva Maria Gajek’s paper closes the section and the conference. Unfortunately, the historian from the University of Giessen had fallen ill a few days before the conference, so that Jörn Eiben reads her paper. By taking a closer look at the broadcast of the marathon at the 1972 Munich Olympics, she analyses the interrelations between the event, the live broadcast, and the athletes’ bodies. Especially the later winner, Frank Shorter, gained a heretofore unknown physical presence for the TV-audience, thanks to the live broadcast and the particular arrangement of pictures and sounds.
Barbara Englert (Frankfurt) | The Hollywood Sport Film - Visualizing Hidden and Familiar Aspects of American Culture