Antonio Somaini is Visiting Professor at Yale for the Fall Semester of 2022. He is Professor of Film, Media, and Visual Culture Theory at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, and a Senior Member of the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF).
During the last 15 years, Antonio Somaini’s research has tackled a series of key issues in film, media, and visual culture theory from a double perspective: on the one hand, a series of historical studies focusing mainly on the 1920s and 1930s, and on the other, the analysis of the aesthetic, epistemological and political implications of new, emerging phenomena in contemporary visual culture.
The first line of Antonio Somaini’s research has produced a series of publications on the theories of images and visual media developed by figures such as Béla Balázs, Walter Benjamin, Sergei M. Eisenstein, Siegfried Kracauer, László Moholy-Nagy, and Dziga Vertov. Among them, books such as La Glass House de Sergueï Eisenstein. Cinématisme et architecture de verre (Paris: Editions B2, 2017) and Ejzenštejn. Il cinema, le arti, il montaggio [Eisenstein. Cinema, Art History, Montage] (Turin: Einaudi, 2011) and the edition of anthologies of historical texts in French, English and Italian: the new French edition of Dziga Vertov’s writings (Le Ciné-Œil de la révolution. Écrits sur le cinéma, Dijon: Les Presses du Réel, 2019, with François Albera and Irina Tcherneva); the English edition of Sergei Eisenstein’s Notes for a General History of Cinema (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2016, with Naum Kleiman); the Italian edition of Walter Benjamin’s writings on media (Aura e choc: Saggi sulla teoria dei media, Turin: Einaudi, 2012, with Andrea Pinotti) and of Moholy-Nagy’s Bauhaus book Painting Photography Film (Pittura Fotografia Film, Turin: Einaudi, 2010);
The second line has produced a series of publications on key issues in contemporary visual culture, such as the status of the new systems of machine vision and the new images produced by artificial intelligence and deep learning, or the aesthetic, epistemological and political implications of the distinction between high and low definition of images. Among such publications, a book co-authored with Andrea Pinotti (Culture visuelle: Images, regards, médias, dispositifs, Dijon: Les Presses du Réel, 2022) and the editing of a series of collective volumes: Repenser le médium. Art contemporain et cinéma (Dijon: Les Presses du Réel, 2022, with Larisa Dryansky and Riccardo Venturi); La haute et la basse définition des images. Photographie, cinéma, art contemporain, culture visuelle (Milan-Udine: Mimésis, 2021, with Francesco Casetti); Pandemic Media. Notes Toward an Inventory (Lüneburg: Meson Press, 2020, with Philipp Dominik Keidl, Laliv Melamed, and Vinzenz Hediger).
Antonio Somaini is also active as a curator of exhibitions on visual culture and contemporary art. He has been the chief curator of the exhibitions Time Machine: Cinematic Temporalities (Parma, Italy, January-March 2020, catalogue published by Skira, website www.timemachineexhibition.com) and Il dono / The Gift (Siena, Venice, New York, Chicago, Scottsdale Arizona 2001-03, catalogue published by Charta), and the associate curator of the exhibition The Small Utopia. Ars Multiplicata (Prada Foundation, Venice 2012).