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Vertigo’s Musical Gaze: Neo‐Riemannian Symmetries and Spirals

Vertigo’s Musical Gaze: Neo‐Riemannian Symmetries and Spirals Laura Mulvey coined the term ‘male gaze’ (1975), using Lacanian theory as a ‘political weapon’ against the standard mode of viewing in which the viewing subject turns onscreen women into fantasy objects. While politically laudable, her article misconstrues Lacan's concept of ‘the gaze’, the power of which emanates from the object itself. We might better serve Lacanian theory by inverting Mulvey's reading of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo to suggest that Scottie (James Stewart) is himself objectified by the mystique of the ‘object’ he watches and follows: Madeleine (Kim Novak). The screen's gaze reduces spectators to objects too. From this perspective, rather than watching the film, the film can be said to be watching us. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

Vertigo’s Musical Gaze: Neo‐Riemannian Symmetries and Spirals

Music Analysis , Volume 37 (1) – Jan 1, 2018

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Music Analysis © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/musa.12109
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Laura Mulvey coined the term ‘male gaze’ (1975), using Lacanian theory as a ‘political weapon’ against the standard mode of viewing in which the viewing subject turns onscreen women into fantasy objects. While politically laudable, her article misconstrues Lacan's concept of ‘the gaze’, the power of which emanates from the object itself. We might better serve Lacanian theory by inverting Mulvey's reading of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo to suggest that Scottie (James Stewart) is himself objectified by the mystique of the ‘object’ he watches and follows: Madeleine (Kim Novak). The screen's gaze reduces spectators to objects too. From this perspective, rather than watching the film, the film can be said to be watching us.

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2018

References