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Simon Schiller
Doctoral candidate, third cohort (2023-2026)

The Resistance of Night: A Media Archaeology of the Visual Culture of Moving Night Images

The resistance of night to camera systems is visualized in the images produced due to inadequate lighting conditions, resulting in a media-specific in/visibility of the cinematic space. Alongside the technical constraints and the development of film cameras, the associated aesthetic and political consequences for nighttime images are to be examined. I am interested in understanding how camera systems operate and what visual culture of the night they produce.
The spatial-temporal expansion of the film camera against the resistance of the night is characterized by an ongoing interplay of material potentials and limitations that need to be constantly reassessed. My research explores a range of different nighttime images and camera systems from the early days of cinema to the present day, shedding light on significant transitions. I use a variety of configurations of moving images from early film and analog camera systems up to the digital era, which culminate in Computer and Machine Vision.
A teleological thesis that suggests the disappearance of the night only allows for a pre-programmed future to be envisioned. My dissertation aims to reflect on this inevitability and to contemplate alternative futures. The resistance of the night should not be depoliticized as merely a technical challenge but should be understood within discourses of in/visibility, gaze regimes, and surveillance; regarding the immediate application of camera systems at night. The ultimate question is: What does one lose when the night is deprived of its darkness?


Simon Schiller is a research assistant at the Graduiertenkolleg “Configurations of Film.” He earned his B.A. in Film Studies and Political Science and a B.Sc. in Economics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, where he also completed his M.A. in Film Studies. His further research interests lie in the areas of Phenomenology and Film Experience, Queer Theory, as well as Music Videos and Documentary Formats. At Pupille e.V. he participates in the program planning and ensures the cinemas operation.