German Visual Culture: From National to European Style

B. Venkat Mani, Pamela M. Potter and Randall Halle


This article focuses ostensibly on the moving image. It starts with a discussion of cinema six years before its invention. In doing so we step back from the projected moving image and consider its emergence in precisely the larger visual field dominated by the transition from universalist to national style. From there the article goes on to consider 1) the way that an attention to national style has affected cinema and shaped (German) film studies; 2) how the national style that culminated in New German Cinema has given way to a transnational European style undoing stable signifiers of German culture, with the ‘German images’ of the 1970s giving way in the 1990s to ‘images of Germany’ or even a more general ‘images made in Germany’; and 3) how the digital revolution in the 21st century has ruptured the frame of the silver screen and freed the moving image to stream through new formats and in new places and in which furthermore the changes wrought by digital reproducibility have resulted in what we can identify as a culture industry 2.0. (RH)