Domietta Torlasco Associate Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature; Director of Undergraduate Studies in Italian
Torlasco works at the intersection of film theory and practice, with a specific interest in European cinema, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, feminist theory, and time-based visual arts. Her first book, The Time of the Crime: Phenomenology, Psychoanalysis, Italian Film (Stanford University Press, 2008) explores how the crisis of the detective story characterizing postwar Italian cinema inaugurates a new phase in the philosophy of the moving image. Her training as a practitioner and the making of her digital film Antigone’s Noir (2008-09, 25 min.), entirely built around narrative residues and audiovisual fragments, became the catalyst for her subsequent research trajectory. Her second book, The Heretical Archive: Digital Memory at the End of Film (University of Minnesota Press, 2013), examines how digital films and multimedia installations can radically transform our memories of film and our understanding of the cinematic and psychoanalytic archives.
Torlasco’s essays have appeared in Camera Obscura; Discourse; World Picture (www.worldpicturejournal.com); Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society; and in the edited volume Desire of the Analysts (SUNY Press, 2008). She is currently at work on a video installation exploring the relationship between violence and play and on a book manuscript titled Re-Framing War: Experiments in European Film and Installation Art, aimed at investigating the parameters according to which violence becomes visible and acquires political urgency. Together with Cesare Casarino (University of Minnesota), she has recently completed the video essay PHILOSOPHY IN THE KITCHEN (U.S., 21 min., 2014).
Before coming to Northwestern, Torlasco was a Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows and a Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she taught courses in media aesthetics and cinema studies. At Northwestern, she teaches classes on Italian and French cinema, writing and the moving image, gender and sexuality in film and visual culture, and archival art. In the 2009-10 academic year she was the recipient of a fellowship from the Alice Kaplan Humanities Institute.
Philosophy in the Kitchen
PHILOSOHPY IN THE KITCHEN (U.S., 21 min., 2014) is a split-screen video essay that explores how housework has changed the cinema. Well before other forms of labor in the new global economy erased the line between work and life, housework (from cleaning and cooking to child-rearing) was always that with which we are never done. It seizes all of life incessantly, requiring that we envision new forms of expression and tactics of resistance. The cinema of duration—long takes, repetitive gestures, protracted silences—was born in the kitchen in the 1940s and from there it went on to alter our sense of time and understanding of social relations. Gleaning, collecting, and reframing images of domestic labor from key European films, PHILOSOPHY IN THE KITCHEN sketches for us an alternative history of the cinema--one in which the blurring of work and life gives rise to a new image and thought of time.