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Surveillance Cinema$
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Catherine Zimmer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479864379

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479864379.001.0001

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date: 14 December 2017

The Global Eye

The Global Eye

Satellite, GPS, and the “Geopolitical Aesthetic”

(p.115) 3 The Global Eye
Surveillance Cinema

Catherine Zimmer

NYU Press

Chapter 3 examines the integration of satellite imaging and GPS into cinematic continuity systems, exemplified by action-thrillers like Enemy of the State and the Bourne and Mission Impossible series. Such films incorporate surveillance to visualize “location” such that it serves as a narrative and stylistic pivot upon which the relationships among individual bodies, transnational spaces, and broad global systems are constructed through economies of violence. Building on Jameson’s 1992 analysis of the “geopolitical aesthetic,” this chapter suggests that cinematic narrative has been an integral technology in the production of individuals as visual and visualizable subjects of a world system increasingly characterized by various forms of targeting. The chapter traces this back to the iteration of surveillance and globalization offered in Rising Sun and other early 1990s films. This earlier film situates surveillance as part of a global economic structure presented as an orientalized threat, and is thus historically and generically contiguous with the rhetoric around “global terrorism.” The chapter concludes by showing how the generic development and international distribution of the action-thriller since the 1990s can give insight into the shared logic between the global market economy and the violence enacted on singular bodies in contemporary geopolitical warfare.

Keywords:   action-thrillers, geopolitical aesthetic, geopolitical warfare, globalization, GPS, location, Orientalism, satellite imaging, targeting

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