The films of Hitchcock, Welles and Godard; the aesthetics of photography and the technology of cinema; art and revolution in Russia and in Mexico; the avant-gardes in film and in painting—these are among the many topics of Peter Wollen’s essays. Interwoven with fictional treatments of such themes as memory, dream, sexuality and writing, they compose a remarkable, perhaps unique, volume.
These “readings and writings” are informed by Marxism, semiotics, psychoanalysis, and the history of art itself. Their concern is with signification: with the ways in which meanings are produced in dominant art forms and with the counter-strategies by which these meanings may be questioned or dislodged, in the practice of politically and aesthetically radical alternatives. A concluding retrospect reviews the political, intellectual and aesthetic avant-garde currents of the fifteen years over which these texts were written, outlining some perspectives for oppositional art today.