Hello, my name is Steen Christiansen and I’m an Associate Professor of English at the Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University.
I work primarily on cultural criticism, focusing particularly on popular cinema (primarily Hollywood), science fiction, horror, and comics. I am interested in the ways cultural texts make us feel, their affects and sensations, and the way these felt intensities function as a mass-mediated production of our senses.
I’m currently working on two books, one on posthuman science fiction and one on contemporary action cinema.
My book on action cinema is tentatively titled War Machines: Action Cinema in the Drone Age. Drawing on current film theory’s preoccupation with affect and embodiment, I investigate the sensations of contemporary action films in order to argue that these films habituate us to a new media culture, one that is dominated by the use of increasingly autonomous technologies. My main argument is that more than simply narratives of conflict and ideological scenarios in which hegemony asserts its dominance, action films also produce new modes of sensory perception. While action cinema does reveal ideological contradictions, their audiovisual barrage at the same time obscures the contradictions. The sensorial overload of contemporary action cinema works perfectly in conjunction with a media culture of constant and immediate gratification but also reveals how vicariously we can live through moving images. As a genre, action cinema requires complete immersion into the flow of action even to a point of allowing these films to overpower us. This is why these films work as war machines, because they produce a desensitized mental state, not unlike the one soldiers are trained to enter.