Excess, Artifice, Sentimentality: Almodóvar’s Camp Cinema as a Challenge for Theological Aesthetics

TitleExcess, Artifice, Sentimentality: Almodóvar’s Camp Cinema as a Challenge for Theological Aesthetics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsKnauss, S
JournalJournal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture
Volume3
Issue1
Start Page31
KeywordsCamp Cinema, Christianinty, religion, Sentimentality, Theological Aesthetics
Abstract

Camp is defined as a style that is characterised by excess, artificiality, theatricality, exaggeration,
sentimentality. What could this possibly contribute to Christian theological aesthetics, the study of God
and theological issues through the aesthetic, art, beauty? This paper proposes, through a discussion of
camp in its “incarnation” in Pedro Almodóvar’s cinema, that it has several aspects to offer. Camp
uncovers and challenges the categories of truth and reality in theological aesthetics as well as the
artforms in which this truth can be discovered. Its embrace of the superficial and material can be seen,
in theological terms, as an incarnational aesthetics that offers redemption through the affirmation of the
material, not its disruption or negation. Camp underlines the subversive power of pleasure and laughter
against tendencies that dismiss pleasure as escapism, and challenges theological aesthetics to
acknowledge the wisdom that lies in emotions and affects. It criticizes by fostering solidarity and
empathy, rather than antagonism. Thus camp represents a challenge to self-critically reflect on
processes of exclusion on an aesthetic and a social level, and challenges us to imagine a different
world, a world of beauty, love and passion

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