Screening psychedelic aesthetics: film and television representations of the LSD experience

Clark, Craig John (2022) Screening psychedelic aesthetics: film and television representations of the LSD experience. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This thesis explores film and television representations of the psychedelic experience using a neoformalist-intertextual analytical framework developed specifically for this purpose. In doing so, it contributes to a small body of existing screen studies literature that interrogates psychedelic aesthetics. However, in contrast to other film and television studies scholarship, which typically discusses the psychedelic experience in vague terms, this thesis employs a neoformalist-intertextual approach to meticulously analyse film and television representations of the drug-state. Indeed, the structure of this thesis, which eschews a case study led approach to ensure its analysis of the psychedelic drug-state is as comprehensive as possible, enhances the originality of its scope. As the first academic study of its length to interrogate psychedelic aesthetics, it addresses a significant gap in the film and television studies literature.

The distinction this thesis makes between the phenomenology of experiences produced by different psychedelic substances, which are largely overlooked by existing screen studies scholarship, is an original aspect of its contribution to knowledge. It also underpins the rationale for the study’s primary focus on representations of a single psychedelic, LSD. The scope of the study is further limited to an interrogation of films and television shows that attribute the drug-state to the subjective experience of characters. This enabled the thesis to engage with set and setting, which is a significant psychedelic concept that is rarely addressed in the analysis of audio-visual depictions of the drug-state. Further, as LSD features in a substantial number of films and television shows released since the 1950, the thesis examines a broad array of psychedelic phenomena depicted in productions released during various historical periods.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Psilocybin, DMT, altered states of perception, audio-visual depictions of the psychedelic drug-state, psychedelia
Subjects: W600 Cinematics and Photography
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 18 May 2023 09:42
Last Modified: 18 May 2023 09:45

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