McClenathan, Erin Elise
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This study reunites Germaine Krull’s photographic portfolio Métal and Joris Ivens’ film De Brug to consider the relationship between political will and aesthetics in these 1928 productions. Most often treated as separate experiments in mechanical abstraction, this examination aims to reveal the shared avant-garde milieu that informed the conception and execution of each work and to understand the legibility of their politicized amalgamations of biology and technology. An analysis of Krull’s and Ivens’ participation in the publication of the Dutch journals i10 and Filmliga, for example, allows us to understand how their engagements with photographic and filmic montage techniques shaped the constructions of both Métal and De Brug. At work in Krull’s portfolio and Ivens’ film are Sergei Eisenstein’s and Vsevolod Pudovkin’s Soviet montage theories and László Moholy-Nagy’s New Vision strategies. While these formal structures constituted a certain aesthetic accessibility for contemporary viewers, they may have conversely obscured the projects’ radical political aspirations.