Slow TV: The Experiential and Multisensory Documentary

  • Luis Rocha Antunes


This chapter examines the aesthetic and perceptual implications of the vestibular sense in Bergensbanen: Minutt for Minutt (The Bergen Train: Minute by Minute) (NRK 2009) and thermoception in Nasjonal Vedkveld (National Wood [Fire] Night) (NRK 2013). These documentaries explore a conception of film ecology in which landscape and nature are not simply represented audiovisually, but also elicit perceptual experiences as the primary cinematic appeal. By looking at issues of experientiality in the documentary film, the chapter seeks to promote an awareness within the field of cognitive film theory that the senses are as important to our understanding of film experience as emotions and empathy.



I would like to acknowledge that part of the research for this chapter was made during my time as a Visiting Researcher at the University of Texas in 2016/2017. I would also like to thank the editors of this book, Catalin Brylla and Mette Kramer, for their valuable feedback and encouragement, and Amy Antunes for her assistance with the editing of this chapter and her encouragement.


  1. Anderson, J. (1996) The Reality of Illusion: An Ecological Approach to Cognitive Film Theory. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Angelaki, D. E. and Cullen, K. E. (2008) “Vestibular System: The Many Facets of a Multimodal Sense,” Annual Review of Neuroscience, 31, pp. 125–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Antunes, L. R. (2012) “The Vestibular in Film: Orientation and Balance in Gus Van Sant’s ‘Cinema of Walking’,” Essays in Philosophy, 13(2), pp. 522–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Antunes, L. R. (2014) “Neural Correlates of the Multisensory Film Experience,” in Grabowski, M. (ed.) Neuroscience and Media: New Understandings and Representations. New York: Routledge, pp. 46–60.Google Scholar
  5. Antunes, L. R. (2016a) The Multisensory Film Experience: A Cognitive Model of Experiential Film Aesthetics. Bristol: Intellect Books.Google Scholar
  6. Antunes, L. R. (2016b) “Identity as a Walking Experience: Multisensory and Experiential Metaphor in Film,” in Fahlenbrach, K. (ed.) Embodied Metaphors in Television and Video Games: Cognitive Approaches. New York: Routledge, pp. 234–247.Google Scholar
  7. Bondebjerg, I. (2014) “Documentary and Cognitive Theory: Narrative, Emotion and Memory,” Media and Communication, 2(1), pp. 13–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bordwell, D. (1985) Narration in the Fiction Film. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  9. Brodal, P. (2010) The Central Nervous System: Structure and Function. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Elsaesser, T. and Hagener, M. (eds.) (2009) Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Fahlenbrach, K. (ed.) (2016) Embodied Metaphors in Film, Television, and Video Games: Cognitive Approaches. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Friedberg, A. (2006) The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  13. Gibson, J. (1966) The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  14. Gibson, J. (1986) Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  15. Gunning, T. (1990) “The Cinema of Attraction: Early Film, Its Spectator, and the Avant-Garde,” in Elsaesser, T. (ed.) Early Cinema: Space Frame Narrative. London: British Film Institute, pp. 56–62.Google Scholar
  16. Hochberg, J. (1978) Perception. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  17. Hochberg, J. (1986) “Representation of Motion and Space in Video and Cinematic Displays,” in Boff, K. R., Kaufman L. and Thomas, J. P. (eds.) Handbook of Perception and Human Performance. Vol. I. Sensory Processes and Perception. New York: Wiley, pp. 22–64.Google Scholar
  18. Hochberg, J. and Brooks, V. (1978) “Film Cutting and Visual Momentum,” in Senders, J. W., Fischer, D. F. and Monty, R. A. (eds.) Eye Movements and the Higher Psychological Functions. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 293–313.Google Scholar
  19. Jørgensen, F. A. (2014) “The Armchair Traveler’s Guide to Digital Environmental Humanities,” Environmental Humanities, 4, pp. 95–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. (1980) Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  21. Wheatley, H. (2010) “Beautiful Images in Spectacular Clarity: Spectacular Television, Landscape Programming and the Question of (Tele)visual Pleasure,” Screen, 52(2), pp. 233–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luis Rocha Antunes
    • 1
  1. 1.Augusta UniversityAugustaUSA

Personalised recommendations