Digital Affect and the Microbiological in Maxì Dejoie’s The Gerber Syndrome: il contagio and Alex Infascelli’s H2Odio

Journal article

Domizio, R. (2020). Digital Affect and the Microbiological in Maxì Dejoie’s The Gerber Syndrome: il contagio and Alex Infascelli’s H2Odio. Simultanea: Journal of Italian Media and Popular Culture.
AuthorsDomizio, R.

Digital production has led to something of a rebirth in Italian horror film. My article focuses on two recent examples where 'the digital' helps us understand affect on a microbiological scale as both an individual and social phenomenon. Alex Infascelli’s 2006 film, H2Odio is a 'post-feminist' horror that renders its story of monstrous sisterhood using a mixture of the traditional ‘giallo’ style and more contemporary digital techniques including the glitch aesthetic. The glitch pertains to a particular attribute of digital culture, but also alludes to a genetic basis for bodily transformation and renewal. Reaching beyond the individualised body, Maxì Dejoie’s The Gerber Syndrome (2012) envisages the breakdown of the entire social edifice caused by a viral epidemic that creates a population of 'zombies'. Here, the digital construction deploys a contingent documentary style reflecting a highly wrought social field where the zombie-outsider becomes victim, not aggressor. In both cases, the bodily and social transformations are pathologised and shown to be outcomes of microscopic processes at the genetic and cellular level. I argue that these extraordinary visualisations invoke a 'microbiological affect', intimately connected to digital processing, and providing a material basis for recognising affective transformation. This article finally suggests that notwithstanding its problematic place in the theory of affect, ‘the digital’ is in fact a route into a new understanding of affect's potential to unlock 'invisible' futures in a troubled political age in Italy and beyond.

KeywordsItalian horror cinema
JournalSimultanea: Journal of Italian Media and Popular Culture
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Publication dates
Print21 Feb 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted15 Oct 2019
Deposited31 Oct 2019
Accepted author manuscript
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