Proposal for the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association’s Annual Conference 2006 Baltimore

Photography and Death, Cinema and the Eternal Return: The X-Files’ ‘Tithonus’

In Greek mythology Tithonus was a lover of the goddess Eos who was given eternal life without the advantage of staying young for its duration. In The X-Files’ episode of that name, this eternal life is embodied in the character of the enigmatic crime-scene photographer Alfred Fellig, who is modelled on the real-life photographer Weegee (Arthur Fellig). In looking at this episode in terms of photo theory, relations of death-and-photography and death-as-photography will be explored. Gilles Deleuze’s ideas on cinema and the time-image will be applied in viewing the piece as a work of art unto itself, and as a potentiality for his philosophy on repetition, through a deconstruction of its aesthetics and representations of death.