Bikini brain: fleshing out the neuro-image in Spring Breakers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper considers how Spring Breakers (Korine, 2012) simultaneously creates a recognisable world that invites a critique (and, in some cases, censorious judgement) of its representations of gender, race and youth, and a film-world that enforces the suspension of such judgment in favour of a reflexive delirium. The delirious world of Spring Breakers is here examined as a distinct form of twenty first century exotica, ‘a ruined world of enchantment laid waste in fevered imagination.’ (Toop, 1999:151).

In his discussion of film and politics, Deleuze (1989:219) argues that political cinema is ‘no longer a result of a becoming conscious, but consists of putting everything into a trance…a state of aberration.’ Spring Breaker’s trance is examined in relation to the film’s temporal rhythms of impersonal, repetitious voice-over, music used as narration and ‘liquid’ narrative that flows like music. I argue that the film blends its trance-archive of visual and sonic ‘good-times’ and documentary framings into a you-tube neorealism, which is pushed into a state of aberration via the creation of a ‘candy’ mise en scene (in Korine’s formulation, ‘like we were lighting it with Skittles or we were using Starburst Fruit Chews’).

This en-tranced, techno-primitivism is contrasted with C20 exotica’s ‘paradox of an imperial paradise…a Golden Age recreated through the hybrid colours of a cocktail glass, illusory and remote zones of pleasure and peace dreamed after the bomb.‘ (Toop, 1999:151). Spring Breakers is considered as a ‘ruined world of enchantment’ in an imperialism of global consumer-capital, a new dirty-golden age captured in the colour of Starburst Fruit Chews, with its own ‘illusory and remote zones of pleasure and peace’ dreamed after the ‘bomb’ of neo-liberalism.

Finally, Spring Breakers is considered as one example of the neuro-image (Pisters, 2012) in its creation of a ‘mental landscape’, in which the contours of a new world are touched and mapped as a techno-magical cosmology by a cinematic brain-in-the-bikini.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2014
EventFilm-Philosophy Conference 2014 : A World of Cinemas - University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Jul 20144 Jul 2014


ConferenceFilm-Philosophy Conference 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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