XV MAGIS – Gorizia International Film Studies Spring School
Gorizia, 29 March-1 April 2017
NO TURNING BACK RE-THINKING THE POSTMODERN
In other words, in a moment when the notion of “postmodern” does not describe our present time anymore, we are compelled to ask ourselves whether the contemporary media landscape still has a name or not. More specifically, drawing on the speculations of many scholars and critics, such as Raoul Eshelman (2001), Alan Kirby (2006, 2009), and Nicholas Bourriaud (2009), who declared that postmodernism and postmodern culture have come to an end, we have to answer the following question: how can we define the post-postmodern era?
Our main goal, then, is to unravel the theoretical knots concerning the postmodern as a historical phenomenon and its aftermath within the epistemic frame of film and media studies. We will reflect in particular on the following topics: on the one hand, which film and media practices should be considered inherently postmodern; how film and media cultures developed during the postmodern era; how the political framework of the postmodern era (neoliberalism and post-fordism; LGBT movements; third wave feminism, etc.) influenced film and media production; and, more broadly, how we can imagine a media archaeology of the postmodern. On the other, referring to Supplanting the Postmodern (Rudrum and Stavris, 2015), we will investigate the field of post-postmodernism (mainly through the notions of remodernism, performatism, hypermodernism, automodernism etc.), opening new ways for the analysis of the contemporary film and media landscape, its practical groundwork, and its theoretical framework.
Drawing on their own specific disciplinary interests and methodological perspectives, the five sections of the School – Cinema and Contemporary Arts, Film Heritage, Media Archaeology, Porn Studies, and Post-Cinema – will explore different aspects of postmodern (and post-postmodern) culture and theory:
CINEMA & CONTEMPORARY ARTS – THE END OF (ART) HISTORY-TELLING? REPRESENTING THE HISTORICAL PAST AND HISTORICIZING THE PAST IN THE ARTS AFTER THE POST MODERN
The Cinema and Contemporary Arts section will directly address the ambiguous and problematic meanings underlying the concept of “history” in post-modern thinking. As Hayden White suggested, the postmodernists’ dissatisfaction with scientific historiographical narratives led them to resort to artistic representation in order to deal with “the aporias of historical existence” and “the present as history”. The intervolved relations between history and present come to the fore not only when the historical past is artistically represented (and re-presented), but also when artists (as well as curators, conservators and archivists) have to re-enact, re-explore and re-interpret their own or other people’s artworks in order to make them accessible (in museums or virtual archives) in the present. Within this theoretical framework, we will reflect, on the one hand, on how the contemporary arts (institutions, curators and artists) have offered an alternative way of “History-telling” and at which extent they elicited an active response from the audience; on the other hand, we will focus on the ways in which audiovisual artworks from the seventies to this day have been re-interpreted, re-exposed (and, in a sense, historicized) over time. In this respect, the section invites scholars and researchers to explore: how visual and sound arts have dealt with a historical subject during the last forty years and how “this sense of history” revealed similarities or discontinuities with post-modernist theories; the different ways in which audio and visual media – in artistic work as well as in exhibition design – concur in involving the spectator’s body in an alternative account of historical facts; how this sensorial engagement could lead to a different, non-text based historical knowledge; the possible effects of “non-scientific historiographical narratives” when applied to the fields of conservation, preservation and (digital) access to Media Art. With these premises, we encourage papers that deal with (but are not restricted to) the following topics:
- “Historiographic turn”: contemporary art and historiographical narratives
- The relationship between history and the arts within post-modernist theories
- Exhibition strategies and the narrative of history
- Re-enactment and re-presentation of past artworks, performances and exhibitions as non-linear historical narratives
- Re-enactment and re-presentation of past artworks, performances and exhibitions as non-linear historical narratives
- The relationship between fictional and real accounts in the construction of the visual artwork
- Sound art and the use of archives
- Sound art and the re-use of historical fragments
THE FILM HERITAGE – MIGRATION AND POST-MODERN TRANSNATIONAL FILM CULTURE
The so-called ‘end of the great narratives’ identified by Lyotard is related to a major change in the knowledge-building and knowledge-transmission practices influenced by technological transformations. Shaped through socio-cultural models, discourses and protocols, those transformations already influenced and were active “in human circulation (transportation systems) and […] in the circulation of sounds and visual images (the media)” (Lyotard, 1979; 1984). Meanwhile Hayden White’s observations on the “historical narrative” conflate questions of narration and style with strategies and conditions of historiography. At the same time, the post-modern era coincided with the emergence of post-colonial issues concerning multicultural and cross-cultural representational frameworks in which the other (the migrant and the exiled, for instance) plays a pivotal role, and with the “individuation” of new genealogies of nomadic subjectivities. As far as Hollywood is concerned, the concept of postmodernism has been challenged by the discourse on post-classical cinema. Drawing on this theoretical and historical background, the 2017 edition of the Film Heritage will be devoted, on the one hand, to historicizing the interrelationships between style, narratives and the migration of authors, professionals, and knowledge in the (post-modern) cinema; on the other hand, it will strive to inspire new interpretations of the basic notions linked to transnational film cultures along the 20th Century. Furthermore, the call aims to reconsider the practices of selection, preservation, and access to the new archival and counter-archival film heritage established since the 1970s and along post-modernism in the light of such concepts as migration, exile, banishment, nomadism, assimilation, acknowledgement.
MEDIA ARCHAEOLOGY – NETWORK
In the wake of the “re-thinking postmodern” framework of this MAGIS Spring School, the Media Archaeology section invites you to an archaeological excavation of the post-Fordist, post-industrial and global emergence of the Network(s). As Alexander Galloway and Eugene Thacker put it, the network “has emerged as a dominant form describing the nature of control today, as well as resistance to it”. What is at stake in the post-modern emergence of the network is both the human subject and its interactions with the mediasphere – interactions capable of building a media environment: in the decline of post-Fordist economies, and in the rise of the post-industrial information, the human subjects thrive on new forms of network interactions in which their integrity is paradoxically threatened. Firstly, our sub-call focuses on the ways in which, “by their mere existence, networks are not liberating; they exercise novel forms of control that operate at a level that is anonymous and non-human, which is to say material.” Secondly, drawing on Guattari’s Soft Subversions, we aim to target the interrelationships between the machinic networks and the processes of subjectivation, more specifically how the first are engaged in the latter. Thirdly, drawing on Simondon’s, Stiegler’s, Sobchack’s theories, we aim to understand not only how networks entail their subjects, but also how networks imply objectification processes and, in turn, how object interactions create new network schemata. As we can see, a resistant ambiguity permeates the machinic and material nature of the networks’ existence and its ontological definition, which constitute the core of our subcall and compel us to highlight and retrace the deep time veins in the material strata of network(s). Finally we would like to encourage proposals on (but not limited to) the following topics:
- Discursive ensemble of the network
- Network’s territoriality/extraterritoriality/re-territorialization
- Object-subject’s network interaction and transfer
- Network(s) techno-materiality
- Networks’ schizophrenia
- Networks’ organology and pharmacology
- Networks environments and cybernetic networks
- Network Aesthetics
- From networks to swarms: insect media, the postmodern and the post-postmodern eras.
PORN STUDIES – VIDEO (R)EVOLUTIONS
The aim of the section is to explore the historical impact of video technologies on pornographic production, representation and consumption. Starting from the second half of the 1980s, the video revolution dramatically hit the adult business, changing forever the way in which audio-visual pornography was created and experienced. This process implied first of all the gradual and relatively quick shift from a mostly public form of porn consumption (in movie theatres and arcades) to the privacy of home video viewing, and the subsequent total and irreversible reconversion to video of the major Western porn companies. The expressive possibilities allowed by video technologies also had important consequences on the development of new forms of pornographic production and representation, such as amateur, gonzo, and feminist porn. Drawing on these premises, we invite papers that reflect on:
- The pornographic video era, from its origins to its developments in the digital era
- Transformations of the feature-length narrative hard-core film during the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s
- New pornographic video genres and subgenres
- Pornography and television, music, fashion
- Arty porn (Andrew Blake, Michael Ninn, Gregory Dark, …)
- From film loop to video vignette
- From wall-to-wall to gonzo
- Gonzo pioneers (Jamie Gillis, John Stagliano, Rodney Moore, Ed Powers, Ben Dover…)
- Gonzo evolutions, from Buttman to Bang Bros
- From polaroid and 8mm to the birth of the “video amateur”
- The birth of alternative pornographies during the 1980s
- New bodies, races, genders in video and early digital pornography
- The pioneers of feminist pornography (Femme Productions, Fatale Video, …)
- From the arcade to the video rental shop: changes in pornographic consumption and distribution
POST-CINEMA – VR AND AR: A POST-CINEMATIC MODERNITY
As computer technologies that replicate an environment, real or imagined, and, in different ways, simulate a user’s physical presence and environment in a way that allows the user to interact with it (Isaac, 2016), both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) explore the boundaries between embodiment and immersiveness through a primarily haptic experience. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, as postmodern and post-cinematic experiences par excellence and expressions of postmodernism, challenge all concepts traditionally related to representation and expand the notion of reality by restructuring the relationship between the user and the medium and by questioning the Cartesian notions of time and space in unprecedented ways. In this respect, Virtual and Augmented Reality are objects of study that are essentially cross- disciplinary and can become less opaque only if analysed through a multi-layered toolkit that can be created at the crossroads between Film, Media and Game studies, by exploring sub-disciplinary approaches such as documentary theory, haptic theory, transmediality, network theory, cognitive theory, visual anthropology etc. We are particularly interested in analysing these topic in the interactive creations, both fictional and non-fictional, like interactive documentaries, video games, web series or transmedial products. In the Postcinema section of Filmforum 2017, we are interested in collecting papers analysing VR and AR and different interactive non fictional case studies as well as multiplatform, crossmedia and interactive experiences that touch upon the aforementioned theoretical questions, hoping to be able to find common grounds and carve out analytical tools that will help us focus this expanding field for the years to come.
The organizers invite single papers and panel proposals
Deadline for proposals: December 11, 2016
Authors will be notified by January 10, 2017 if their proposals have been accepted.
Proposals should not exceed one page in length. Please make sure to attach a short CV (10 lines max).
A registration fee (€ 150) will be applied.
Submit proposals to: firstname.lastname@example.org