Screen Textures: Haptics, Tactility, and the Moving Image, October 17–18, 2014

full name / name of organization: 
Film Studies, University of Pittsburgh
contact email: 
pittfilmgradconference@gmail.com
“When verbal and visual representation is saturated, meanings seep into bodily and other dense, seemingly silent registers.”
Laura Marks, The Skin of the Film

To address the rise of haptic media, which pervades everything from gaming to 3D cinema to the surfaces of digital devices – “those skins that beg to be touched,” as Alexander Galloway puts it in The Interface Effect – our conference affirms the need to rethink the haptics of images, historical and contemporary, and welcomes papers that attend to the textural dimensions of interfaces, broadly conceived.

Following Jennifer Barker’s assertion in The Tactile Eye that “cinematic tactility occurs not only at the skin or the screen, but traverses all the organs of the spectator’s body and the film’s body,” we recognize haptics and texture as essential components of cinematic form and visual culture. Focusing not only on spectatorship and textural aesthetics, but also on the materiality of production and exhibition, we invite presentations that address – perhaps with what Eva Hayward called “fingeryeyes” – the haptic encounter of spectator and image, body and apparatus, form and feeling.

Despite the broad critical attention to these topics, the intricacies of haptic spectatorship remain murky, leaving unanswered: how do we feel an image, and what, or whom, is changed by this encounter? How do formal and textual qualities – grainy, unclear images, the surfaces of objects, camera movement – convey a sense of touch or mobility? Conversely, how does cinema’s materiality – decaying celluloid, scratched emulsion, different effects and formats (such as Sadie Benning’s Pixelvision films) – touch back? Which images strike us as chewy, brittle, spongy, and how do our bodies apprehend them? How is texture expressed, experienced, and enacted?

We are particularly interested in submissions that engage Film, TV, New Media, Gaming, and Media Studies Critical Theory and Historiography. Other possible topics may include:

  • visual culture and tactility, or what Tim Lenoir calls “the shift from the visual to the affective, haptic, and proprioceptive registers”
  • preservation and archival practice
  • production/institutional discourse about film and texture
  • synesthesia, kinesthesia, the hierarchy of the senses
  • texture and aesthetics, e.g. color
  • mimesis, cultural contact and imitation (Taussig)
  • haptic images, whereby “the sense of sight behaves just like the sense of touch” (Deleuze)
  • materiality of sound, sound texture, “grain of the voice” (Barthes), “reduced listening” (Chion)
  • video games/responsive media, ‘smart games’ for training (surgeons and soldiers, for instance)
  • experimental film and video art
  • emerging multisensory media
  • porn, techno-fetishism
  • food, taste, and media
  • psychogeography and sensation (Debord, Lefebvre)
  • the “precarious aesthetic” of mistakes and imperfections (Fetveit)
  • visceral transmissions: laughter, the scream, heartbeats, bleeding (Peretz)
  • extracinematic strategies involving touch (e.g. William Castle’s Percepto! for The Tingler, 4D cinema)
  • nonhuman haptics

We welcome approaches from a range of disciplines, including but not limited to: Film and Media studies, Art and Art History, Visual Culture, Feminist and Queer Studies, Communications, Critical Theory, Literature, Musicology, and Philosophy.

Interested graduate students may submit abstracts (maximum 300 words) – along with institutional/departmental affiliations and current email – to pittfilmgradconference@gmail.com by May 15, 2014. For more information, and updates on the keynote speaker, please visit our website, Special Affects.

cfp categories: 
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
film_and_television
gender_studies_and_sexuality
graduate_conferences
humanities_computing_and_the_internet
interdisciplinary
popular_culture
science_and_culture
theatre
theory
twentieth_century_and_beyond