NEMLA 2015: The Becoming of Archival Images Seminar

full name / name of organization: 
Hudson Moura (University of Toronto)
contact email: 

CFP NeMLA, Toronto, April 30-May 3, 2015:
The Becoming of Archival Images in Documentary Filmmaking Seminar 

Chairs: Hudson Moura (University of Toronto), Marta Marín-Dòmine (Wifrid Laurier University) 

Deadline: September 15, 2014

Archiving is in itself a gesture of the present caring about a past that one wishes to project into the future, or as Jacques Derrida puts it, a token of the future. However, contemporary cinema is marked by a new approach to the archive, most specifically to the circulation of archival images inserted in documentary films, through their materialization that implies the coexistence of at least three different modalities of appropriation: a) the canonical one that searches in these images the referent of past historical events; b) the use of archival images to fictionalize memorial narratives; and, c) the creation of false archival images to underline the tension between fiction and truth. Parallel to these trends in documentary filmmaking, the 21st century created the new phenomenon of 'digital storages' by the constant production of images that are instantly part of a virtual archive which aim is not necessarily that of becoming a "token of the future", a trace of what it has been, but a storage of what constantly "is": a huge global wasteland of images that are the result of multiple purposes that span from surveillance (CCTV) to the instant demand of global communication or the narcissistic inscription of oneself in the constant flow of the present. How do archives contribute to the invention of the past? What do archival images add to documentary filmmaking in terms of their value as "true" documents? When a documentary becomes an archive itself? This Seminar seeks to elicit the debate around the use of this quasi-infinite repository of images (digital storages) in documentary filmmaking (circulation, appropriation, creation of new meanings) as well as to open the possibility to reflect on the appropriation of the "archive" as a genre (the mimicking of the archives' aesthetics) and its ethical implications.

Please send your 300-word proposal by September 15, 2014 through the NeMLA website Email or with any and all questions. Papers will be considerate for an edited volume.