CFP: [Film] "The Instant," Spectator v. 28, no. 2 (11/27/2007; journal issue)

full name / name of organization: 
Rene Thoreau Bruckner
contact email:

Spectator (28.2) Fall, 2008

What is an instant? How long does it last? What does it look like? The instant designates both a
paragon of speed (the blink of an eye, the snap of a camera’s shutter, the click of a button, the
flash of a bulb, a sudden insight) and a standard of urgency (the imperative for greater speed,
instant gratification, and minimized “dead time”). But the instant also represents a fundamental
paradox of (modern) temporality: as soon as it comes into existence, it has already passed. At
least since the end of the nineteenth century, time has been imagined predominantly as an
endless string of instants—snapshots, film frames, points on a timeline—and the now as an
infinitely small space of time which swallows up the past and vanishes to make way for the
future. Has this “cinematic time” already begun to make way for a new temporality of the digital
age? What does an instant look like now? As the ideal of instantaneity continues to drive cultural
production, especially in the realms of audiovisual media and technology, we are interested in
investigating that imperceptibly small unit of time: the instant.

Spectator, a biannual publication of the University of Southern California Division of Critical
Studies of the School of Cinematic Arts, now invites submissions that address the above topic in
areas including, but not limited to:

• Media theory, especially that which explores instantaneous imaging, communication,
transmission, and transaction: instantaneous and high-speed photography, Polaroids, live
broadcasting, narrowcasting, webcasting, telegraphy and telephony, instant messaging, instant
replay, e-commerce, the click, the cut, the flicker…
• Cultural theory: historical and/or sociological studies of instantaneous culture, or the
circulation and exchange in/of instants; politics of speed; marketing of instantaneity and instant
gratification (instant coffee, microwave cooking, video on demand, etc.)…
• History/theory of technology: the question of speed (of transportation, communication,
computing, etc.); technologies and aesthetics of violence; the crash (automobile, computer, or
stock market), the bomb (atomic, nuclear, or information)…
• Philosophy/theory of time: modern time(s), abstract, linear, quantitative time, clock time, work
time, machine time; shock, interruption, distraction, rupture, explosion; the ontological,
epistemological, and/or ethical status of the instant…
• Any critical approach to understanding the instant’s (changing) status—its past and present
meanings, effects, appearances, and uses in any arena of cultural production.

We welcome submissions that critically address the historical, philosophical, aesthetic, social,
and political stakes of instantaneity. If the instant favors distraction over concentration,
shortsightedness over wisdom, and superficiality over depth of thought, what has vanished or
been vanquished in the age of the instant? What new ideas, forms of expression, ways of seeing,
and patterns of thought have emerged? How has history fared? How have audiovisual media
grasped (or failed to grasp) the unimaginable speed and brevity of the instant? We are also
interested in work exploring the ways in which cultural productions, narratives, and narrative
forms have been inflected by instantaneity, and how the instant has been thematized,
represented, visualized, and/or articulated in film and other media.

Deadline for Submission: November 27

Include your contact information: name, address, phone, and email address

Submissions can be emailed directly to René Thoreau Bruckner at, or mailed

René T. Bruckner
University of Southern California
School of Cinematic Arts
Division of Critical Studies, Lucas 405
Los Angeles, CA 90089-2211

For electronic submissions: authors should send copies of their work via e-mail as electronic
attachments. Please keep backup files of all disks. Files should be Microsoft Word in PC or Mac

For mailed submissions: one paper copy of manuscript should be submitted as well as a copy on
disk. Manuscripts should include the title of the contribution and the name (s) of authors, as well
as the postal address, e-mail address, and phone numbers for author who will work with the
editor on any revisions. All pages should be numbered consecutively. Contributions should not
be more than 5,000 words. They should also include a brief abstract for publicity (200 words or
less), and a brief biographic statement (150 words or less). Rejected manuscripts will not be

Articles submitted to the Spectator should not be under consideration by any other journal.

Book Reviews are also accepted, and may vary in length from 300 to 1,000 words. Please include
title of book, retail price and ISBN at the beginning of the review.

Forum or Additional Section contributions can include works on new archival or research facilities
or methods as well as other relevant works related to the field.

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Received on Sat Aug 18 2007 - 18:28:11 EDT

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