CFP: The Work of Cinephilia in the Age of CGI Reproduction (8/7/05; SCMS, 3/2/06-3/5/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Jason Sperb

CFP--"The Work of Cinephilia in the Age of CGI Reproduction"

   We are seeking submissions for a proposed panel on the importance of aesthetics and/or pleasure in recent films utilizing Computer Generated Imagery (CGI). At last year's Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) Conference in London, plenary speaker Thomas Elsaesser articulated the different generations and waves of cinephilia in the brief history of film scholarship. These days, can we begin to discover and explicate the pleasure of recent films, at a time when film increasingly uses CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) and other highly artificial means to engage the senses of its audiences? Such films use CGI not only for special effects, but sometimes to create entire worlds and even lifelike characters. Many recent successful films have relied heavily on the use of blue screen and green screen effects to immerse its "live" characters in completely simulated environments. In just the last couple of years, movies as varied as Lord of the Rings, Sky Captain and the World!
 Tomorrow, Sin City, The Aviator, Star Wars and The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl have all emphasized this artificiality to finely tuned effect. With film and diegetic space increasingly digitized, further collapsed into spectacle, is it possible to speak of pleasure or aesthetics in this new CGI cinema? Is this latest technical emphasis heightening or dulling the affective powers of film and media?

  This proposed panel hopes to explore the intersection of cinephilia and the CGI cinema, with particular attention to the question of how much an increasingly digitized and artificial style can or cannot affect its audience. We welcome any contributions which explore the role of cinephilia, pleasure and/or style and aesthetics in films showcasing increasingly computer-generated imagery. This panel especially encourages the work of newer scholars who are attempting to consider the role of cinephilia in a new generation of film scholarship.

Papers on cinephilia and CGI could include (but are not limited to):

Specific filmmakers—Rodriguez, Lucas

Audience reception—critical, commercial

CGI animated features from Pixar or Dreamworks

The impact on low-budget, independent films

The potential of simulated people, animals, crowds, environments

The role of Performance Theory and the Simulation of Actors

The potential for cult or other types of collective—as opposed to individual—receptions

The possibilities of humor, horror, tragedy and other emotional responses

The relation to popular books on culture, such as Virginia Postrel's The Substance of Style, Stuart Ewen's All-Consuming Images, or Steve Johnson's Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter

We also welcome explicit theoretical approaches to CGI and cinephilia, such as—

· Aura (Benjamin)

· Pleasure/Bliss (Barthes)

· defamiliarization (Shklovsky)

· Desire (Butler or Lacan)

· polyglossia/intertextuality (Bahktin)

· Remediation (Grusin, Bolter)

· Simulation (Baudrillard or Deleuze)

· Voyeurism, spectatorship (Mulvey, Studlar)

· Society of the Spectacle (Debord)

· Cinema of Attractions (Gunning)

· Affect (Massumi, Bennett)

· Historicity/Marxism (Lukảcs, Jameson)

If interested, please provide one of the following co-chairs with a 50-100 word proposal, contact information and brief bio by August 8th:

Scott Balcerzak (

English, University of Florida

Jason Sperb (

Communication & Culture, Indiana University

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Received on Fri Jul 29 2005 - 08:38:30 EDT