CFP: American Art and Cinema of the Late 1960s and 1970s (10/9/06; 11/17/06-11/18/06)

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Documentation, Demonstration, Dematerialization:
American Art and Cinema of the Late 1960s and 1970s

November 17 - 18, 2006
University of California, Berkeley

Hosted by the Graduate Film Working Group, UC Berkeley

The late 1960s and 1970s mark a period of dramatic change in the visual
culture of the United States, from avant-garde art and filmmaking
practices to documentary, Hollywood cinema, and the dissemination of
video. This is, after all, the period when:

* Modernist painting gives way to pop, minimalism, and the language-,
photography-, process-, and performance-based activities of conceptual art

* Anthology Film Archives opens in New York City, aiming to preserve and
exhibit the "classics" of independent film production, which had so
recently flourished as "underground" or "New American" cinema

* Documentary filmmakers extend the interests of 1960s direct cinema and
cinema verite, incorporating interviews and archival footage into their
explorations of history, both personal and public

* The Hollywood Production Code falls amid a massive industry
reorganization which fosters both the art-cinema aspirations of the early
1970s (the so-called "Hollywood Renaissance" or "New Hollywood") and the
emergence of high-concept, blockbuster filmmaking by mid-decade (the "New
Hollywood" or "New New Hollywood")

* The availability of the Sony Portapak carries video beyond the horizons
of broadcast television and into the hands of individuals and artists

What is more, these historic transformations in American art and cinema
occur within the context of considerable cultural and political upheaval
in the United States, from the rise (and fall) of the New Left, political
assassinations, and the war in Vietnam to Watergate, recession, and the
Iranian hostage crisis; from environmental movements, oil crises, and the
disasters at Love Canal and Three Mile Island to rising immigration and
divorce rates; from Civil Rights and the Indian Self-Determination Act to
Roe vs. Wade and feminism, Stonewall and gay rights.

And while much of this history is well known, and perhaps even well
studied within independent academic disciplines, the concurrent emergence
and potential cross-fertilization of these aesthetic practices is too
often overlooked. "Documentation, Demonstration, Dematerialization" aims
to correct this oversight with an interdisciplinary, intermedia
exploration of each of these developments and their mutual influences and
consequences, including their ramifications for our own sociopolitical
moment. Indeed, the title of our conference itself points to possible
points of intersection, bringing together a variety of "documentary"
impulses (site / non-site art, photography, structural reduction, archival
footage, graphic sex and violence, etc.) which aim less at evidentiary
"facts" than at the complex modes of demonstration (what is seen and
unseen) and dematerialization (what is material and immaterial) that also
already pervade both the dominant and countercultural forces of this

Potential paper topics for the conference include:

* The specific histories, philosophies, works, or practices of any of the
aforementioned shifts in American visual culture during the late 1960s and
* Significant antecedents or successors to these changes, as well as their
aesthetic and / or political consequences for their own time and our own
* Correspondences among a variety of cultural spheres (high art,
avant-garde filmmaking, exploitation cinema, Hollywood, etc.)
* The relationship between these spheres and the sociohistorical moment of
their production
* Popular criticism or theory of the late 1960s and 1970s (phenomenology,
Marshall McLuhan, feminist film theory, auteur theory) which may have
influenced that era's art and cinematic practice.

We welcome submissions from graduate students, faculty members, and
independent scholars in disciplines including but not limited to film, new
media, and visual studies; art history and practice; theater and
performance studies; cultural studies; and rhetoric.

Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words, along with a brief
biographical sketch, to by Monday, October 9, 2006.

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Received on Sat Sep 09 2006 - 10:53:36 EDT