UPDATE: [Medieval] Acting Out: A symposium on Screen Performance, Inference and Intepretation

full name / name of organization: 
Lucy Fife Donaldson
contact email: 

Call for Papers â€" Apologies for Cross Posting

Acting Out â€" A symposium on Screen Performance, Inference and Interpretation

20th March 2009, University of Reading

“Clearly films depend on a form of communication whereby meanings are acted
out.” (Naremore, Acting in the Cinema, p. 2)

“I would like to say that what I am doing in reading a film is performing
it (if you wish, performing it inside myself)” (Cavell, Pursuits of
Happiness, 1981, pp. 37-38.)

Keynote Speaker â€" Andrew Klevan, (St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford)
â€" Film Performance: From Achievement to Appreciation (Wallflower Press)

This one-day symposium seeks to provide a forum for scholars of screen
acting to meet and progress the spate of recent work on performance on
film. We would like to explore how we draw out performance through an
interrogation of the relationship between performance, inference and
interpretation, but will consider proposals on other screen performance
related issues.

As viewers we frequently respond instinctively to the material and kinetic
details of the performer within their fictional world. In consequence, the
role of inference could be said to be indivisible from interpretation. But
how important is that moment between engaging with a performance and
analysing it? How do you find it and observe it?

The perceived problem of subjectivity is the ghost of film studies,
haunting many analyses but rarely addressed directly. How do discourses
around spectatorship effect discussion of performance? Could it be that the
study of performance is uniquely disposed to alerting us to the complexity
of engagement?

The broader implication of these thoughts is, how do YOU ‘frame’
performance? And how are different analytical frameworks (e.g.
phenomenological, social role-play, practice-based approaches, close
analysis) specifically equipped to conceptualise these processes?

Equally, what is the role of inference in the process and production of
performance? What is left unsaid and/or assumed in performance?

Arguably, many performances communicate in non-verbal ways and leave a
certain amount to the imagination but how does this vary between
performance styles? More histrionic, melodramatic or ostensive
performances are frequently thought of as offering more privileged access
to thoughts and feelings or even a transparently clear communication of
meaning. What kinds of assumptions underpin this way of thinking about
performance? And where does this leave more contained or repressive

Deadline for Proposals â€" Monday 22 December 2008

Please contact Ceri Hovland and Lucy Fife Donaldson at
actingout_at_reading.ac.uk with any questions or if you would like to discuss
any initial proposal ideas.

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Received on Fri Nov 14 2008 - 04:50:42 EST