Conference: IMAGEing Reality: Representing the Real in Film, Television and New Media (Oct 22-24 2009)

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University of Navarra, Spain
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IMAGEing Reality: Representing the Real in Film, Television and New Media

School of Communication
Universidad de Navarra
Pamplona, Spain

22-24 October 2009

Deadline for proposals: Friday 5 June 2009.

Contemporary society finds itself increasingly shaped and conditioned by the audiovisual media, from the traditional ones, such as the cinema and television, to the newer platforms (computers, mobile phones, mp4, etc.), as well as by its growing reliance on the Internet as a content supplier. Our screens are fed with images and sounds registered by ever-more ubiquitous cameras: professional products for the traditional screens now compete with amateur and domestic images, or with the anonymous world of the omnipresent security cameras. At the same time, the effectiveness and popularity of "metaverses" such as Second Life are imposing the idea of a virtual, alternative reality. An audiovisual world is being formed, therefore, that is beginning to show the appropriateness of Borges's famous metaphor of the map whose scale coincides with that of the real world it represents; an idea that Baudrillard formalized in the concept of the simulacrum. These metaphors inevitably carry us to the contemporary debate on the consistency and reliability of audiovisual representation, and to the question as to whether images support and extend our knowledge of the world, or whether they act more and more as a simulacrum that anesthetizes our senses.

Against this backdrop, an interesting tension can be observed between an increasing distrust of the true character of audiovisual representation, and the idea—strongly rooted in our popular culture— which is expressed in the phrase that "the image never lies". In spite of the revolution introduced by digital technologies, we continue to rely on the audiovisual "document"—in the form of news, documentaries, home videos—and we continue to be captivated by the "realism" of the representation of human interactions and conflicts that cinema and television offer us, both in the classic modes of fiction and non-fiction and in newer formats such as reality TV.

The XXIV International Conference of the School of Communication of the University of Navarre aims to create a forum for reflection and debate on these issues, building on the understanding of the historical and theoretical contexts developed during the last century, while also exploring the present and future configurations of our audiovisual societies.

Topics for consideration could include, but are not restricted to:
- From Bazin to Baudrillard. Theoretical approaches to the nature of reality in audiovisual representation.
- Technological mediation. The impact of the consolidation of the digital media on the debate about the indexical nature of the image.
- From live broadcasts to reality television. The consequences of the growth of the rhetoric of live broadcasting in contemporary audiovisual culture, from cinéma vérité and direct cinema to the reality show format.
- Documentary as a site of collision between the theoretical proposals of deconstructionism and its traditional vocation as social witness.
- Realism in fiction film. Engagements with the diverse proposals of "realistic cinema," in its historical, rhetorical, narrative and aesthetic dimensions.
- Audiovisual creation on the frontiers. The hybridization of styles and modes—fiction, documentary, experimental—and their new proposals for the representation of the real.

Papers can be presented in English or Spanish. The Conference will provide simultaneous translation to both languages.

Deadline for proposals: Friday 5 June 2009.
Proposals must be addressed to Efrén Cuevas (, and include:
- a 300 word abstract
- a brief list of bibliographic references related to the proposal
- a brief curriculum vitae
Final notification of acceptance will follow in the first week of July.

Conference Organizers
Efrén Cuevas. Universidad de Navarra (
Alberto N. García. Universidad de Navarra (

Advisory Board
Josep María Catalá (Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona)
John Corner (University of Leeds)
Arild Fetveit (University of Copenhagen)
Richard Kilborn (University of Stirling)
Roger Odin (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle)
Àngel Quintana (Universitat de Girona)
Laura Rascaroli (University College Cork)

Conference Web Page: