SMCS 2016: Surface Tension: Flatness in Film

full name / name of organization: 
SCMS Atlanta 2016
contact email: 

The illusory depth of moving images and their two-dimensionality on the silver screen is one of cinema's constitutive dialectical relationships. This panel invites papers that focus principally on the latter: flatness in film narrative, materials, methods of projection and modes of spectatorship. How might filmmakers, film protagonists and/or film spectators resist the extension of diegetic space? How might we analyze the experience of cinematic flatness in its many different guises and applications? What political, affectual, psychological or other impacts might this common formal characteristic have? Are films that have successfully insisted on their own flatness narrative or non-narrative? Self-reflexive or meditative? Finally, does the contention that in the postmodern era, an image's flatness signifies subjective poverty apply to flatness in contemporary film? With the goal of a truly comparative screen studies purview, topics for papers may include, but are not limited to:

- Animation, abstract film and flatness

- Deleuzian frameworks for surface (Marks' "haptic

- Documentary modes, compilation film and flatness

- Fiction film's flatness in style and affect

- Histories of cinematic surface/s

- Intermedial film strategies, or flatness in digital versus

- Militant film and testimonial presentation (Holert's
"tabular image")

- Phenomenological or psychoanalytical frameworks for
flatness (Lippit's "Cinema Surface Design"

- Script, text or writing on film

- Visual culture or art historical frameworks for surface
(Joselit's "Notes on Surface")

Please submit abstracts of approximately 300 words (no more than 2,500 characters), a 3-5 title bibliography, and a brief author bio to Jennifer Stob with "SCMS" in the subject line by August 10. Notifications will be sent out by August 14. Prospective panelists are welcome to email first with any questions.