Spiral Film and Philosophy Conference 2018: “Thinking Space”

deadline for submissions: 
March 2, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
York University

Toronto, Canada

May 11-12, 2018


Since Muybridge’s chronophotographic experiments, the relationship between cinema and time has been well documented. Less obvious, perhaps, is the relationship of cinema with space. Following the so-called digital mutation of recording and viewing technologies, this issue has nonetheless made its way to the forefront of cinema and media studies. It is not only that moviegoing is being decentered by the rise of portable viewing platforms — as cinema happens more and more outside of traditional theatres —, but also that the usual medium of inscription of film — the celluloid base — has been radically opened by new media.


This recent dislocation of film represents a unique opportunity to examine the relationship between space, philosophy and film. What does it mean for film-philosophy to happen — to take place — as a theoretical event in the gaps opened by this disruption? In what ways can thinking be informed by this spatial turn going on in film and media studies? What kind of possibilities arise when the spatiality of the medium is being considered from a cinematic perspective? All these questions require that we carry over Foucault’s intuition into film-philosophy: “[t]he present epoch will perhaps be above all the epoch of space” (1986).


We specifically seek papers that engage space and cinema beyond both the static and the merely representational. The focus should instead be on the dynamic way in which the visual tracing of movement allows both for the creation of space and the opening of new paths for thought. Topics and issues to cover may include (but are not limited to):


-    not merely the cinema of architecture, but the architecture of movement;

-    immersive experience involving sight, sound and other senses;

-    aesthetic and critical approaches to developments in virtual reality and “total cinema”;

-    mediations allowed by the cinematic experience;

-    cinematic and mediatized tracing and mapping of space (gesture, projection, etc.);

-    dislocation of the filmgoing experience (cinematic experience decentered: GIF, iPhone);

-    cinematic space less as object of representation, but as process of thought-making;

-    cinematic questioning of traditional space (i.e. space-folding in Inception, deconstruction of classical spatial grammar in post-WWII European cinema)

-    topological approaches to thinking the axes of space and time in the creation of cinematic worlds;

-    innovative cinematic treatment of specific typologies of space: interstellar space (Gravity), place, location, zone (Stalker), area, ambiance, environment and ecology (first space footage of Earth), globalization;

-    phenomenological and affective inquiries into living spaces, lifeworlds, etc.;

-    posthuman, object-oriented, and speculative realist inquiries into non-, post-, and para-human space (hyperobjects, anthropocene, chthulucene, capitalocene, etc.);

-    space and (in)visibilities in cinema and media (sites of appearance and disappearance, scenes of light and darkness, staging, audition, etc.);

-    biopolitical engagements with space and place (i.e. the camp, logics of capture, everyday life)

-    fragmentation of space (Shaviro’s post-continuity)


We welcome papers that engage with the work of specific philosophers and theorists who think about space and philosophy from a variety of perspectives and further relate them to questions of cinema and media studies. We also welcome filmmakers, media practitioners, and activists to present and discuss their work.


The confirmed Keynote Speaker is Andrew Culp, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Aesthetics and Politics at California Institute of the Arts. He is the author of Dark Deleuze (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), and has published articles and interviews in boundary 2, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, parallax, Angelaki, Affinities, and Radical Philosophy. He is currently working on a book project entitled Persona Obscura.


The conference will be held in Toronto, Canada May 11-12, 2018.


Please send a 300-350-word abstract, brief bibliography, and bio (with institutional affiliation, if applicable) in one document as an email attachment to spiralfilmphilosophy@gmail.com by Friday, March 2, 2018. Notifications about acceptance or rejection of proposal will be sent promptly.


Conference Registration Fee:

Conference Attendance: $100 (Canadian)

Graduate Students and Underemployed: $50 (Canadian)


Conference website: spiralfilmphilosophy.ca


Organized by the Spiral Film and Philosophy Collective in collaboration with the department of Cinema and Media Studies, York University.