HIGH/LOW - Taste, Quality, and Resolution in Film & Media - EXTENDED

deadline for submissions: 
November 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Organizing Committee of the UC Berkeley Graduate Conference in Film & Media

Call for papers: UC Berkeley Graduate Conference in Film & Media, Feb 8-9, 2019

Deadline extended to November 15, 2018

HIGH/LOW: Taste, Quality, and Resolution in Film & Media

A degraded film strip. A lossy jpeg. A pirated cassette tape. An HBO drama. A Tomatometer rating. An amateur YouTube video. Questions of quality, taste, and resolution have been key to discourses about the moving image from cinema’s early days. Twenty-first century changes to our media environment replay debates about quality and resolution that have long circulated around the cinema. The 2019 Berkeley Film & Media Graduate Conference seeks to put into dialogue ideas of taste, quality, and resolution in form and content from the standpoint of the digital age. HIGH/LOW asks how historical understandings of quality, value, and taste persist or are challenged by emerging medial forms.

Media technologies have become increasingly relevant to fraught questions of access, inclusion, and exclusion. What is the role of so-called gatekeepers in the contemporary reception of media? How do big data and algorithmic curation determine formulas for value that function as criteria for 'quality'? How do useful and non-theatrical media forms feature into debates of quality? To what extent have digital technologies opened up new avenues for creation and circulation of content by amateurs and marginalized groups? What role does resolution/bandwidth play in the creation or dissemination of content? Have new forms of distribution and curation democratized viewing practices or siloed audiences into personalized echo chambers? What role do platforms have in determining how a given media is perceived in algorithmic culture?

We welcome submissions that deal with contemporary issues as well as those that look at the historical progression of taste, quality and resolution, in cinematic as well as other medial forms.

Potential topics for papers might include: 

  • Popular and unpopular media: economic and critical reception
  • Resolution and fidelity: HD, glitch, noise
  • Professionalism and amateurism
  • Algorithmic curation and big data
  • Effects of new models of exhibition and distribution, e.g. subscription services
  • Canon formation
  • Cultural exclusion and inclusion: excess, limits, and norms
  • Third cinema’s critiques of technically perfect cinema
  • Marginalized media forms
  • Historical articulations of taste: cult, camp, kitsch, middlebrow
  • Failed or impossible restorations
  • Media teleologies of progress and development
  • The politics of media access
  • “Quality” or “prestige” television
  • Social media and audience segmentation
  • Failed and forgotten media technologies
  • Useful/nontheatrical media
  • Media piracy and global circulation

We welcome papers from all disciplinary backgrounds and encourage scholarship grounded in area studies from non-EuroAmerican contexts. Although this is a graduate student conference, we invite lecturers, adjuncts, and other non-tenure­track faculty to apply. To submit, please send an abstract of 200–300 words, along with a brief biographical statement to highlowconference@gmail.com by November 15, 2018.