Display: Excess and Visibility in Film, Media, and Culture

deadline for submissions: 
January 31, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Media Fields Collective, UC Santa Barbara
contact email: 

***Deadline Extended***

Call For Papers: Media Fields VII Conference, April 3-5

Display: Excess and Visibility in Film, Media, and Culture

Keynote Speakers: ​Soraya Murray​ (Associate Professor in Film and Digital Media at University of California Santa Cruz and principal faculty in Art and Design Games and Playable Media), Joshua Neves​ (Assistant Professor Film Cinema Studies at Concordia, ​Canada Research Chair, and Director of the Global Emergent Media Lab).

Special Event: Screening of ​Shakedown (2018) and post-screening discussion with Director Leilah Weinraub​ and Professor of Feminist Studies ​Mireille Miller-Young​.


DNA ancestry reports. Neon billboards. Bodycam videos. ​Reality tv competitions. ​GIS maps. Stock tickers. ​Real-time election coverage. Televised court cases. Local drag shows. Protest live streams. 3D ultrasounds. Reddit AMAs. Twitch feeds. 

Our contemporary mediascape is ostensibly awash with outlets to visualize and represent modern life. The discourse of an “always on” and seamlessly connected global visual culture is built upon an excess of visibility and accessibility, which hides as much as it reveals. From this vantage, early theories of the modern spectacle are at once uncannily relevant and seemingly outdated. From this vantage, ​the Media Fields Editorial Collective at the UC Santa Barbara Department of Film & Media Studies is seeking proposals for its upcoming biennial conference that address this year’s theme — ​Display — through the lenses of excess and visibility. 

Early theorists in film and media studies exploring visibility, sensation, and excess centered the spectacle as an organizing object of study. As the everyday is continually mediated through communication technologies and entertainment experiences and intensified by postmodernity, digitization, and globalization, we seek to consider how theories of the excessive spectacular can be revised by considering the (in)visible display. Seeking to explore the usefulness of display to interrogate contemporary media cultures and revisit historical questions, we ask: What continuities, disjunctions, and transformations exist between historical and contemporary cultures of display? Does a mediascape saturated with visibility and excess call for a reexamination of the spectacle? Does the excess of the spectacle still resonate with contemporary media practices? ​And, what does moving from spectacle​ to display​ open up in our thinking on these topics? How can we better investigate what is on the surface, behind, underneath, and beyond the display? 

In interrogating this topic, we seek papers that explore media’s relationship with display in its various forms: as media objects, industry practices, social processes, and cultural artifacts. We invite a range of works that explore the modes and means of visibility; strategies and practices of image construction; relationships between the production and promotion of display; encounters and engagements with display regimes; intersections of aesthetics and the politics of display; forms of local, national, regional, and global aspirations and belonging; and interactions between multisensory spectacle and forms of subjectivity, resistance, and imagination. 

Papers may reflect on display as it relates to questions around the following themes. ​We especially encourage submissions that work to decenter dominant paradigmatic privileges.

Space​: architecture and design; media mobility; built environments and urban spaces; extractive and environmental media; public, consumer, and leisure spaces; domestic and private spaces; questions of scale (global, regional, local, national, territorial); physical infrastructures and urban planning

Industry​: trade shows and conventions; distribution and exhibition; audience construction and measurement; ownership structures and affiliations; labor dynamics; cultures of production; digital infrastructures (data collection, storage, and analytics; algorithms; moderation practices; walled gardens; geoblocking)

Representation​: film, tv, game and transmedial representations; publics and counterpublics; protest, disruption, and direct action; surveillance and policing; digital identities; data visualizations; immersive technologies; simulation and virtual reality

Embodiment​: performance; trauma and memory; haptic, aural, and other sensory experiences; disciplinary regimes; articulations and experiences of difference (race, class, gender, ability, sexuality, age); belonging and community

Objects​: media devices; screens and surfaces; imaging technologies (geographic information displays [GIDs], medical, environmental, military); signage, billboards, and promotional materials; markers, sensors, and indicators; attractions and amusements 

Use​: digital interfaces; platforms; mapping and navigation; connected viewing; online gaming; social media; digital consumer and retail practices; remix, copyleft, and piracy cultures; digital and streaming communities (YouTube, Twitch, Reddit, 4chan)

Panelists will have 15-20 minutes to present their papers. Please email a 250- to 300-word proposal and a brief bio (in PDF format) to display.mediafields@gmail.com by January 31, 2019. For any inquiries, please contact the conference organizers: Aleah Kiley (aleahkiley@gmail.com), Charlotte Orzel (charlotteorzel@ucsb.edu), Nicole Strobel (nstrobel@ucsb.edu), and Xiuhe Zhang (xiuhezhang@ucsb.edu).