NYU - [Frames(Windows(Mirrors))]
CALL FOR PAPERS
NYU CINEMA STUDIES STUDENT CONFERENCE
February 19-20, 2021
Frames, windows, mirrors is a set of related, multivalent concepts that have each worked as figurative anchors at critical junctures in film and media history. From the Lacanian mirror and its role in psychoanalytic film theory to Mary Ann Doane’s work on spectatorial desire and “window” of cinema, these persistent metaphors have come to organize much of how we analyze visual media. But these concepts also refer to literal, material structures: the frame can denote the physical bounds of a screen, or a frame of film that holds a light-etched picture of the moving world; the window can be a glassy “aperture”, something that allows light to penetrate and permeate a space or surface; even the glossy abyss of a dormant digital screen has prompted that new cliché of a black mirror. These terms are also verbs, tied to actions that raise questions of intent, agency, and/or subjection: what does it mean to frame, to window, to mirror?
In light of the COVID-19 crisis, these concepts seem ever more prescient as public space and presence are endlessly reconfigured in this year of cataclysmic shifts. How can we use these organizing concepts to read the continuities and discontinuities of the everyday? How can we rethink and reframe these conceptual figures in innovative ways so that they resonate with our current realities and possible futures? In which ways do these terms illuminate the correlations between our embodied existence and our mediated experiences? What are the politics and ethics involved in the act of exposing and in the gesture of concealing? Is a grammar that unconditionally favors transparency and visibility always desirable?
We welcome submissions from any discipline, and encourage interdisciplinary approaches. In addition to traditional paper submissions, we gladly accept practice-based projects such as theory-driven films, performance-based pieces, and archival research.
Special themes may include (but are in no way limited to):
Protest and Surveillance: How have Black Lives Matter activists adapted organizing strategies in the wake of quarantine? How has heightened (awareness of) police violence led to a renewed conversation about surveillance, and how has this shaped the way that information–about violent incidents, protests, mutual aid, redistribution, and more–is shared, or not, via smartphones and social media? How did the George Floyd protests hold up a mirror to ever-present structures in US society and beyond?
Environment and Presence: How has this year reconfigured our conceptions of and attachments to shared time and space? With the varying affects of intimacy and alienation in virtual gatherings, are we oriented differently towards the natural world and the shared (or divergent) experience of its cycles (circadian; seasonal)? Has this year’s necessary virtuality changed what it means to inhabit or be present in any given environment?
Film-Philosophy: How productive is the intersection of diverse philosophical frameworks and cinematic practices when reflecting on the disruptions, ruptures, and fractures experienced this year? If both philosophy and cinema share the task of “reflection”, how can we renew their dialogue? How can we reflect on previous modes of reflection? How can we bring into visibility and audibility the blind spots and silences embedded in dominant discursive practices?
Gamification: How do digital games push people to turn everyday activities into games? How are we using screens to monitor this activity and compete for points or notoriety on the internet? A few pieces of technology, applications, and games that are involved in Gamification are (but not limited to) the Peloton, Pokemon Go, Xbox Live, The PlayStation Network, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Casual iPhone games, The Fit Bit, any fitness apps.
Curation and Collectivity: How have arts organizations, festivals, collectives, and creative platforms innovated new forms of programming in this virtual moment? What new possibilities for presenting and experiencing art, culture, and sociality have emerged? What happens when the screen becomes theatre, gallery, festival ground, and nightclub all in one? Proposals related to virtual festivals, online exhibitions, various live streams, and streaming platforms welcome.
Framing History: How are pundits, news stations, online journals, screenwriters, filmmakers creating narratives that construct our culture–that tell us how to mirror what they say to do? Some topics to consider: CNN’s vs. Fox News’ coverage on current topics, contagion films, tech terror documentaries such as The Great Hack (2019) or The Social Dilemma (2020), short stories about isolation, poems about the pandemic.
Please submit an abstract (250-300 words) and a short bio (max. 100 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than January 20th, 2020. If you’re submitting a film, art, or performance work, please include
documentation (stills, videos, etc.) in addition to the abstract. Links are preferable to files.
We look forward to seeing your proposals on our screens!