The Materials of Screen Media

deadline for submissions: 
May 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
The Screen Studies Association of Australia and Aoteaora New Zealand (SSAAANZ)
contact email: 

The Screen Studies Association of Australia and Aoteaora New Zealand (SSAAANZ), in association with Massey University, present:

The Materials of Screen Media

30 November - 2 December 2022

'Materialism,' 'materials,' 'materiality,' 'matter': for scholars in screen and media studies, is there anything these terms can't do? They shape our common critical vernacular, from references to 'source material,' to discussion of 'subject matter.' They also sustain a range of approaches to screen media - from cultural materialist frameworks (Garnham; Williams), to theories of the cinematic apparatus (Baudry; Hanich; Pedulla; Straw; Elsaesser), and from film and TV exhibition histories (Friedberg; Griffiths; Schwarz; Spigel; Szczepaniak-Gillece) to indigenous approaches to media materiality (Hokowhitu; Miner; Smith) and studies of screen production and distribution (Holt and Perrin; Mayer, Banks and Caldwell; Cunningham and Silver; Lobato). In fact, across the past two decades, screen and media studies has undergone what a number of critics have identified as a full-scale 'material turn' (Herzogenrath; Mitchell). Among scholars associated with this turn, the 'material' betokens, variously, the infrastructural underpinnings of screen media (Starosielski; Parks and Starosielski), the raw geo- and biophysical resources that feed screen media (Bozak; Cubitt; Maxwell and Miller; Parikka), the audiovisual technologies of screen media (Dourish; Gittelman; Kittler), the material cultures of screen media (Benson-Allott), the affective flows of the technologically mediated bodies that experience screen media (Kavka; Marks; Sobchack), and screen media's unique ontology (Arsenjuk).

The SSAAANZ 2022 conference, hosted online by Massey University between the 30th of November and the 2nd of December 2022, will both take stock of existing uses of terms like 'materialism,' 'materials,' 'materiality,' and 'matter' in screen studies, and open up these terms to new applications. We invite contributions that push the rubric of 'materiality' in novel critical directions, as well as those working within existing 'materialist' traditions, from media industry studies, to affect theory, to infrastructure studies. We especially encourage reflexive thinking across these traditions. Why have we returned so frequently to a metaphorics of materiality in our efforts to understand how screen media work, what screen media are and why screen media matter to us? What is the relationship between Williams's 'cultural materialism' and Latour's 'matter,' or between Caldwell's 'material practices' and Sobchack's material body? And how might the rise of digital and algorithmic media transform our understanding of the screen media's 'material' base?

Keynote Speakers:

* Caetlin Benson-Allott (Georgetown University)
* Olivia Khoo (Monash University)
* Alice Lovejoy (University of Minnesota)

Guest Filmmakers:

* Sari Braithwaite, director of "[CENSORED]" (2018)
* CIRCUIT artist and curator Mark Williams
* Heperi Mita, director of "Mereta: How Mum Decolonised the Screen" (2018)
* Tiriki Onus and Alec Morgan, co-directors of "Ablaze" (2020)

Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

* Materials on screen/the matter of images
* Screen media agencies, industries and institutions
* Production studies and media industry studies in Australia, New Zealand and beyond
* The crafts of film and television production and their materials: production design, costume design, set and props construction
* The materiality of the production and post-production workflow: shooting, editing, animation, effects
* The material cultures of screen media consumption
* Film preservation and archiving
* Screens and the built environment
* Indigenous approaches to and perspectives on media and materiality
* Sizes, shapes and textures of screens
* Film stock: histories, politics, aesthetics
* The practices, spaces, and networks of media distribution and exhibition
* 'Old' materialisms: Marx, Adorno, Williams
* Class and stuff/the stuff of class
* Media archaeology
* Film and television affect
* Resource media: carbon, sunlight, plastic
* Materialisms 'old' and 'new' in critical conversation
* Media and/as the environment
* Dead media
* Film and media infrastructures: server farms to undersea networks
* The stuff of bits: spreadsheets, databases, networks
* 'German' media theory in Australasia
* New materialism and media: speculative media, object-oriented media
* Digital materialisms

We are inviting proposals for sessions of four kinds:

* Individual presentations: we ask that presenters pre-record presentations of 7-15 minutes long so that they can be made available online ahead of the panel session itself, which will be dedicated to discussion and Q&A.
* Pre-constituted panels: these proposals should include an overarching rationale as well as proposals for 3-4 individual presentations (of 7-15 minutes long). Again, we ask that presenters pre-record their presentations so that they can be made available online ahead of the panel session itself, which will be dedicated to discussion and Q&A.
* Roundtables: discussions on a scholarly topic led by a chair and 3-5 speakers. Each speaker should present for up to 5 minutes on the topic. A roundtable conversation will then ensue, after which the session will be opened up to the audience.
* Seminars: participatory sessions led by 1-2 seminar leaders, with up to 8 participants and an audience of auditors. Seminar leaders will invite participants to undertake preparatory tasks that will be shared prior to the conference and discussed during the seminar session itself.

Please visit the conference website at to submit your proposal. Proposals for presentations at the conference must be submitted by midnight (NZST), 30 May 2022.

Please note that this conference will take place primarily online to ensure accessibility and provide certainty in the current climate.

While the main conference will take place between the 30th of November and the 2nd of December, we will be holding an online pre-fix event for postgraduate students and early career researchers on the 29th of November. More details regarding this event will be announced nearer the date.