Call For PapersThe Velvet Light Trap
Useful Media: Industrial, Educational, Institutional
Submission deadline: September 15, 2012
As breakthroughs in digital technologies compel scholars to address media consumption outside the traditional contexts of the theater and the home, media historians remind us that audio/visual materials have always proliferated in other places: city halls, churches, courtrooms, classrooms, hospitals, union halls, corporate offices, factories, and laboratories. Within such alternative venues, media function as tools of education, justice, agitation, advocacy, professionalization, strategy, training, and proselytizing. These frequently overlooked uses of media, beyond art and entertainment, remind us that the patterns of production, distribution, and consumption commonly invoked by terms like “the movies” or “television” represent only certain configurations within the broader field of media practice.
Recent developments in the accessibility of educational and industrial media—through the Internet Archive, YouTube postings of leaked training videos, and DVD anthology collections (e.g., Treasures from American Film Archives)—have brought these other media venues and practices to a new prominence. Likewise, an increase in scholarly attention paid to “useful” media, as in the recent anthologies Useful Cinema (Acland and Wasson, 2011) and Learning with the Lights Off (Orgeron, Orgeron, and Streible 2012), encourages us to revise our assumptions about how media function in everyday life and rethink the very definitions of media forms that scholars often take for granted.
In that spirit, The Velvet Light Trap seeks essays for an issue on "useful" media. We welcome submissions concerning the production, distribution, exhibition, and/or reception of educational, industrial, and other institutional film, video, television, audio, and new media, past and present.
Full call and submission details available at the journal's website.