Tuesday, May 13, 2014

CFP: Conference on Documentary Culture


Codes and Modes: The Character of Documentary Culture

A Conference at Hunter College, City University of New York
November 7- 9, 2014
abstracts due  June 22nd, 2014

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Brian Winston

Bringing together scholars, makers, graduate students, and curators, this event is an invitation to interrogate the social spaces and the formal and thematic boundaries within which contemporary documentary culture is produced.

Today a flourishing documentary culture finds its home in a variety of spaces of production, exhibition, and discussion: in the cinema, the gallery, the classroom, on youtube and increasingly, embedded in other forms of social and mobile media. Our goal is to promote critical dialogue around how documentary culture is taught, how it is learned, how it is reproduced and what assumptions and possibilities lie in this terrain.

We are pleased to announce a call for presentations of creative work, of modes of production and distribution, of papers, panels and workshops on questions including, but not limited to, the topics listed below.

The conference's keynote presenter will be documentary scholar Brian Winston, who has produced a seminal body of writing on the documentary and documentary ethics over the previous three decades.  In addition we will offer offer an homage to Brazilian documentary filmmaker Eduardo Coutinho with Professor Ivone Margulies.

We are pleased to announce a call for of papers, panels and workshops presentations of work, of modes of production and distribution on questions related to the themes below. Please send an Abstract (between 150 and 300 words in length including an indication of form and, if relevant, an indication as to which of the above categories your proposal might relate to.)  as well as a brief bio (100 words maximum) by June 22nd, 2014 to: integrated.media.arts@hunter.cuny.edu   Each proposal should include name(s),  any affiliation, institutional address and email addresses of the author(s).   All those submitting will be informed by July 15, 2014.

HOW DO WE LOOK?: A Documentary Meta-Politics

In our current crises of representative politics, the philosophical issues of truth, witness and the subject and the nature of re-envisioned forms of relation are continually emerging on a meta-level in documentary practice globally.

  • What are the critical implications of producing a culture of documentary? Who has agency? Who gets left out?
  • Is the term “documentary” outdated, or insufficient? what are some alternative ways to describe the work we do and the communities we are engendering?
  • As teachers, producers, and programmers of documentary, how do our own institutional boundaries frame "what counts" as documentary?
  • How do funding mechanisms play into the current apparatus of documentary celebrity, and what are the ways we might foresee and forestall (or enhance) the implications of this tendency?


In some ways the documentary ‘brand’ finds itself overshadowed or sidelined by new social media tools and practices offering interactivity, self-representation, and new distribution platforms. In other ways we see people using notions of documentary to define work on these new platforms

  • How is the meaning of the documentary form in these new contexts, ones where the social is both virtual and technologically malleable, altered, enhanced or otherwise formed?
  • How is inclusion enhanced, harmed or otherwise impacted with the use of social media tools?


“The Network Society” as described by Manuel Castells is a ‘space of flows,’ a precarious moment in time and space in which societies are structured around a battle between the Net (networked communication) and Self (identities actualized). The current politics surrounding immigration, race, gender identity, land use, solidarity, etc., places the documentary form in the unique position of being used as a tool for exploring who we are and who we could become in a period of economic, social and political crisis.

  • What role and power does documentary culture wield in the face of these new hyper migrating forms of capitalistic space?           
  • Our networked communication systems for media and social interaction provide an intricate, flexible and immediate map that enables new capitalism to flourish. Are these same routes as useful for keeping pace with local needs to retain and form community identity? 
  • Can documentary culture continue to provide alternative maps to rabbit holes in the capitalistic networks?
  • How do we ensure learning environments to teach each other these mechanisms most efficiently? 

Conference organizers:  Jason Fox, Martin Lucas, and Kelly Spivey

Monday, May 05, 2014

CFP: World Picture Conference 2014


World Picture Conference
ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry
7-8 November 2014


Keynote lecture: Prof. Laurence Rickels, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden K√ľnste Karlsruhe

This year’s conference marks the occasion of an exciting collaboration between World Picture and the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry.

The theme of this year’s conference is abandon, a term that encompasses radical renunciation and immersive indulgence in its oscillation between abandonment of and abandonment to, between restraint and luxury, mindfulness and neglect. When we speak of abandonment we indicate a situation in which we take leave of something, or disband a collective entity, or else act in a way that suggests a disaggregation of certain protocols of behaviour, or belonging (as when we “laugh with abandon”). Discourses and scenes of media and politics are generally highly invested in ideas of taking-leave, breaking apart or away, acting with abandon. In the present moment, we believe the term resonates in manifold ways. For instance: with often painful choices between theoretical and political models that have outlasted their effectiveness but to which there seem to be no alternatives; with turns to abandoned objects as new sources of ontologies in which the turn itself is a mode of abandoning an established political-theoretical project; with the obdurate “problem” of pleasure in aesthetics and aesthetic theory as either the obstacle or the medium of the aesthetic’s interface with the political; with the cathexis of the body and its phenomenology as an instrument and medium of political and aesthetic experimentation; with attempts to relinquish the human, and its attendant association with agency, as a category of experience; with contemporary experiences/fantasies of control and resistance to control; with theatricalizations of abjuration and gratification. We invite papers that explore abandon in any number of philosophical, theoretical, artistic, mediatic, generic, and disciplinary contexts.

This year’s conference on abandon supports and feeds into the upcoming ICI Core Project ‘Errans’, which takes the shifting and incompatible meanings of erring as a starting point to explore the critical potentials and risks of embracing error, randomness, failure, and non-teleological temporalities. For further details of that project, please see www.ici-berlin.org/errans.

Papers to be delivered should be 20 minutes in length. Please email an abstract (250-500 words) and a short bio to worldpicturejournal@gmail.com by 30 June 2014.  Notifications of acceptance will be sent by mid-July.

Organisers: Manuele Gragnolati (Oxford University/ICI Berlin), Christoph Holzhey (ICI Berlin), Brian Price (co-editor, World Picture/University of Toronto), John David Rhodes (co-editor, World Picture/University of Sussex), and Meghan Sutherland (co-editor, World Picture/University of Toronto)