Visible Evidence CFP: Sound Design in the Feature Documentary

I am pulling together a panel on sound design for Visible Evidence XXIII, to take place in Bozeman, MT , August 11-14, 2016. I encourage anyone interested to let me know!

Panel Proposal/Call for Papers

Sound Design in the Feature Documentary

One of the focus themes for the 2016 Visible Evidence Conference is “Sonic Frontiers,” acknowledging the increasing (and long overdue) critical attention to documentary sound. In this move, documentary studies is responding to sonic experiments in contemporary documentary. By substituting source sound with electronic scoring (Rebecca Baron) or foley sound (Loznitsa, Ujica, Voignier, and Mansky), and by exploring the aesthetics of silence, contemporary nonfiction filmmakers challenge the notion of sound as a transparent conduit of information. Similarly, the boom in scholarship on the essay film has underscored the importance of the sound track as a crucial aesthetic and intellectual component of the nonfiction film.

As important as essay films and more experimental documentary soundtracks are, though, the critical attention on anti-realist practice obscures a parallel revolution in sound design among more mainstream documentaries. Enabled by affordable digital technologies and inspired by developments in fiction film sound, feature documentaries are developing richer soundtracks. 

This proposed panel will explore the sonic aesthetics of contemporary documentary. Theoretical papers, close readings, or historical case studies are welcome on any aspect of sound practice, including recording, sound mixing, and foley sound. While the panel will be open to a range of canonical and noncanonical documentary—from theatrical feature to public broadcast television to the creative documentary—the emphasis will be on documentary in its less experimental, more hegemonic forms.

Conference submission deadline is Jan 15. Please email me by Jan. 10 if you are interested in participating:


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