Call for Proposals [SCMS 2010/LA panel] Medium Specificity and the Boundaries of the Cinematic Arts

From: Ji-hoon Felix Kim (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Aug 10 2009 - 11:51:54 PDT

Below is a message to solicit proposals for the panel that will be submitted
to next year's SCMS (Society for Cinema and Media Studies) conference
(please refer to in Los Angeles, organized by me with my
friend Gregory Zinman.

*Medium Specificity and the Boundaries of the Cinematic Arts *

Recent scholarship in cinema studies and other disciplines (such as media
studies and art history) has sparked renewed attention to the issues of
cinema’s ontology and film’s particular role in re-conceptualizing the idea
of medium specificity. Scholars leading this “ontological turn”—including D.
N. Rodowick, Mary Ann Doane, Rosalind Krauss, Laura Mulvey, and Jonathan
Walley—have destabilized the very notion of a film medium, thereby calling
into question of what exactly constitutes cinema. These theoretical
challenges to medium specificity have resulted in historical reexaminations
of formerly marginalized cinematic practices, such as relocating strains of
avant-garde film in terms of the “expanded field” of contemporary art;
revealing forgotten connections between cinema and its neighboring art
forms; and elaborating the meaning of key terms developed by film studies—
“material,” “technique,” “apparatus,” “image,” and “spectator.” What’s more,
the increasing impact of electronic and digital technologies on film culture
has also caused scholars to redefine the idea of the cinematic medium as
something that can circumscribe or expand the expressive possibilities of
the moving image.

*We therefore invite proposals for papers that engage with the issue of
medium specificity via investigations of divergent cinematic practices in
order to demonstrate the constitutive uncertainty or variability of cinema*.
As panel organizers, we will present one paper seeking to recover a history
of ephemeral cinema in the filmic avant-garde, and another that will counter
the argument on the unprecedented role of digital technologies in shaping
hybrid-manipulated media images by theorizing affinities between the
aesthetics of contemporary moving image arts and those of early video art.

While we would prefer proposals concerning histories of avant-garde cinema
and of the relationship between cinema and the other arts, we will also
gladly consider proposals grounded in a strong theoretical or ontological
approach to the issue, or ones dealing with contemporary practices that
promise to push the boundaries of the cinematic arts.

*We are planning to develop this panel into a scholarly anthology that
surveys the rich and increasing discussions of this topic for the last
decade and in the near future. Thus we hope that anyone who is interested in
this plan is encouraged to send his/her proposal, so that we will request it
to be extended into an essay, as our plan for making this anthology is more
concretized.* Given only two slots for the participation in the panel, we
also hope that we will keep in touch with those whose proposal is not
selected as possible contributors to the anthology.

If you’re not a member of SCMS, you will be asked to join the membership
before we submit our panel proposal. As per the SCMS proposal format (please
check ** <> for details), please
send a 300-word summary, five keywords, bibliography, and 25-word author
biography by August 14 to both of the e-mail addresses below:

Ji-hoon Kim, Ph.D. Candidate, Cinema Studies, New York University (
email suppressed)
 Gregory Zinman, Ph.D. Candidate, Cinema Studies, New York University (
email suppressed)

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.