2012/1 – #Crisis

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Now showing 1 - 16 of 16
  • Article
    A sideways view of the film economy in an age of digital piracy
    Lobato, Ramon (2012)
    Understanding the dynamics of the movie business has been a priority for film scholars since the earliest days of academic cinema studies, as well as for filmrelated researchers in other fields like sociology, organisational studies and management. There are many different templates for film industry analysis, including the box office bean-counting that we see in trade papers like Variety, the ambivalent fascination with ‘the genius of the system’3 that characterises much work on studio-era Hollywood, and the dirigiste policy analysis practiced in Europe, Canada, Australasia and other areas with state-subsidised industries. The terms upon which these inquiries proceed are geared towards industrial and technological contexts that are historically specific rather than universal. Hence, we need to ensure that the lenses through which we approach our objects of analysis are indeed appropriate for said objects.
  • Review
    Atlas. How to carry the world on one’s back?
    Castro, Teresa (2012)
    In recent years the notion of the atlas has become a fashionable concept in both critical theory and contemporary art. Artists such Gerhard Richter and Walid Raad have named two of their most important projects after this ancient publishing genre, while the notion emerged as a means of addressing both the epochal archival impulse and the epistemic revolution brought about by hypermedia. Even though the history of this particular form of visual knowledge goes back many centuries the atlas has come to signify a strikingly modern way of producing, exposing, or thinking about images. The exhibition Atlas. How to carry the world on one’s back? addresses one fundamental and often overlooked question: what exactly is an atlas and what are its powers?
  • Review
    Busan Cinema Forum 2011
    Loist, Skadi; de Valck, Marijke (2012)
    The Busan International Film Festival, based in the South Korean harbor city, is one of the biggest and most important film festivals in Asia and a powerful and innovative newcomer on the international film festival circuit.1 Within only 15 years Busan has become a festival operating much like bigger festivals such as Berlinale and Cannes, featuring competitions, a national/regional showcase, a market (Asian Film Market), a co-production market (Asian Project Market/APM, formerly known as Pusan Promotion Plan/PPP), a film school component (Asian Film Academy), and a film fund (Asian Cinema Fund).
  • Review
    Crisis and Capitalism in Contemporary Argentine Cinema - written by Joanna Page, Durham-London: Duke University Press, 2009
    Appiolaza, Fausto (2012)
    In the introduction to her book CRISIS AND CAPITALISM IN CONTEMPORARY ARGENTINE CINEMA, Joanna Page summarises the vicissitudes of the Argentine film industry from the 1990s until now and establishes the theoretical framework of her research. By highlighting the relationship between Argentina’s economic and political situation and its film industry, Page sets out to explore how Argentine cinema helped to construct different ‘modes of subjectivity relating to Argentina’s experience of capitalism, neoliberalism and economic crisis’ (p. 3). This study draws on Frederic Jameson’s theorisation on the intrinsically allegorical nature of third world cultural manifestations and Deleuze’s notion that all films which generally refer to money within their narrative can be considered to be reflexive because they implicitly comment on their own process of production. The figures of allegory and reflexivity are present in all film analyses throughout the book.
  • Article
    Editorial NECSUS #1, Spring 2012, 'Crisis'
    NECSUS Editorial Board (2012)
    Now is the time of/for crisis – whether we think about the global financial system, the environment, the European Union, democracy, publishing, even the arts. As we live our mediated and connected lives the symptoms appear to be everywhere. These crises are inextricably and fundamentally linked to the media because without the media we would hardly know anything about them – and the media needs them in order to continue churning out the alerts and special events that have become second nature to its routines. In fact, one could argue that the media assert themselves in our lives by creating and conveying a constant sense of crisis. Mass media seem to be in a perpetual state of turmoil: the film industry, internet start-ups of yesteryear, European public broadcasters, and the traditional print-based media are always on the brink of destruction, if they have not already foundered.
  • Article
    Ephemeral bodies and threshold creatures: The crisis of the adolescent rite of passage in Sofia Coppola’s THE VIRGIN SUICIDES and Gus Van Sant’s ELEPHANT
    Rogers, Anna Backman (2012)
    The abiding and predominant tendency of scholarly and critical approaches to American Independent Cinema is to characterise it as a cinema in crisis due to the highly contentious nature of the term ‘independent’. A plethora of recent studies such as those by Gregg Merritt, John Berra, and Michael Newman focus on the very definition, and by extension the possibility, of ‘independence’ in an increasingly commercially-driven business where economic factors often take precedence over the romantic notion of artistic vision and integrity (of which American cinema of the 1970s is often viewed as exemplary). Other scholars such as Geoff King and Jason Wood employ the nebulous term ‘indiewood’ in order to recognise the hybrid nature of independence within the American film industry today. This scholarship is valid and clearly has its place but I would argue that this focus on the notion of independence has resulted in a paucity of material on the aesthetics and poetics of American Independent Cinema. My intention, therefore, is to analyse two American independent films, both of which could readily fit within the ‘indiewood’ paradigm as a cinema of crisis rather than as one merely in crisis.1 I will argue specifically that a dominant trend in American independent film is the exploration of various rites of passage of which one of the most prominent is adolescence (or the ‘teen pic’ genre).
  • Review
    Lost in translation? On the diverging responses to the question concerning technology - The Impact of Technological Innovations on the Historiography and Theory of Cinema, La Cinémathèque québécoise, Montreal (1-6 November 2011)
    Lundemo, Trond (2012)
    Every academic conference should aim to be site-specific. By this I mean that it should take place at the intersection of different traditions and lines of thought relevant to the specific topic. Could there be a more appropriate place for a discussion of The Impact of Technological Innovations on the Historiography and Theory of Cinema than Francophone Montreal? A powerhouse of film studies with four important universities (Université de Montréal, Concordia, McGill, Université de Québec), it is a city where French thought concerning technology and cinema meets the Anglo-American tradition. In many ways it is a meeting between strangers and indeed, these two traditions of thinking rarely found common ground in the huge Montreal event. Rather, the differences between two historical discourses were continually highlighted. The concepts used in the discussions and their famous un-translatability, as in the key case of ‘dispositif ’ as well as the mode and the tools used for the presentations (‘our writing tools take part in our thinking’, Nietzsche observed about the typewriter), reflected an irreducible distance between the continents. The merit of the site-specificity of Montreal was exactly to showcase these abiding differences in the history of film theory.
  • Review
    Moving image and institution: Cinema and the museum in the 21st century, University of Cambridge (6-8 July 2011)
    Herrera, Beatriz Bartolomé (2012)
    Art institutions have shown a growing interest in the moving image throughout the last two decades. Both museums and institutional art spaces have witnessed an increase in the exhibition of film and other moving images. In these spaces we can see films displayed along with other art forms, such as painting and sculpture, or as part of screen art installations. The proliferation of projected moving images and screens re-configures common assumptions about what cinema is and opens up a new set of questions concerning museum exhibition, film curating, and the cinematic experience. Does the gallery space change the way in which we think about and experience cinema? What are the boundaries between artist film and video and the traditional film institution? Which theoretical or conceptual links and historical connections can we establish between cinema as medium and museum as space? These are just some of the questions that arise from the fruitful encounter between museum and cinema. Thus, in this scenario, a conference such as Moving Image and Institution: Cinema and the Museum in the 21st Century was indeed necessary.
  • Article
    Policing the people: Television studies and the problem of ‘quality’
    Dasgupta, Sudeep (2012)
    In TELEVISION STUDIES: A SHORT INTRODUCTION, Jonathan Gray and Amanda D. Lotz argue for ‘television studies as an approach to studying media’ rather than as ‘a field for the study of a singular medium’. The critique of ‘Quality TV’, I argue, furthers the disciplinary lure of medium singularity by recourse to essentialising notions of ‘the people’ and by extension ‘popular culture’. A simplistic equation between aesthetics, audiences, and programs produces an imaginary construction of both television and the people. Interrogating television studies and the policing of the people is crucial for developing a critical and historically-nuanced mode of approaching a shifting cross-medial landscape as well as the politics of culture in general. Given the Leavisite-inspired hostility to ‘mass culture’ and the accompanying discourse of elitism, sexism, and class disapproval, television studies and its recourse to the people was both necessary and critically important. However, the actual construction of the popular in television studies as a concept forecloses on the critical study of television, first of all through the risk of essentialising a static, simplified, and often patronisingly benevolent notion of popular culture; and second, by responding defensively rather than proactively to the historical shifts in programming, genre-hybridisation, and television production.
  • Article
    Portraying the global financial crisis: Myth, aesthetics, and the city
    Meissner, Miriam (2012)
    From 2007 until today an intricate set of events has been unsettling the global financial markets. The naming of these incidents has been multifold, varying between a general rhetoric of economic downturn (‘crash’, ‘crunch’, ‘meltdown’, ‘hangover’) and more descriptive terminologies indicating the reasons, geographic involvements, and historic time-span of the developments at hand such as: ‘US subprime mortgage crisis’, ‘European sovereign-debt crisis’, and ‘late 2000s financial crisis’. From the outset, the media played a key role in communicating and interpreting these market developments.
  • Article
    Sea-change: Transforming the ‘crisis’ in film theory
    Sinnerbrink, Robert (2012)
    For some years now the academic study of film, particularly in the English-speaking world, has been marked by a sense of crisis; a period of rumination, self-examination, and speculation over the nature of its object, its cultural relevance, and its disciplinary future. Although it is difficult to generalise across varying cultural and institutional contexts, the discipline of film studies, whatever forms it currently takes, is not alone in this regard. Many other humanities disciplines have been undergoing similar anxieties and insecurities, both in respect of their institutional status and their broader cultural relevance in a technological and economically rationalist age.
  • Article
    The gaps of cinema
    Rancière, Jacques (2012)
    I did receive a prize once. It was the first, after leaving the lycée a long time ago. But the country that awarded it to me for my book FILM FABLES also happened to be Italy. This conjunction seemed to me to reveal something about my relation with cinema. That country had been important for my education in the seventh art in more ways than one. There was Rossellini, of course, and that one night during the winter of 1964 when Europe ’51 had blown me away even though I still resisted this trajectory of the bourgeoisie towards sainthood by way of the working class.@eng
  • Article
    The photo-novel, a minor medium?
    Baetens, Jan (2012)
    An essential characteristic of our postmodern times is a broadminded critical nature which can renounce Grand Theories, the classical canon, the privileged opinion, and genre hierarchies (not just the distinction between high and low but also that between culture and commerce). This is just in theory, for in practice value judgments and the spirit of distinction have only been reshaped in new forms. Yet despite the (deceiving) impression that anything goes and that issues of taste no longer matter, many cultural practices continue to be burdened by prejudice and intolerance. Such is the case with novelisation, the ‘reverse adaptation’ that converts an original film or scenario into a novel.
  • Review
    Towards a new media archaeology? A report on some books and tendencies
    Löffler, Petra (2012)
    Over the last few years media archaeology has become an accepted method of research and has attracted an increasing number of scholars. Beginning in the 1980s with Friedrich Kittler’s groundbreaking books AUFSCHREIBESYSTEME (Discourse Networks) and GRAMMOPHON, FILM, TYPEWRITER, then continuing in the 1990s with Siegfried Zielinski who used the term ‘Medienarchäologie’ for the first time in its full methodological sense, one might say media archaeology is booming. Following Michel Foucault’s studies on the formations of knowledge, media archaeology tries to reveal the various epistemological conditions that point to the emergence of media and probes for breaks and non-continuities in their history. Not surprising then, the emergence of cinema is one of its preferred objects – German Medientheorie (media theory) as well as Anglo-Saxon new film history share an interest in the interchanging scientific and cultural discourses of the 19th century and the arising mass culture.
  • Article
    Twitter as a multilingual space: The articulation of the Tunisian revolution through #sidibouzid
    Poell, Thomas; Darmoni, Kaouthar (2012)
    Some journalists in the popular press have labelled the 2011 revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt as Twitter or Facebook revolutions. Similar claims were made concerning the 2009 election protests in Moldova and Iran. The millions of tweets with the hashtag #iranelection, #sidibouzid, or #egypt, as well as a number of extremely popular Facebook groups such as the Egyptian group ‘We are all Khalid Said’, led the press to believe that popular social media platforms played a decisive role in the protests and revolutions. However, critics were quick to dismiss such claims. They pointed out that a wide variety of factors besides social media played a part in bringing people to the streets including high population growth, the illegitimacy and ineffectiveness of the state, corruption, and torture.@eng
  • Article
    Universal, Germany, and ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT: A case study in crisis historiography
    Wedel, Michael (2012)
    In the years 1928 to 1932 the so-called coming of the sound film substantially changed the international film industry. As the new normative product, the sound film provoked necessary fundamental changes not only in the production and exhibition sectors – it also had a significant impact on distribution practices. With regard to transnational film distribution, the film industry’s new commodity threatened Hollywood’s hegemony on a world market that was about to diversify into countless distinct language barriers. As soon became clear, the hope (voiced by Louis B. Mayer in 1928) that the sound film would help to re-enforce English as cinema’s ‘universal language’ thanks to the worldwide popularity of Hollywood productions (and thus seamlessly continuing the internationalism of the silent picture) was based on a deceptive assessment of the impeding market situation, its economic determinants, and cultural dynamics. Instead, innovation and instability, creativity and crisis management were to govern the international film business for years to come.