Essays in Sight and Sound: An Exhibition of Video Essays

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Essays in Sight and Sound: An Exhibition of Video Essays brings together a number of works produced in the Fall 2017 course “The Video Essay: Writing with Video about Film and Media.”

The assembled videos deal with cinema, television, video games, and online media, which they approach from a variety of angles. Together, these works not only probe our changing media landscape but explore the critical affordances of the video essay as a means of writing with sight and sound.

The exhibition will be on view January 12 – 26, 2018 in the Gunn Foyer of the McMurtry Building, home of the Department of Art & Art History, on the Stanford University campus.

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WTF IS THAT? Allison de Fren at Digital Aesthetics Workshop

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On Tuesday, November 14, 2017, media maker/scholar Allison de Fren will be discussing post-cinema and videographic criticism with the Digital Aesthetics Workshop at the Stanford Humanities Center, focusing on her video essay “WTF IS THAT? The Pre- and Post-Cinematic Tendencies of Paranormal Activity” and Steven Shaviro’s article “The Glitch Dimension: Paranormal Activity and the Technologies of Vision.”

This event follows a screening of de Fren’s documentary and videographic work on fembots the night before (more details here).

Fembots: From Representation to Reality

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On Monday, November 13, 2017 (5:30pm in Oshman Hall, McMurtry Building), media maker/scholar Allison de Fren (Occidental College) will be on hand for a screening of her 2010 documentary The Mechanical Bride and her 2015 video essay Fembot in a Red Dress. The screening, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a Q&A.

Sponsored by the Stanford Department of Art & Art History, the Documentary Film Program, and Stanford’s Frankenstein@200 Initiative.

The Meaning of “Animation” in Edison’s Frankenstein (1910)

This video is an experimental “annotation essay” that develops a reading of Edison’s Frankenstein (1910) through on-screen text annotations. This is the complete film, unedited except for the annotations and new digital intertitles.

The video’s argument is adapted from Chapter 3 of my book Postnaturalism: Frankenstein, Film, and the Anthropotechnical Interface: “Monsters in Transit: Edison’s Frankenstein.”

This is my second Frankenstein-themed video essay. The first one, on sound in James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931), can be found in the online journal [in]Transition.

The Video Essay: Writing with Video About Film and Media

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This fall, I am excited to teach a new course, “The Video Essay: Writing with Video About Film and Media,” as a part of Stanford’s Introductory Seminars program. Geared towards sophomores from any major, this small class will combine practical instruction in video editing, analysis and discussion of exemplary video essays, hands-on lab sessions, and group critique of student work.

The course draws essential inspiration from the NEH-funded “Scholarship in Sound & Image” workshop, organized by Christian Keathley and Jason Mittell at Middlebury College, which I participated in back in 2015.

More info about the course can be found on Stanford’s Introductory Seminars website.

Post-Cinema: Videographic Explorations (select video essays now online)

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A selection of video essays from the exhibition Post-Cinema: Videographic Explorations, which ran May 1-12, 2017 at Stanford University, is now available for viewing online.

The video essays, by leading filmmaker-scholars Kevin B. Lee and Allison de Fren as well as students in my “Post-Cinema” seminar (winter 2017), deal with a variety of contemporary media forms and phenomena – including digital animation, Beyoncé’s Lemonade and the visual album, contemporary horror, slow cinema, post-cinematic television and transmedia franchises, among others.

You can find the video essays on my website, under “Videographic Scholarship” on the catch-all “STUFF®” page (where you’ll also find a variety of digital and creative projects). Or go straight to the exhibition page.