I am excited to be participating in the the NEH-funded Virtual and Augmented Reality Digital Humanities Institute — or V/AR-DHI — next month (July 23 – August 3, 2018) at Duke University. I am hoping to adapt “deformative” methods (as described by Mark Sample following a provocation from Lisa Samuels and Jerome McGann) as a means of transformatively interrogating audiovisual media such as film and digital video in the spaces opened up by virtual and augmented reality technologies. In preparation, I have been experimenting with photogrammetric methods to reconstruct the three-dimensional spaces depicted on two-dimensional screens. The results, so far, have been … modest — nothing yet in comparison to artist Claire Hentschker’s excellent Shining360 (2016) or Gregory Chatonsky’s The Kiss (2015). There is something interesting, though, about the dispersal of the character Neo’s body into an amorphous blob and the disappearance of bullet time’s eponymous bullet in this scene from The Matrix, and there’s something incredibly eerie about the hidden image behind the image in this famous scene from Frankenstein, where the monster’s face is first revealed and his head made virtually to protrude from the screen through a series of jump cuts. Certainly, these tests stand in an intriguing (if uncertain) deformative relation to these iconic moments. In any case, I look forward to seeing where (if anywhere) this leads, and to experimenting further at the Institute next month.
Congratulations to Carlos Valladares, who not only graduated with honors from the Stanford Film & Media Studies program this past weekend, but whose video essay “Minnelli Red” was accepted at the Pesaro Film Festival taking place right now in Pesaro, Italy!
Valladares’s video essay, a revised version of his final project for the seminar I taught on “The Video Essay: Writing with Video about Film and Media” last fall, is one of five entries selected by curators Chiara Grizzaffi and Andrea Minuz in the festival’s “(Re)Edit Competition” and is now in the running for a juried award. Good luck, Carlos!
The complete catalog (PDF) for the 54th Pesaro Film Festival is available here:
My student Spencer Slovic has just published an excellent video essay on “Slowness and Slow Cinema” at Film Matters, which will be of interest to people thinking about contemporary and world cinema, or simply interested in the medium of the video essay (and this is a very good one!).
Spencer’s video grew out of an assignment for my “Post-Cinema” seminar, which I taught in the winter quarter of 2017. An earlier version was featured in the exhibition I curated at Stanford, Post-Cinema: Videographic Explorations (you can still see all of the videos online).
In any case, the version featured in Film Matters is much improved, having gone through a rigorous peer-review process. Take a look!
The 2018 International Health Humanities Consortium Conference will be held at Stanford University from April 20-22, 2018. The keynote speakers are:
Professor, Art and Art History at Stanford University
Professor, Media and Society at Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature and Medicine at Stanford University
Associate Professor, Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University
In addition, there will be a number of great events around campus. You can find more information here.
I will be participating in the conference in two ways:
First, on Friday, April 20 (2:30-3:30pm in McMurtry 115) I will be presenting a screening session of videographic works related to “Frankenstein & Film.” I will be showing a few of my own pieces (which you can see here and here), as well as works by video essayists like Allison de Fren, alongside commercial “making of” videos, art film reimaginations, and other moving-image forms that treat the history of Frankenstein films from Thomas Edison’s 1910 production up to the present day.
Second, on Sunday, April 22 (11:15am), I will be presenting a paper titled “Frankenstein and Bioethics Beyond Chance and Choice.” The paper draws upon and rethinks ideas that I put forward in one of my very first publications: “Frankenstein, Bioethics, and Technological Irreversibility.” That paper, published in 2007, can be found here.
Essays in Sight and Sound — an exhibition of video essays that I am co-curating with Spencer Slovic at Stanford — opens today. The wall text (above) outlines the aims and objectives of the show. Here is a list of the 13 works included:
Explorations of Narrative
On-Again, Off-Again Relationships: A Recurring Theme, 2017
TALLADEGA NIGHTS: A Reinvention of the Tragic Hero, 2017
Crafting a Cinematic Universe, 2017
THE LAST OF US: What’s in a Moment?, 2017
Focus on Color
Minelli Red, 2017
Character Design in Pixar, 2017
Sound, Form, Aesthetics
Sight and Sound Conspire: Monstrous Audio-Vision in James Whale’s FRANKENSTEIN, 2015
The Arc Shot, 2017
LOCK UP: Tonal Dissonance and Homoeroticism, 2017
Culture, Context, Contour
You Eat with Your Eyes First: Comparing the Eastern and Western “Foodie” Movie Genres, 2017
Healing Waters, 2017
Flexing Culture, 2017
The Animal in the Lake: Ambient Sound in CEMETERY OF SPLENDOR, 2018
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.
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).