Theory into Practice: The Audiovisual Essay

olomouc

From September 29 – October 6, 2018, I will be in Olomouc, Czech Republic for the intensive course “Theory into Practice,” focusing this year on “The Audiovisual Essay.” This is a bilateral program between the Goethe Universität in Frankfurt am Main and Pálacky University in Olomouc, which Bernd Herzogenrath has been conducting for a decade or so. I am excited to be working with him and the students from Germany and Czech Republic this year, and to explore new possibilities in moving-image media at the intersection of theory and practice (or, as the GIF above suggests, a mix of blah-blah-blah and breaking stuff…).

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Jason Mittell: “Videographic Deformations: How (and Why) to Break Your Favorite Films” — Oct. 10, 2018

 

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In conjunction with the exhibition Videographic Frankenstein (Sept. 26 – Oct. 26, 2018 in The Dr Sidney & Iris Miller Discussion Space, McMurtry Building, Stanford), television scholar and video essayist Jason Mittell (Middlebury College) will deliver a public lecture titled “Videographic Deformations: How (and Why) to Break Your Favorite Films.”

The lecture, which takes place at 5:30pm on October 10, 2018 in Oshman Hall (McMurtry Building), is in conversation with Frankenstein’s Television, Mittell’s contribution to the exhibition, and with a broader set of methodological concerns around the idea of “deformative” methods:

Deformative criticism has emerged as an innovative site of critical practice within media studies and digital humanities, revealing new insights into media texts by “breaking” them in controlled or chaotic ways. Media scholars are particularly well situated to such experimentation, as many of our objects of study exist in digital forms that lend themselves to wide-ranging manipulation. Building on Jason Mittell’s experiments with Singin’ in the Rain and his “Frankenstein’s Television” video (included in Stanford’s Videographic Frankenstein exhibit), this presentation discusses a range of deformations applied to film and television, considering what we can learn by breaking a media text in creative and unexpected ways.

Jason Mittell is Professor of Film & Media Culture and American Studies, and founder of the Digital Liberal Arts Initiative at Middlebury College. His books include Complex Television: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling (NYU Press, 2015), The Videographic Essay: Criticism in Sound and Image (with Christian Keathley; caboose books, 2016), and co-editor of How to Watch Television (with Ethan Thompson; NYU Press, 2013). He is project manager for [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film & Moving Image Studies, co-director of the NEH-supported workshop series Scholarship in Sound & Image, and a Fellow at the Peabody Media Center.

See here for more information.

Criticism in Moving Images: The Video Essay in Theory and Practice (Sydney)

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“Criticism in Moving Images: The Video Essay in Theory and Practice” is the first of three events I’ll be involved in during a trip next month to Australia. On September 5 at the Power Institute (University of Sydney), Conor Bateman and I will present and discuss videographic work in conversation with Susan Potter:

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See here for more info, and register here.

Virtual and Augmented Reality Digital (and/or Deformative?) Humanities Institute at Duke

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.

Carlos Valladares’s Video Essay “Minnelli Red” at Pesaro Film Festival

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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!

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The complete catalog (PDF) for the 54th Pesaro Film Festival is available here:

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Slowness and Slow Cinema

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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!