Tuesday, 29 March 2011

New World Picture 5: Varda, Solomon, Citron, Jacobs, Schneeman, Wisconsin Death Trip,

Image from Innocence and Despair (Phil Solomon, 2001). Experience Solomon's video at World Picture Journal 5: Sustainability
Film Studies For Free is a longstanding and ardent supporter of the online journal World Picture. Today, FSFF is thrilled to bring you news of the latest issue (no. 5) on Sustainability which has just gone online. There are plenty of wonderful film-related items, as usual, as well as some timely and important essays and interviews on sustainability from a number of other key perspectives for the Arts and Humanities.

Great work, WP!

Below, you can find the issue's  table of contents, and below that you can find the call for papers for the next World Picture conference, this time in Toronto, so do please scroll down for those.

  • Ian MacKaye in conversation with Brian Price Records
CALL FOR PAPERS: 2011 World Picture Conference 
October 21-22 University of Toronto 
Lorenz Engell, Bauhaus University, Weimar Elizabeth Povinelli, Columbia University

The annual World Picture Conference gathers scholars from a range of different disciplines to address the relation between critical theory, philosophy, and aesthetics. For this year’s meeting we welcome papers on questions of distance. Such considerations might include (but are in no sense limited to):  
  • Distance and mediation (technological and otherwise) 
  • Distance as abstraction (or alienation, estrangement) 
  • Travel Simultaneity
  • Spatial allegories of distance
  • Vision (as the prime sense organ of distance)
  • Modes of translation
  • Geopolitics (of distance)
  • Distance and/as interval (distance as time, not just space) 
  • Distance and unknowing/ignorance 
  • Critique of proximity/propinquity 
  • Ecology and distance (global footprints, carbon calculations, etc.) 
  • Scale Emotion Critical distance/objectivity

Please submit proposals (250 words, plus brief bio) by June 17 to: brian.price@utoronto.ca

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Federico Fellini Studies

Richard Dyer talks about his research project at the International Research Institute for Cultural Technologies and Media Philosophy (IKKM) Weimar. Period of fellowship: February 2009 – July 2009. Also see Richard Dyer's IKKM-Site.
“What is a movie, in the beginning? A suspicion, a hypothetic[al] story, a shadow of ideas, blurred feelings. And, still, [from that] first impalpable contact, it already seems to be itself, complete, vital, pure.” (Federico Fellini, Fazer um filme (“Making a Movie”). Rio de Janeiro: Editora Civilização Brasileira, 2000., 204 and 205, translated by Marcelo Moreira Santos and cited by him in 'Cinema and Pragmatism: a Reflection on the Signic Genesis in Cinematographic Art', Signs, Vol. 3, 2009: pp. 30-40)
“The movie tells its worlds, its stories, its characters, through images. Its expression is figurative, like [that] of dreams. (...) The movie tries to reproduce a world, an environment, in a vital manner. It tries to remain in this dimension, trying to recreate the emotion, the enchantment, the surprise.” (Fellini, cited in op. cit. 139 and 154)
Inspired by the video, above, of the sublime Richard Dyer talking about "The Wind in Fellini" in simply one of the best Film Studies lectures currently available on the internet, Film Studies For Free today brings you some choice links to openly accessible, and high quality, studies of and further viewing on the work of director Federico Fellini, and of his collaborators, like Nino Rota (the subject of a wonderful new book by Dyer).

Just so you know, FSFF is off on a trip shortly and will be back, joyously labouring away to track down such wondrous links as these below, in just over a week. See ye efter!

          Saturday, 19 March 2011

          Open Access Film Studies

          Not one but two big trumpets! Image from Black Narcissus (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1947)
          Film Studies For Free is a little embarrassed today. It is being called upon to blow its author's trumpet. It does hope that this won't happen too often, because it might have to protest...

          Luckily, the embarrassment is mitigated by the fact that, at the same time, it is blowing the trumpet of a very worthy event on a subject so close to FSFF's heart -- Open Access Film Studies -- as to be almost indistinguishable from it. 

          All of which is to say, please read the below announcement and, if you are in the very bonny vicinity of St. Andrews University next Wednesday, do consider coming along.

          Open Access Film Studies
          Wed 23rd March 2011 09:15 to 17:30
          Parliament Hall, St Andrews University

          Our fifth annual study day (organised by Chelsea Wessels) will be devoted to the subject of the free dissemination of film studies work and resources via the internet. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Catherine Grant, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Sussex, who runs the 'Film Studies for Free' website.
          This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in postgraduate study at the Centre for Film Studies, or simply in finding out more about what we do, to meet staff and current students.

          9:15 - 9:30 Welcome
          9:30 - 11:00 Dr. Catherine Grant: 'Fast-forwarding Film Studies in the Digital Age?  Back to an experimental, multimedia future'
          11:00 - 11:30 Tea and Coffee Break
          11:30 - 1:00 Panel 1
          Vera Ryzhik "That's What My Blog Says: Free Sharing in New Information Technology and The Post-Human Identity"
          Yun Mi Hwang "Online Access to the Korean Film Archive: Promotion of a National Cinema in the 21st Century"
          Dr David Martin-Jones "Film-Philosophy.com"
          1:00 - 2:00 Lunch
          2:00 - 3:45 Panel 2
          Matthew Holtmeier "Karagarga: Piracy, or Public Archive?"
          Fredrik Gustafsson "The web and the blog in a time of media turmoil"
          Dr Tom Rice: "Colonial Film: Creating an online archive"
          3:30 - 4:00 Tea and Coffee Break
          4:00 - 5:30 Video Essays, Screening and discussion

          For more information, contact Dr. Alex Marlow-Mann by email

          Friday, 18 March 2011

          Citizen Butler! Thank you for 20 great years of SCREEN-L!

          Image from Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941), one of the films studied in the 1982 PhD thesis "Toward a Theory of Cinematic Style: The Remake" by Jeremy Butler at Northwestern University.

          One of Film Studies For Free's heroes is Jeremy Butler, professor of television, film, and new media at the University of Alabama, and the founder of Screen-L (an e-mail discussion list for film/TV educators and students, founded in 1991), ScreenSite (a website to facilitate the teaching and research of film/TV/new media) and ScreenLex (a pronunciation guide for film/TV students of all ages).

          The former two ventures are some of the earliest Internet resources for film and TV studies teachers and students. Jeremy also served as the Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ first information technology officer and was a co-founder of that organisation's website. And he also created a very cool website on Television Style.

          Below is a message Jeremy sent out to members of the Screen-L list this week celebrating the remarkable 20 year anniversary of that email community. As well as setting out some essential issues for every scholar active in online publishing and research, he also thanks some people for Screen-L's success.

          FSFF would like to join some of Screen-L's other subscribers in turning that gratitude right back at you, Jeremy! Thank you for everything you've done as one of the genuine innovators of the Film and TV Studies disciplines. It's been truly invaluable!
          Twenty years ago, BEFORE THE WORLD WIDE WEB EXISTED, Screen-L was born. Its first  test message was launched out onto BITNET (the "Because It's Time" Network) on Friday, March 15, 1991, at 7:42 (and 11 seconds) pm, CST. It initially lived on UA1VM, the University of Alabama's #1 virtual machine--a mainframe computer... big iron!

          1991 was the paleolithic era for networked computing. The Internet was not yet the standard platform for email delivery. (Anyone remember the horror that was cc:Mail?) The Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) was principally used for services such as Gopher and file transferring via FTP). The World Wide Web had its public debut on August 6, 1991, but Web browsers that could handle images were still two years away.

          So, in 1991, Screen-L was kinda cutting edge. I can remember leading workshops at the Society for Cinema Studies (before it added "Media" to its name) on how academics might use this new-fangled electronic mail thing for scholarly purposes.

          One fun thing about Screen-L is that every message in its 20-year history is archived here:


          The archive provides an interesting history of the field of media studies. And this archive makes me wonder: 20 years from now, will be able to look back at Facebook's and Twitter's data with the same ease? The short answer is, obviously not. Both of those services make it quite onerous to archive their material. And wouldn't it be interesting to have a crystal ball and see if such services will even exist 20 years hence?

          A few thanks are in order:

          I must thank the University of Alabama for hosting Screen-L since day one and thus making our longevity possible.

          And thanks must also go to the hundreds of Screen-L subscribers over the years. As Screen-L's moderator, I've been grateful for the civility that (most) folks have shown.

          On we go for another 20 years (and more?)!


          Jeremy Butler
          Screen-L founder

          Monday, 14 March 2011

          On the Documentary Real - in Fiction and Documentary cinema and television

          Stella Bruzzi, 'Plenary Lecture: Approximation: Mad Men, the death of JFK and nearly history' [NOTE: Presentation begins a few minutes in after a brief 'Blooper' Reel, with some profanities...!] (Audio: Stella Bruzzi: lecture ; Video: Stella Bruzzi: questions; Audio: Stella Bruzzi: questions)

          A fairly self-explanatory post from Film Studies For Free today: a collection of brilliant videos, above and below, recorded at the Documentary Real symposium which took place at October 21st, 2010 at the 'Vooruit' in Ghent, Belgium.

          The main participants were Cis Bierinckx (curator, artistic director Beurshouwburg Brussels), Stella Bruzzi (film theory, University of Warwick), Edwin Carels (curator, art theory, KASK), Marc De Kesel (Philosophy, Radboud University Nijmegen, Artevelde Hogeschool Gent), Katerina Gregos (curator), Steven Jacobs (art history, KASK and Antwerp University), Vincent Meessen (artist), Jasper Rigole (artist), Avi Mograbi (Israeli filmmaker), and Duncan Speakman (artist).

          So, with no further ado, here's the symposium introduction, and below that are the remainder of the videos: 
          The symposium 'The Documentary Real invite[d] artists and theorists to interrogate the ambiguous relation between documentary film and reality. To what extent can a reel of film capture reality—if this is possible at all—and when can we say that it calls a new reality into being? Do not most films oscillate between ‘document’ and ‘argument’; that is, between representing, rewriting and creating reality? Moreover, what strategies do artists use to document our daily lives? Is the detour through alienation and animation perhaps the proper way to make an outright and truthful work? Do new developments in technological media provide new opportunities for documentary artists? Finally, how do these artistic experiments and their problems represent the culture we live in?

          Edwin Carels, 'Re-animating Animation' (Audio: Edwin Carels)

          Steven Jacobs, 'Framing Pictures' (Audio: Steven Jacobs)

          Vincent Meessen, 'CLINAMEN Cinema - the Documentary Swerve: A Performative Lecture' (NOTE: The performative lecture of Vincent Meessen included a screening of unique footage of a famous modernist architect protected by copyrights. For this reason the presentation cannot be made available online. Only the introduction and questions after the performance are shown). Audio: Vincent Meessen

          Duncan Speakman, 'Subtlemob' (Audio: Duncan Speakman)

          Marc De Kesel, 'Hotel Holocaust: On "Shoah Documentary Real"' (Audio: Marc De Kesel: lecture; Video: Marc De Kesel: questions; Audio: Marc De Kesel: questions

          Cis Bierinckx introduces two films '"Details 2 and 3" by Avi Mograbi' (Audio: Cis Bierinckx)

          Sunday, 13 March 2011

          Please help to develop JURN!

          An unusual post at Film Studies For Free today, for which this blog begs your indulgence. FSFF's author has just pledged a sum of money in support of the project set out below. It would like you to read the information given and consider whether you believe that this is a project you can afford to support with at least a very small donation.

          Obviously, it's not in support of disaster relief, a self-evidently essential cause for us all to find money for, especially at the moment. But it is for an important kind of solidarity, nonetheless, as you will see if you read the text below.

          If you are a regular reader of Film Studies For Free it's a form of solidarity from which, FSFF hopes, you are already benefitting in some small way: the JURN search engine is one of this blog's main hunting grounds for Open Access scholarly material.

          Anyway, here's the pledge link if you feel at all inspired by the up-to-now completely selfless (and continuing to be not-for-profit) work of JURN's creator.  It's a 'crowd-funding' project, so if the target amount isn't reached, pledged donations won't have to be paid. Thank you. 

          My name is David Haden. In February of this year I celebrated two years of hand-crafting the best search engine possible for finding free open-access academic content in the arts and humanities. That's right, it only finds the free content.  You may have used Google Scholar, only to find page-after-page of links that lead only to requests for payment or passwords.  My JURN search-engine is different.  Almost every link you see in JURN should lead you to free full-text scholarly content, most of it from peer-reviewed journals.

          Now I want to take JURN to the next stage.  I've already made a big start.  My JURN  search-engine has been intensively developed over the last two years.  I've put in thousands of hours of my own expert labour.  JURN is now a mature service that runs on the Google CSE platform, albeit one that's bursting at the seams to expand.

          JURN is very easy to use, and among others it helps those who do not have access to expensive commercial academic databases. People in the developing world often only have minimal access to academic journals outside of the fields of healthcare and agriculture, even if they study at a university.  People like Yusrina Abu Bakar in Malaysia, a mature-student and mother of four who is undertaking a university degree.  She wrote of JURN in 2010...

          "Wow, this is great... I can get articles in full - no more abstracts only, or the site asks us to subscribe.  Thank you."

          Now I want your help to expand JURN, to provide an easy-to-use full-text search service worthy of the world's hungry minds.

          I've already spent two years intensively building JURN, a comprehensive Google Custom search-engine for open scholarly journals in the arts and humanities.  I've tracked down and indexed over 4,000 scholarly and arts publications, a great many of which do not appear on any other index.  Now I want to break free of Google and run JURN on my own server and web harvester.  Thankfully the excellent mature search software SearchBlox became free in late 2010, and is perfect for the job.

          SearchBlox will let me go beyond the limits that Google places on its free Custom Search Engines.  It will let me expand coverage beyond Google's 5,000 URL indexing limit.  It will let me fully index all relevant web content, and fully index every article found (Google limits the results a Google CSE can access, compared to the main Google Search). It will let me add many new features and refinements to the search results.

          I now need a server that's capable of speedily running SearchBlox and making the substantial initial "document harvesting and indexing" run of about a million documents.  Sadly, that doesn't come cheap.  I also need to buy myself some hours each week so I can further develop and build this free non-profit service. JURN also needs to be regularly checked for link rot, which is aided by several semi-automated software packages - including some "dark side" SEO software that I've converted for more useful purposes.

          If this project is funded, after initial setup I would hope to be able to add indexing of open-access business journals, expand into education and social science journals, and add academic papers that are self-archived on faculty Web pages, as well as expanding the existing arts and humanities coverage.  I want to make JURN the world's outstanding search-engine for free academic content in the arts, humanities and social sciences.  I also want to properly expand beyond content that's in the English language.  With your help, I can do it.  Please make a donation.  The minimum amount is just £3.

          If you have any inquiries regarding this project, please contact me via Ulule or via the JURN blog.  If you just want to find out more about JURN, please take a look at the website at http://www.jurn.org/ and directory of English-language journals at http://www.jurn.org/directory/

          Saturday, 12 March 2011

          Video Vortex: Moving Images Beyond YouTube

          Film Studies For Free is thrilled to present a link to the second of two Video Vortex Readers (both freely available online): Moving beyond YouTube (large PDF), which has just been published to coincide with the Sixth Video Vortex conference now taking place in Amsterdam.

          The first VV Reader (Video Vortex: Responses to YouTube, eds. G. Lovink, S. Niederer (Amsterdam: Institute for Network Cultures, 2008) was previously flagged up by FSFF. And this blog also posted on the wonderful presentations (all available for online viewing) from the Fifth VV conference.

          With its own interest in web cinema and digital film and video studies, FSFF is a great admirer of the work associated with Video Vortex and the Institute of Network Cultures. It very much hopes its own author will be able to attend next year's conference to catch some of this great work in person.

          Here's the opening section of Geert Lovink's 'Introduction' (and below this, the Reader's table of contents), so that you can see the important issues raised and explored by this latest, excellent collection:
          This second Video Vortex Reader marks the transition of online video into the mainstream. Staggering statistics of hypergrowth no longer impress us. Discussing a possible online video project for the first time in late 2006 in Melbourne with Seth Keen, the topic was still a matter of ‘becoming’. One collaborative research project, six conferences and two anthologies later, the Video Vortex project seems at a crossroads. Massive usage is not an indication of relevance. Heavy use does not automatically translate into well-funded research or critical art practices. Is the study of online video, like most new media topics, doomed to remain a niche activity – or will we see a conceptual quantum leap, in line with the billions of clips watched daily? So far, there is no evidence of a dialectical turn from quantity into quality. It is remarkable how quickly both pundits and cultural elites became
          used to online video libraries containing millions of mini-films. In our ‘whatever’ culture nothing seems to surprise us. Who cares about the internet? Continuous technological revolution, from social networking to smartphones, seems to have numbed us down. B-S-B: Boredom-Surprise-Boredom. Instead of an explosion of the collective imaginary we witness digital disillusion – a possible reason why online theory has had a somewhat unspectacular start. The low quality of YouTube’s most popular videos certainly indicates that this platform is not a hotbed of innovative aesthetics.
                     What are the concerns here? Was will das Medium? Are we condemned to fight over the exact percentage of user-generated content in comparison to remediated film and television material? Will online video remain a jukebox item that is passed from one social network to the next? Have we all switched from zapping to searching? Should we approach the potential of YouTube culture from the plasma screen angle? Is the final destination to be found in the living room, where the online video logic starts to compete with cable and free-to-air television? Is online video liberating us from anything? Instead of trying merely to measure this ever-changing field, we can also try to define future scenarios. Let’s dig into the destiny of online video and discuss three possible directions [...].
            [Geert Lovink, 'Engage in Destiny Design: Online Video Beyond Hypergrowth: Introduction to Video Vortex Reader II', in Geert Lovink and Rachel Somers Miles (eds), Video Vortex Reader: Moving Images Beyond YouTube (Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2011) p. 9]

          • Geert Lovink, 'Engage in Destiny Design: Online Video Beyond Hypergrowth: Introduction to Video Vortex Reader II'
          • Stefan Heidenreich, 'Vision Possible: A Methodological Quest for Online Video'
          • Andreas Treske, 'Frames within Frames - Windows and Doors'
          • Robrecht Vanderbeeken, 'Web Video and the Screen as a Mediator and Generator of Reality'
          • Vito Campanelli, 'The DivX Experience'
          • Sarah Késenne, 'Regarding the Sex, Lies and Videotapes of Others: Memory, Counter-Memory, and Mystified Relations'
          • Gabriel Menotti, 'Objets Propagés: The Internet Video as an Audiovisual Format'
          • Andrew Gryf Paterson, 'From a Pull-down Screen, Fold-up Chairs, a Laptop and a Projector: The Development of Clip Kino Screenings, Workshops and Roles in Finland'
          • Jan Simons, 'Between iPhone and YouTube: Movies on the Move? '
          • Sandra Fauconnier, 'Video Art Distribution in the Era of Online Video'
          • Evelin Stermitz, 'ArtFem.TV: Feminist Artistic Infiltration of a Male Net Culture'
          • Mél Hogan, 'Crashing the Archive/Archiving the Crash: The Case of SAW Video’s Mediatheque'
          • Teague Schneiter, 'Ethical Presentation of Indigenous Media in the Age of Open Video: Cultivating Collaboration, Sovereignty and Sustainability'
          ASIA ONLINE
          • David Teh, 'The Video Agenda in Southeast Asia, or, ‘Digital, So Not Digital’'
          • Ferdiansyah Thajib, Nuraini Juliastuti, Andrew Lowenthal and Alexandra Crosby, 'A Chronicle of Video Activism and Online Distribution in Post-New Order Indonesia'
          • Larissa Hjorth, 'Still Mobile: Networked Mobile Media, Video Content and Users in Seoul'
          • Matthew Williamson, 'Degeneracy in Online Video Platforms'
          • Andrew Clay, 'Blocking, Tracking, and Monetizing: YouTube Copyright Control and the Downfall Parodies'
          • Tara Zepel, 'Cultural Analytics at Work: The 2008 U.S. Presidential Online Video Ads'
          • Rachel Somers Miles, 'Free, Open and Online: An Interview with Denis Roio aka Jaromil'
          • Alejandro Duque, 'Streaming Counter Currents: ‘W.A.S.T.E’'
          • Sam Gregory, 'Cameras Everywhere: Ubiquitous Video Documentation of Human Rights, New Forms of Video Advocacy, and Considerations of Safety, Security, Dignity and Consent'
          • Elizabeth Losh, 'Shooting for the Public: YouTube, Flickr, and the Mavi Marmara Shootings'
          • Brian Willems, 'Increasing the Visibility of Blindness: Natalie Bookchin’s Mass Ornament'
          • Natalie Bookchin and Blake Stimson, 'Out in public: Natalie Bookchin in Conversation with Blake Stimson'
          • Linda Wallace, 'non-western and garland'
          • Perry Bard, 'When Film and Database Collide'
          • Cecilia Guida, 'YouTube as a Subject: Interview with Constant Dullaart'
          • Rosa Menkman, 'Glitch Studies Manifesto'
          • Albert Figurt, 'The Thin Line Between On and Off: a (re:)cyclothymic exploration'
          • Video Vortex Conferences
          • Video Vortex III in Ankara
          • Video Vortex IV in Split
          • Video Vortex V in Brussels 
          • Video Vortex VI in Amsterdam

            Monday, 7 March 2011

            New Issue of Scope! Gollum/LOTR, Egyptian cinema, Fight Club, Snuff-Fiction

            As usual, Film Studies For Free is delighted to bring you news of the latest issue of Scope; an Online Journal of Film and TV Studies. The full table of contents is given below. 

            In addition to an excellent selection of main articles, there is an astonishing array of book and film reviews and conference reports, the latter sections in particular flagging up the enormous, but highly worthwhile, collective editorial effort that goes into producing a very good quality Open Access journal.

            Thank you, Scope!

            Scope, Issue 19, February 2011


            Book Reviews

            Film Reviews

            Conference Reports

            Friday, 4 March 2011

            FILM MOMENTS and other free book excerpts from Palgrave Macmillan and BFI

            Image from The Band Wagon ( Vincente Minnelli, 1953) starring Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire (above)

            Today, Film Studies For Free celebrates the bountiful, free, Film Studies book samples available for perusal and download at the Palgrave Macmillan website. These may not be the Open Access works this blog normally labours to ferret out and champion. But there have been some astonishingly generous excerpts available online at Palgrave lately, perhaps most notably 72 pages from one of the most exciting of recent film publishing efforts, edited by and with stunning contributions from some brilliant former students, colleagues and friends of FSFF's author: James Walters and Tom Brown's remarkable collection Film Moments: Criticism, History, Theory.

            Full contents of the free sample pages are given below, together with numerous other references and links to Palgrave PDFs below those.

            If you are in London tomorrow you may like to know that there will be a Film Moments launch event, with some fascinating-looking talks by a number of the contributors to the collection at 2pm at the BFI Southbank (full details here).
            • James Walters and Tom Brown (eds), Film Moments: Criticism, History, Theory (2010) (72 free pages including the chapters below)
              • Preface
              • PART ONE: CRITICISM 
              • Shadow Play and Dripping Teat: The Night of the Hunter (1955); Tom Gunning 
              • Between Melodrama and Realism: Under the Skin of the City (2001); Laura Mulvey
              • Internalising the Musical: The Band Wagon (1953); Andrew Klevan 
              • The Visitor's Discarded Clothes in Theorem (1968); Stella Bruzzi
              • Style and Sincerity in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004); James Walters
              • The Moves: Blood (1989); Adrian Martin
              • The Properties of Images: Lust for Life (1956); Steve Neale
              • Two Views Over Water: Action and Absorption in Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries (1957); Ed Gallafent
              • Making an Entrance: Bette Davis's First Appearance in Jezebel (1938); Martin Shingler 
              • A Narrative Parenthesis in Life is Beautiful (1997); Deborah Thomas 
              • The End of Summer: Conte d'été (1996); Jacob Leigh
              • Enter Lisa: Rear Window (1954); Douglas Pye
              • Opening Up The Secret Garden (1993); Susan Smith
              • A Magnified Meeting in Written on the Wind (1956); Steven Peacock
              • 'Everything is connected, and everything matters': Relationships in I [heart] Huckabees (2004); John Gibbs 
              • The Ending of 8 ½ (1963); Richard Dyer 
              • Full book info.