The Fall 2009 issue of the Velvet Light Trap is currently seeking submissions. The call for papers and information about the journal can be found below.
Please distribute widely.
Call for Papers: Velvet Light Trap, Issue #64, Fall 2009—Failures, Flops, and False Starts
Histories of the moving image tend to highlight financial, critical, and popular successes: films that generated monumental revenues at the box office, television series that were acclaimed by critics and adored by audiences, technologies that revolutionized the ways in which we exhibit and consume narratives and images, etc. Yet, new media, failed or abandoned projects, hardware, institutions, businesses, or content can serve as constructive ways in which to examine oppositional discourses, alternative conceptions, failed visions and botched efforts, as they pertain to the construction, distribution, exhibition, and consumption of the moving image. By examining failures we can get a better sense of the true impact of successful projects and programs, as well as an improved understanding of marginalized or contradictory modes of production, discourse, and reception.
We welcome an inclusive definition of failures, flops, and false starts capable of illustrating not only what was and didn’t work, but also what could have been. Projects that lacked funding, artistic movements or business strategies that went nowhere, and programs that never reached fruition can sometimes be more revealing than a finished product and a job well done. The category of brilliant but cancelled—or, conversely, terrible but produced nonetheless—envelopes an untold number of media products and visions, revealing insights to industrial processes of production and promotion, and cultural practices of organized protest, advocacy and activism. The losers of a format, hardware, and programming war (such as HD DVD or Beta) punctuate the economic risks of attempting technological innovation.
For every success, there are innumerable failures. The Velvet Light Trap invites submissions for a special issue on Failures, Flops, and False Starts that helps us to better understand the ways in which unsuccessful film, television, and new media projects, technologies, and strategies can improve our understanding of the haphazard, opposing, and unlikely ways in which media forms, criticism, industries, and practices have developed.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
Failed formats and exhibition spaces
Technological failures (e.g. exhibition upgrades, delivery systems, and media formats)
Critical and commercial flops
Failures of taste
Failed media theories or disciplines
Breakdowns in the production, distribution, or exhibition processes
Short-lived experiments and painful transitions
Losers in format wars
Ill-fated attempts to pursue new audiences/demographics
Miscommunications, misunderstandings, and mistranslations
Unproduced, unreleased, or unrealized properties and projects
Startups that didn’t and new studios that weren’t
Brilliant but cancelled (e.g., killed franchises, series and networks)
Aborted manifestos, unproductive movements, and unrealized revolutions
Papers should be between 6,000 and 7,500 words (approximately 20-25 pages double-spaced), in MLA style with a cover page including the writer's name and contact information. Please send four copies of the paper (including a one-page abstract with each copy) in a format suitable to be sent to a reader anonymously. All submissions will be refereed by the journal's Editorial Advisory Board. For more information or questions, contact Germaine Halegoua ([log in to unmask]), Heather Heckman ([log in to unmask]), Josh David Jackson ([log in to unmask]), or Mark Minett ([log in to unmask]). Submissions are due September 15, 2008, and should be emailed to the above addresses, or sent to:
The Velvet Light Trap
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Department of Communication Arts
821 University Avenue
Madison, WI USA 53706-1497
The Velvet Light Trap is an academic, peer-reviewed journal of film and television studies. Issues are coordinated alternately by graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Texas-Austin. The Editorial Board includes such notable scholars as Peter Bloom, David Desser, David Foster, Sean Griffin, Bambi Haggins, Charlie Keil, Michele Malach, Dan Marcus, Nina Martin, Joe McElhaney, Tara McPherson, Jason Mittell, James Morrison, Steve Neale, Karla Oeler, Aswin Punathambekar, Malcolm Turvey, and Michael Williams.
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