*CALL FOR PAPERS:*
*Spiral /Film and Philosophy/ Conference 2019**:*
*It’s Alive! *
*Film / Form / Life***
*May 17-18, 2019*
On the walls of the Chauvet cave in France, drawings of animals dating
back to 30,000 years are represented with additional sets of legs.
Recently, it was suggested that far from being naïve mistakes, these
additional limbs were meant to represent life forms in movement.
Thousands of years later, Étienne-Jules Marey’s chronophotography
attempted to capture animated life by decomposing its movement in
discrete images. In 2013, /National Geographic/ published a short video
of a sprinting cheetah recorded with a Phantom camera filming at 1200
frames per second. The engine for cinema’s genesis, it appears, is
closely intertwined with the challenge of giving form to animated life.
It is no coincidence that the recent mutations reshaping both how movies
are being made and experienced are taking place right at the moment when
a geological age radically transformed by human activities for thousands
of years is finally being granted its own name: the anthropocene. The
relentless recreation of the world has for long been the concern of
artistic expression, from animation in the paleolithic age, to attempts
by early cinema at decomposing life’s movement, to the most recent feats
by ground breaking digital technologies redefining the realm of vision.
Ongoing mutations in the ways in which we experience a world itself
perpetually changing demand that we constantly come up with new forms of
expression. From this perspective, life itself seems currently suspended
in the tension between what George Bataille once called the “formless”
and the desire (if not the need) to give a sensible and intelligible
form to our lives. Life forms, far from being fixed, increasingly appear
to be in flux, transitioning from one state to another, through genetic
cloning and digital simulation.
This year’s Spiral /Film and Philosophy/ conference wants to examine how
cinema has been and may very well still be teetering on the threshold of
that which is yet without a recognizable form — the unsayable, but also
the untamed: what exists beyond regimes of traditional representation —
and the reproduction of recognizable forms of life. As such, this call
for papers is open to but also extends beyond the mere cinematic capture
and representation of life. It welcomes contributions about filming
life, including but not limited to:
•recent breakthroughs in 3D cinematic rendering of previously invisible
•“cartoon physics”and animation (including puppetry, claymation,
•micro-cinematography experiments and time-lapsed representation of
•data visualization of population transformation and movement
•Muybridge’s and Marey’s motion studies to early scientific cinema;
•medical deployments of photography and the cinematic image;
•life, movement and death of cyberbody, digital organisms;
•life under neoliberal capitalism, accelerationist aesthetics;
•cinema and automatism (Bazin, Cavell, Surrealism, etc.);
•biological (science-)fictions (Painlevé, Cousteau, etc.);
•machine vision, drone vision, surveillance cinema;
•imaginary monsters, monstrous imaginaries;
•environmental disasters, the chthulucene;
•posthuman life and the anthropocene;
•sensory ethnography, haptic cinema;
•afrofuturist depictions of life;
•live cinema, interactive TV;
We invite participants to think forms of life as being more than the
mere subject of a cinematic regime of representation. What would it
entail, for example, to think of cinema itself as a form of life in
constant flux, resisting any definitive spectacular commodification?
More to the point, what would it mean to think of a kinetic animation of
form — or style, or /ethos /— as being radically inseparable from its
content? Could “cinema” be more than an objectified /mise-en-scène/, but
the designation for an ensemble of living practices and technics taking
place in a specific but ever-changing environment?
We also welcome papers that engage with the work of specific
philosophers and theorists who think about forms of life and philosophy
from a variety of perspectives and further relate them to questions of
cinema and media studies. We also welcome filmmakers, media
practitioners, and activists to present and discuss their work.
The confirmed Keynote Speaker is Deborah Levitt, Assistant Professor of
Culture & Media Studies at The New School, in New York City. She is the
author of /The Animatic Apparatus: Animation, Vitality, and the Futures
of the Image/ (Zero Books, 2018), and has published articles and
interviews in /Waking Life: Kino zwischen Technik und Leben/,
/Inflexions: A Journal of Research-Creation, The Scholar and Feminist
Online, Acting and Performance in Moving Image Culture: Bodies, Screens,
and Renderings/, /The Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory 2010/,
and /The Agamben Dictionary/, among others.
The conference will be held in Toronto, Canada May 17-18, 2019.
Please send a 300-word abstract, brief bibliography, and bio (with
institutional affiliation, if applicable) in one document as an email
attachment to [log in to unmask] by January 15, 2018.
Notifications about acceptance or rejection of proposal will be sent
*Conference Registration Fee:*
Conference Attendance: $100 (Canadian)
Graduate Students and Underemployed: $50 (Canadian)
Conference website: spiralfilmphilosophy.ca <http://spiralfilmphilosophy.ca>
Organized by the /Spiral Film and Philosophy Collective/ in
collaboration with the department of Cinema and Media Studies, York
[na] “Bio–Cinema Verité?” /Nature Methods/ 9, no. 12 (December 2012): 1127.
Campbell, Timothy C. /The Techne of Giving: Cinema and the Generous Form
of Life/. Fordham University, 2017.
Canales, Jimena. “Dead and Alive: Micro-Cinematography between Physics
and Biology.” /Configurations/ 23, no. 2 (September 17, 2015): 235–51.
Casarino, Cesare. “Three Theses on the Life-Image (Deleuze, Cinema,
Biopolitics).” In /Releasing the Image: From Literature to New Media/,
edited by Jacques Khalip and Robert Mitchell. Stanford University Press,
Coccia, Emanuele. /Sensible Life: A Micro-Ontology of the Image/. New
York: Fordham University Press, 2016.
Corliss, John O. “A Salute to Fifty-Four Great Microscopists of the
Past: A Pictorial Footnote to the History of Protozoology. Part I.”
/Transactions of the American Microscopical Society/ 97, no. 4 (1978):
Gaycken, Oliver. /Devices of Curiosity: Early Cinema and Popular
Science/. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.
Helmreich, Stefan. “What Was Life? Answers from Three Limit Biologies.”
/Critical Inquiry/ 37, no. 4 (2011): 671–96.
Helmreich, Stefan, and Sophia Roosth. “Life Forms: A Keyword Entry.”
/Representations/ 112, no. 1 (November 1, 2010): 27–53.
Lamarre, Thomas. /The Anime Ecology: A Genealogy of Television,
Animation, and Game Media/. University of Minnesota Press, 2018.
Landecker, Hannah. “Cellular Features: Microcinematography and Film
Theory.” /Critical Inquiry/ 31, no. 4 (June 1, 2005): 903–37.
Landecker, Hannah. “Seeing Things: From Microcinematography to Live Cell
Imaging.” Comments and Opinion. Nature Methods, October 1, 2009.
Lawrence, Michael, and Laura McMahon, eds. /Animal Life and the Moving
Image/. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
Lebovic, Nitzan. “The Biopolitical Film (A Nietzschean Paradigm).”
/Postmodern Culture/ 23, no. 1 (2012).
Levitt, Deborah. “Animating Biophilosophy: Animation and the Medium of
Life: Media Ethology, An-Ontology, Ethics.” /Inflexions/, no. 7 (n.d.):
Levitt, Deborah. /The Animatic Apparatus: Animation, Vitality, and the
Futures of the Image/. Zero Books, 2018.
Muhle, Maria. “Imitation of Life: Biopolitics and the Cinematographic
Image.” /Fillip/ 17 (2012).
Pick, Anat. “Animal Life in the Cinematic /Umwelt/.” In /Animal Life and
the Moving Image/, edited by Michael Lawrence and Laura McMahon.
Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
Pollmann, Inga. “Invisible Worlds, Visible: Uexküll’s Umwelt, Film, and
Film Theory.” /Critical Inquiry/ 39, no. 4 (June 1, 2013): 777–816.
Pollmann, Inga. /Cinematic Vitalism: Film Theory and the Question of
Life/. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018.
Schwartz, Louis-Georges. “Cinema and the Meaning of ‘Life.’” /Discourse/
28, no. 2 (2006): 7–27.
Stiegler, Bernard. “The Organology of Dreams and Arche-Cinema.”
Translated by Daniel Ross. /The Nordic Journal of Aesthetics/ 47 (2014):
Tarizzo, Davide. /Life A Modern Invention/. Translated by Mark William
Epstein. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017.
Thacker, Eugene. /Biomedia/. Minneapolis, Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota Press, 2004.
Zewail, Ahmed H. “Micrographia of the Twenty-First Century:
From Camera Obscura to 4D Microscopy.” /Philosophical Transactions.
Series A, Mathematical, Physical, and Engineering Sciences/ 368, no.
1914 (March 13, 2010): 1191–1204.
Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu