What I Learned at the SCMS 2014: Conference Report Part I

This pas week, I attended the Society of Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) 2014 conference in Seattle. Compared to the Film Studies Association of Canada (FSAC) Annual Conference, the SCMS conference is longer and larger: it runs from Wednesday until Sunday and has up to 26 co-current panels. I have no idea how people still have some energy left after all the sessions each day (and to go out for a drink or attend events), but the SCMS conference is a great place to explore expanding fields of cinema and media studies. Here are some panel presentations that I found intriguing.

“Experimental Cinema Enters the Worlds of Gaming: Considering Phil Solomon’s Recent Works” by Hava Aldouby

Still Raining, Still Dreaming (Phil Solomon. 2008)

She underscores Solomon’s phenomenological performance in the process of making his works like Still Raining, Still Dreaming (2008) and Empire (2008-2012). I found these works by Solomon particularly interesting as they can potentially indicate a gap between watching the moving image and playing a game.

“An Architecture of Phantasms: Screen, Space, Play” by Swagato Chakravorty
“Space and Spectatorship in Immersive-participatory Cinema” by Ian Robinson

Secret Cinema: Blade Runner (2010)

Charkravorty discussed the embodied experience of phantasmagoria in relation to spatiality and screen while Robinson explored the interactive and participatory experience of Secret Cinema (2007-). While phantasmagoria and Secret Cinema are not exactly the same, they both can encourage us to examine the relationship between the spatiality and the mobility of viewers/participants and the screen. Especially within the domain of cinema and media studies, expanded cinema and intermedia would be useful to consider this thread of inquiry.

“Goodbye Cinema, Hello Moving Images!; or, Is Planet ‘Cinema’ Spinning out of Control?” by Andre Gaudreault

Although I do not agree with his overall discussion, I praise his attempt to re-construct the genealogy of the moving image. He explored the use of the term, the moving image, in French and English, and his translingual approach could potentially disclose the most common factor of the moving image that exists across different cultures. Gaudreault used “Videocinema” as the term for the third birth of film in 1955, but it neglects the institutional development of cinema or video.  Or it is rather heavily laden with the connotations of both video and cinema, and it does not allow us to engage in a full exploration of the complexity or commonality of the moving image.

To be continued to Part II…


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