Keynote lecture at #Socine2017

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I was thrilled to be invited to give the opening keynote presentation at the 21st annual conference of the Sociedade Brasileira de Estudos de Cinema e Audiovisual – SOCINE, devoted to the discussion of “The State of Criticism.” My lecture (title, abstract and slides below) was one of the launch events at the magnificent Teatro Santa Rosa in the historic centre of the lovely Northeastern city of João Pessoa (in Paraíba state) on October 17, 2017. The event was brilliantly attended and received attention from the state press.

I can’t imagine that I will ever get to speak in a more beautiful or historic setting than this, or at a more significant time, politically and socially, for such an informed discussion of criticism. I am so grateful to the conference organisers (particularly Marcel Vieira Barreto Silva) and the relevant SOCINE committees (Diretoria, Conselho Deliberativo, Conselho Fiscal and Comitê Científico) for their kind invitation and marvellous hospitality. I enjoyed my time at the host institution, A Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB), and the other conference venues (including Bar Napoleon where the Conference Karaoke was held…) very much indeed. I met some really wonderful cinema and media studies people and heard some fabulous papers, including from my hugely distinguished fellow keynoter Professor Dr. Ismail Xavier.

Thank you Socine!


KEYNOTE ABSTRACT

“Critical practice on the move: audiovisual approaches to cinema and screen media studies”

In much of the last decade, Catherine Grant has been exploring the production and circulation of user-generated media forms, like blogs and online video, through personal and professional practice in the contexts of film research and scholarship, and digital cinephile culture.

In this illustrated talk Grant will argue that film and screen media criticism and scholarship have been greatly enriched by the use of readily available digital post-production and distribution tools, which facilitate audio-visual forms of film analysis and publishing, and favour creative/critical methods that turn on immersion and immanence. Indeed, to paraphrase Walter Benjamin, a champion of such methods, if all criticism is an experiment on the work of art, contemporary screen criticism is literalizing that experiment, and digitally generating new audio-visual frames for the kinds of perceptual possibilities also invoked, some twenty-five years ago, by Italian critic-scholar Umberto Eco: “The poetics of the ‘work in movement’…sets in motion…a new mechanics of aesthetic perception…It poses new practical problems by organizing new communicative situations. In short, it installs a new relationship between the contemplation and the utilization of a work of art.”

With reference, primarily, to her own videographic experimentation (with making, teaching and publishing) over the last decade, Grant will demonstrate how the “sensuous methodologies” of audio-visual essays often frame particularly persuasive kinds of phenomenological possibility for time-based media studies. As well as an exposure to audiovisual argumentation (involving selection of evidence, montage and mise en scene, titling, sound editing and other creative effects), they offer an active viewing process, one of live co-research, or participant observation. Unlike written texts, they don’t have to remove themselves from film-specific forms of meaning production to have their knowledge effects on us. And we can feel, as well as know about, the comparisons these videos enact, enabling us as scholars “to critique affect by means of affect,” as Richard Dyer has recently written.

Grant will show some of her most recent video-essay work which focuses on Latin American cinema studies subjects.

All videos shown in the keynote are collected online here.

Keynote presentation slides are here.

Thanks to Luís Mendonça and Arthur Tuoto for kindly allowing me to screen their videos as part of my presentation.

See a curated collection of video essays in Portuguese here.

Featured image credit: Yebá Ngoamãn

Video essays and roundtable at the 70th Locarno Festival

20664083_10211254059799747_5167115746637010626_nI was very honoured to be invited by Locarno Festival Critics Academy director and festival programmer Daniela Persico (one half of the marvellous Filmidée film criticism and film education duo) to screen some recent and new video works and participate in several roundtables and workshops at this year’s festival in southern Switzerland.

Five of my audiovisual essays (see below) were curated in the Interfaces, Bodies, Gazes programme by Persico, alongside a selection of videographic works by Kevin B. Lee and Oswald Iten. The screening programme followed the Film Criticism in Motion: Audiovisual Explorations on Film round table event on August 6th, 2017, which also featured my collaborator and [in]Transition co-editor colleague Chiara Grizzaffi, who presented the trailer for the fantastic Per una controstoria del cinema italiano project.

  • The Secret Thoughts of Laura Jesson (as Voiced by Celia Johnson) (2017), 5’ 53’’
  • Beast Fables 1: “Your mother can’t be with you any more” (2017), 2’ 57’’
  • Beast Fables 4: “You should have told me, Mother” (2017), 5’ 56’’
  • Beast Fables 5: “You’re so very cruel” (2017), 2’
  • Therese & Carol & Alec & Laura (A Brief Encounter) (2015), 1’ 19’’
Screenshot from BEAST FABLES 4
Screenshot from Beast Fables 4: “You should have told me, Mother” (Catherine Grant, 2017),

New post at Birkbeck!

I am thrilled to announce that, from September 1st, 2017,  I will take up the post of Professor of Digital Media and Screen Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. I will be based in the Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies in the School of Arts, housed at the wonderful 43 Gordon Square building. I am thrilled to continue my association with Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (including being a member of the programming group for the annual Essay Film Festival). And I look forward very much to making new connections with research institutes and centres there, including the Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology and the Centre for Technology and Publishing.

Perfidious Albion, an Essay Film Festival programme curated by Catherine Grant and Sarah Wood

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 17.03.12.png

What does it say about British identity that from as early as the 13th century foreign states have shared a single Anglophone slur to describe British double-dealings overseas? Perfidious Albion: the name for Britain when its government operates dishonourably, is treacherous, or betrays a promise.

The promise of British identity has been much discussed in the last twelve months. Two versions are in competition. Britain in the world, outward looking and open. Britain as an island nation, insular, self-interested, maybe closed. In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, as Britain floats off the coast of mainland Europe and dreams its future, this programme looks at how essay filmmakers have analysed the promise represented by modern Britain and estimated to what degree the country lives up to its perfidious reputation. Curated by Catherine Grant and Sarah Wood, it features two recent works by Wood, alongside works by Derek Jarman, Humphrey Jennings, Margaret Tait, Isaac Julien and the Sankofa Film and Video Collective, and Cordelia Swann.

For further info and booking details: http://www.essayfilmfestival.com/session-10-perfidious-albion-programme-curated-catherine-grant-sarah-wood/ 

My Year’s Work in Audiovisual Essays and Videographic Film Studies

Below is a list of the thirteen videos I have made and formally published in the last twelve months. There are a few unlisted ones that I made and haven’t yet published: these should see the light of online day in the next calendar year.

It’s actually been quite a slow year for me on the production front as I had a lot of teaching as well as editorial and curatorial work at [in]TransitionREFRAME, and elsewhere. In 2017 I hope to make more research-related videos, and also to work on some longer pieces, as I am fortunate to have a six-month long paid study leave (the second such period in my twenty-five years as an academic). #newyearsresolutions.

  • SPARKLE: A tiny video-remix comparison of some glimmering audio/visual moments from Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975), The Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola, 1999) and The Falling (Carol Morley, 2014). https://vimeo.com/157653540
  • THE PERSISTENCE OF VISION: A video tribute to the work of film scholar Elizabeth Cowie, featuring Morocco, Now, Voyager and Let There Be Light, as well as the voices and choices of Andrew Klevan, Christine Evans, Coral Houtman and Sarah Wood https://vimeo.com/169120246
  • MATCHES – featuring Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954) Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios / Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodóvar, 1988) https://vimeo.com/178181337

 

 

The Day The Clangers’ Moon Stood Still: RIP Oliver Postgate 1925-2008

Clangers : The Intruder (season 1, Episode 5)

Back from its wee break, Film Studies For Free was saddened to hear of the passing of one of the DIY geniuses responsible for its author’s early fascination with the world of filmmaking: Oliver Postgate, co-creator (with Peter Firmin) of numerous magical Small Films shown on television (Bagpuss, Clangers, Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog, Pogles, Pingwings), died peacefully in Broadstairs on the Kent coast on 8 December 2008.

Here are some Postgate weblinks: