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!
“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.
Featured image credit: Yebá Ngoamãn