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.
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/
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]Transition, REFRAME, 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.
- DISSOLVES OF PASSION: This video on Brief Encounter formed an integral part of Catherine Grant’s contribution to The Videographic Essay: Criticism in Sound and Image, a collection of work edited by Christian Keathley and Jason Mittell (Caboose Books, 2016; http://caboosebooks.net/the-videographic-essay and http://caboosebooks.net/node/150)
- INTERPLAY: A tribute to the work (on psychoanalytic object relations and the cinema) of film scholar Annette Kuhn, featuring excerpts from Mandy (1952), My Ain Folk (Bill Douglas, 1973), Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay, 1999), Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terence Davies, 1988) and Where Is the Friend’s Home? (Abbas Kiarostami, 1987) This video was published, with a short accompanying text, here: ‘INTERPLAY: (Re)Finding and (Re)Framing Cinematic Experience, Film Space, and the Child’s World’, LOLA, 6, 2015. Online at: http://lolajournal.com/6/interplay.html
- UN/CONTAINED: On Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank: Published as part of ‘Beyond tautology? Audiovisual Film Criticism’, Film Criticism, Vol. 40, No.1, 2016. Online at: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.13761232.0040.113
- THERESE and CAROL and ALEC & LAURA (A Brief Encounter): Todd Haynes’ Carol meets Brief Encounter https://vimeo.com/149791810
- LOS OLVIDADOS / LAZARUS: Buñuel meets Bowie. Made on the awful day we heard of David Bowie’s untimely death: https://vimeo.com/151541761
- 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
- SIDE-BY-SIDE | UP-AND-DOWN: Comparative Videographic Approaches to Transnational Cinema Studies: On split screen techniques of audiovisual comparison as a sensuous film critical methodology in transnational cinema studies. http://filmanalytical.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/side-by-side-up-and-down-comparative.html
- THE ARCADES VARIATIONS A collaborative video experiment using film images from De Stad In Spiegelbeeld Amsterdam, J.P. Smits Filmdistribution, 1925 (From BITS and PIECES Collection – BP300 EYE Film Instituut Nederland) by Catherine Grant and Stanislaw Liguziński https://vimeo.com/168220320. See project documentation here: https://vimeo.com/filmarcades.
- 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
- DÉCORUMS A video on Renoir’s Le Règle du Jeu/Rules of the Game. Made as a tribute to the work and life of film scholar V.F. Perkins https://vimeo.com/175573896
- 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
What if the creative production of audiovisual material centrally constitutes the research into audiovisuality?
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:
Cartoon Brew weblog post ‘Pingwings Rediscovered’ link added 11.12.08
- …And God Created Woman
- America, America
- And the Ship Sails On (feat. Michael Joshua Rowin)
- Aranyer Din Ratri / Days and Nights in the Forest (1970, Satyajit Ray) – featuring Preston Miller
- Born on the Fourth of July (feat. Matt Zoller Seitz)
- Burnt by the Sun (feat. Andy Horbal)
- El Cid (1961, Anthony Mann) with Mike D’Angelo
- Evil Dead II
- Grey Gardens (1975, Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer) with commentary by Vadim Rizov
- Hour of the Star/A Hora da Estrela
- Il Posto (feat. Keith Uhlich)
- La femme infidele feat. Dan Sallitt
- La Haine
- Le boucher feat. Dan Sallitt
- Louisiana Story
- Nicht versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt wo Gewalt herrscht / Not Reconciled or Only Violence Helps Where it Rules (1965, Jean-Marie Straub) featuring commentary by Richard Brody
- Nixon (feat. Matt Zoller Seitz)
- Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
- Peter Ibbetson
- Sugar Cane Alley
- The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982, Peter Greenaway) with Karina Longworth
- The Heiress (feat. Cindi Rowell)
- The Saragossa Manuscript
- The Sun Shines Bright (1956, John Ford) featuring Jonathan Rosenbaum
- The Vanishing
- “The Wire and the Art of the Credits Sequence” video essays on the Moving Image Source (Watch Part One; Watch Part Two – feat. Matt Zoller Seitz and Andrew Dignan)
- They Died with Their Boots On (feat. Matt Zoller Seitz)
- Tobacco Road
- Un coeur en hiver / A Heart in Winter (1991, Claude Sautet) with Mike D’Angelo
- Unfaithfully Yours
- U samogo sinyego morya / By the Bluest of Seas (1936, Boris Barnet) featuring commentary by Nicole Brenez
- While the City Sleeps
- Woman in the Window (feat. Girish Shambu)
After a recent flurry of literally feverish activity, Film Studies For Free is going to take a richly-deserved, two-week break so that its cold-ridden author can become fully healthy once more, and go off to deliver a talk on her own work (which is not totally unconnected to the focus of today’s blog post, as it happens). In the meantime, FSFF leaves you with a little video essay by Lee and Dan Sallitt on another of this blog’s favourite filmmakers (alongside Buñuel), Claude Chabrol. Adieu, pour le moment…
Open Access publishing is not all that scary
Tireless proponent and exponent of radical Open Access Professor Gary Hall gave his lecture — ‘Pirate Philosophy’ — as part of the Research in Progress Seminar Series at the School of Media and Film at the University of Sussex, a talk he had also delivered at his own institution, Coventry University. The Sussex event was chaired by Caroline Bassett, whose own writing on digital media is well worth checking out: click HERE for an online Open Access article by her on Web 2.0 and read about her new book, The Arc and the Machine: Narrative and New Media (complete with its discussion of Gus Van Sant’s film Elephant) HERE.
This Lecture presented a series of performative media projects or ‘media gifts’. Operating at the intersection of art, media and philosophy, these projects – which include an open access archive and a ‘liquid book’ – are gifts in that they are part of the ‘academic gift economy’ which circulates research for free rather than as market commodities. They are performative in that they are instances of media that produce the things of which they speak and are engaged primarily through their performance.
The media gift that this Lecture focussed on was ‘Pirate Philosophy’. This project investigated some of the implications of internet pirate philosophy for the arts and humanities, particularly the latter’s ideas of authorship, the book, the academic journal, scholarly publishing, intellectual property, copyright law, content creation and cultural production. ‘Pirate Philosophy’ explores such ideas both philosophically and legally through the creation of an actual ‘pirate’ text.
Hall’s lecture richly explored all sorts of different models for Open Access as well as, very engagingly, the current relevance to these matters of the work of a variety of cultural theorists (most prominently Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Zygmunt Bauman, and the gift-economics of Marcel Mauss — ‘gifts are never free’, but instead often give rise to reciprocal exchange).
The question session at the end of the seminar showed that many of those attending were, in part, inspired by Hall’s call to piracy/self-piracy, but were residually anxious in the ways that academics employed (or working towards being employed) by the current system so often are about the challenges to conventional systems of academic, and other, authorship that Web 2.0 has raised, and that Web 3.0 will take even further. Hall’s tactical refusal to assuage those anxieties was well met by this attendee, though. A little pirate heartiness will indeed be necessary if the lockdown culture of Western Academia is truly to change. (But that’s easy for this blogger to say…)
All these debates are closely connected to ones about the spreadability of digital moving image materials as well as text-based ones. Interested FSFF readers should also check out Gary Hall’s website together with Culture Machine, the online journal he co-founded and edits, which will have an upcoming issue on Pirate Philosophy. You should also visit and support CSeARCH, the pioneering Humanities online-archive he co-founded in 1999. Hall’s latest book Digitize This Book! The Politics of New Media, or Why We Need Open Access Now is a highly compelling read, but you can get some sense of his detailed arguments from the following online conference proceedings piece: ‘The Politics and Ethics of Electronic Archiving’; and from the following interview: ‘OA in the Humanities Badlands’.
If you’ve got as far as this point in this post, ye verily deserve today’s final, ‘piratical’ gift: a video of Hall’s lecture as given at Coventry University on September 29, 2008: