Spaces of Imagination: Intermediality in Film Archives and Exhibition

Room G0.04, School of Fine Art, History of Art, Cultural Studies.

University of Leeds

10:30-18:00. Saturday 19th November 2016

 Symposium Programme

Spaces of Imagination addresses questions of intermediality and transitional media in the making and exhibition of photography, film and its archives. As a polemical statement – the death of cinema – called attention to the impact of digital media on the ways in which films are made and the cinematic archive studied. The perceived shift – from photographic images made and stored on a material base (celluloid nitrate and acetate film stocks) and susceptible to light, heat and touch – to their digital simulacra, initially incited debate around cinema and what might be lost.

A revitalised interest in the technologies, aesthetics and circulation of film has opened a space in which to reconsider different materials and forms of image-making in the exhibition of film and photography. Cultural theorist Thomas Elsaesser suggests that the relationship of digital and analogue media be refigured: not simply defined by a teleological film history of innovations, each technology read retrospectively as a response to the technical limit of its predecessors, but as part of a history of intermedial practices of making and exhibiting film or photograph in combination with other materials and texts. Intermediality, discussed by Joshua Yumibe and Sarah Street, can be tracked to the earliest days of cinema combining still and moving images with animation and elements of performance in the work of lecturers and accompanying texts. What might this practice, which can be tracked to the earliest days of cinema combining still and moving images with animation and elements of performance in the work of lecturers and accompanying texts, offer for the digital circulation and exhibition of archival analog film?

The symposium include papers from scholars, artists, archivists, conservators and curators on the spaces of imagination – in making, conserving and exhibiting photography and film – in combination with or through transfer to other media. Lines of enquiry include, but are not limited to:

Intermedial practices of making and exhibiting photography and film.

Mediation of landscapes the role of film and photography in geographical exploration: mapping and shaping understanding of a region, the use of expedition materials in public exhibition,

Conservation and exhibition of archival materials online: theories of digital/ analogue photography; the curiosity of access to single frames of film displaced from the context of performance and the cinematic illusion of movement; indexicality.

Archival lives of film and photography: theories and processes that query ideas of permanence and impermanence through transfer to a new medium.

Symposium Programme

10:30 Welcome

 10:35 -12:00 Session 1: Configuring Fields of Representation: Early 1900s Expeditions and Archives.

  • Roald Amundsen’s Colours: Film, Writing, and Perception. Dr Eirik Frisvold Hanssen, National Library of Norway.
  • Artificial Light, Photography, Temporality and Colour: of Silence, Film and Antarctic Exploration. Dr Liz Watkins, University of Leeds.
  • ‘Saint Noel of the Cameras’ – the cinematographer and entrepreneur Captain John Noel and The Epic of Everest. Jan Faull, Royal Holloway, University of London.

12:00 – 12:15 tea break

12:15 – 12:45 Touching Ice. Artist’s talk: Lucy Carty, Artist in Residence for the Scott Polar Research Institute.

12:45 – 13:30 lunch

13:30– 14:30 Screening: Fragments and Contexts                                                             Excerpts of a selection of films discussed in papers presented at the symposium.

Fram’s South Polar Expedition 1910-1912 (English lecture version). Excerpt: duration 12 mins. Roald Amundsen’s South Pole expedition film. Introduced by Eirik Frisvold Hanssen, Head of the Film and Broadcasting section in the Department of Research and Collections, National Library of Norway.

Tripoli (IT, 1912, Ambrosio/ Desmet Collection). Duration 5minutes. Tra le pinete di Rodi (IT, 1912, Savoia Film/ Desmet Collection). Duration 4 minutes.                                Selection of films from the EYE Filmmuseum’s curated programme ‘Views of the Ottoman Empire’. Introduced by Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi, Curator of Silent Film at EYE.

Manakamana (Dirs. Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez, 2013). Excerpt: duration 5 mins. Leviathan (Dirs. Véréna Paravel & Lucien Castaing-Taylor, 2012). Excerpt: duration 5 mins.                                                                                                                                        Films from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, rethinking non/fiction film.  Introduced by Andy Moore, World Cinemas, University of Leeds.

The Affairs of Anatol (De Mille, 1921). Excerpt: duration: 10 mins.                             Intermedial connections between film and fashion as a means of understanding the complexity of cultural fields, market competition and taste cultures during the 1920s. Introduced by Professor Sarah Street, University of Bristol.

14:30- 16:00 Session 2: Intermedial Histories and Questions of Visualisation.

  • Colours and Projection: The Materiality of Film in Restoration and Digitisation. Professor Ulrich Ruedel, HTW- University of Applied Sciences, Berlin.
  • In Search of the Lost Context: Views of the Ottoman Empire. Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi, Curator of Silent Film at EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam.
  • Fluid Forms: Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab & the Blurred Boundaries of Non-Fiction Film, Andy Moore, University of Leeds.

 16:00 – 16:15 tea break

16:15- 17:45 Session 3: Intermedial Archives and Exhibition.

  • Intermediality, Fashion and the Fiction Film: The Affairs of Anatol (De Mille, 1921), Professor Sarah Street, University of Bristol.
  • Time, Change, and Identity in Nam June Paik’s Zen for Film, Dr Hanna Holling, University College London.
  • Chantal Akerman and the Primal Scene of Cinema in a post cinematic age, Professor Griselda Pollock, University of Leeds.

17:45 – 18:00: discussion and close.

Spaces of Imagination Symposium, 10:30am-18:00 pm Saturday 19th November 2016. University of Leeds. All Welcome.

Registration: there is no fee to attend the symposium, but you will need to register. To register please contact: Dr Liz Watkins no later than Thursday 17th November 2016.

The Spaces of Imagination Symposium has been made possible by funding from the British Academy.


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