Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Penn Colloquium: Adam Lowenstein

Adam Lowenstein 
Surrealism, Spectatorship, and Joseph Cornell’s Rose Hobart 

Penn Cinema Studies Colloquium 
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

330 Fisher-Bennett Hall
University of Pennsylvania

The explosion of scholarship in recent years devoted to Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) has elevated this once marginal artist and avant-garde filmmaker to the center of modern art history. But something curious has happened along the way. Cornell’s ties to surrealism, the very movement that provided him with crucial inspiration and the first meaningful critical context for his art, have been minimized or erased. I will argue that Cornell’s most famous film, Rose Hobart (1936), presents vital opportunities for rethinking how spectatorship functions in surrealist cinema. Where Un Chien andalou (1929) never relinquishes the aura of violence around its relation to the spectator, Rose Hobart is equally but oppositely committed to nurturing the spectator’s vision, to engineering a gradual integration of the spectator’s gaze with that of the star and the filmmaker that relies on slow repetition rather than shocking suddenness. This makes Cornell central, not peripheral, to the ambitions and accomplishments of surrealist cinema’s experiments in spectatorship.

Adam Lowenstein is Associate Professor of English and Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also directs the Film Studies Program. He is the author of Shocking Representation: Historical Trauma, National Cinema, and the Modern Horror Film (Columbia University Press, 2005) as well as essays that have appeared in Cinema Journal, Representations, Critical Quarterly, boundary 2, Post Script, and numerous anthologies. He is currently completing a book concerning cinematic spectatorship, surrealism, and the age of digital media.

Hito Steyerl on Adorno

Adorno's Grey and other refusals 
Hito Steyerl 
in conversation with Nora M. Alter

Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Slought Foundation
Free, reservation not required

Slought Foundation is pleased to announce a public conversation with filmmaker and writer Hito Steyerl, in dialogue with film scholar Nora Alter, on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 from 6:30-8:00pm. The conversation will be preceded by a special screening of Hito Steyerl's Adorno's Grey (approx. 14 min). The program is presented in conjunction with Temple University's Department of Film and Media Arts (FMA).

"In her works, Hito reflects upon the role of traveling images, those images, that crowd the realms of suburbs and the lowlands of the web. Images that change their meaning, outlook, framing, caption and often also their protagonists by traveling through time and space. She put some interesting questions like: Which role do digital modes of communication play in creating new political and aesthetical articulations? How do they accelerate, slow down or modify conflict, civil war and the writing of history? How are media – video or audio tapes, jpegs or posters – implicated in violence? How does the struggle over copyright and reproduction- over making things seen and heard - factor into these considerations? And is a withdrawal from representation perhaps a new form of strike or refusal?" (Rabih Mroue).

About the screening of Adorno's Grey
Legend has it that Theodor W. Adorno had the auditorium where he taught at the Goethe-Universit√§t in Frankfurt painted grey to aid concentration. In Adorno’s Grey, a team of conservators burrows into the wall of this auditorium hoping to reveal the layer of grey paint beneath it. A voiceover recounts an incident in 1969 when, after three female students approached and bore their breasts to him during a lecture, Adorno collected his papers and ran away in a panic. This would be his last lecture.

Hito Steyerl is a filmmaker and writer based in Berlin. She teaches artistic media practice at the University of Arts Berlin. Her latest works include: The Kiss 2012, Adorno's Grey 2012, The Body of the Image 2012 (performance), Abstract 2012, Guards 2012 as well as the lectures Probable Title: Zero Probability (2012) with Rabih Mroué and I dreamed a dream (2012). Nora M. Alter is Chair and Professor of Film and Media arts, Temple University, and the author of Chris Marker.

Amanda Weidman on Tamil Cinema

Event at Bryn Mawr College

Amanda Weidman 
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Bryn Mawr College

 “Female Voice-Body Relationships and the Acoustic Organization of Tamil Cinema, 1940-1960” 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Thomas Library 224
Bryn Mawr College

This talk will explore how relationships between the female voice and the female body were managed in South Indian Tamil-language cinema of the 1940s and 1950s, during the transition from singing actresses to the division of labor between professional playback singers who recorded their voices in the studio and actresses who appeared on screen. While the relationship between the female voice and the female body was managed through a combination of technological, discursive, and performative means in the world of South Indian classical music, it was simultaneously being negotiated in the context of cinema, where technological mediation provided expanded possibilities for representing voice-body relationships. Examining several Tamil films from this period, we can see a variety of ways in which the potentially problematic spectacle of a performing female body was presented.