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FILM-PHILOSOPHY  September 2009

FILM-PHILOSOPHY September 2009

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Subject:

Mediations seminar series

From:

Benjamin Halligan <[log in to unmask]>

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Film-Philosophy Salon <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 23 Sep 2009 19:55:19 +0100

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University of Salford (UK)

Screens and Mediations CCM Seminar Series







Wednesday 14th October: Yvonne Tasker, University of East Anglia

Room AH012 Adelphi House

Smoke and Mirrors: “Psychic” Cops, Pseudo-Science and Male Intuition in 
Crime Television.



The intuitive cop/amateur investigator is a staple of crime fiction and crime 
television: the details that bother Columbo, say, and his uncanny ability to 
hone in on the perpetrator.  A sort of trickery linked to a high degree of 
acuity, an ability to see and to read clothing, patterns of language, body 
language and facial expressions was also of course a defining feature of Conan 
Doyle's fictional creation Sherlock Holmes.  Holmes performs his ability to 
deduce the personal history and character of individuals on first meeting for 
an admiring audience pre-figuring numerous analytic and intuitive cops in the 
genre.  In this paper I explore a clutch of recent (and some not so recent) 
investigative shows - including The Mentalist, Lie to Me, and Law and Order: 
Criminal Intent - in which the specialist investigative forms of knowledge 
deployed are simultaneously explicable in objective terms and yet in some 
sense staged as magical, a demonstration of smoke and mirrors performed for 
a diegetic audience of regular cops and for the viewing audience (just as 
Holmes routinely performs his insight and brilliance for the dim-witted yet loyal 
sidekick Watson).  In the process I single out for attention the reinvigorated 
character types of hyper-intuitive or perceptive men and the damaged genius, 
a figure whose very brilliance/intelligence has resulted in social isolation.  
Notably, while it is ethereal women who populate post-feminist Gothic in 
shows such as Ghost Whisperer and Medium (and arguably Cold Case), 
contemporary crime television is just as likely (if not more likely) to figure 
women as pragmatic, by the book investigators.



Yvonne Tasker is Professor of Film and Television Studies at the University of 
East Anglia.  She is the author and editor of several books exploring popular 
cinema and culture, most recently (with Diane Negra) "Interrogating 
Postfeminism: gender and the politics of popular culture" (2007).  Her new 
book, "Soldiers' Stories: Military Women in Cinema and Television since WWII" 
is forthcoming with Duke University Press.  She is currently researching 
American crime television in a global context.







Tuesday 20th  October: Robert Sinnerbrink, Macquarie University , Sydney

Room AP307 Adelphi Building

‘Why I am not a cognitivist’: Reflections on the Philosophy of Film and Film-
Philosophy’



Contemporary film theory and philosophy of film has been undergoing 
something of a paradigm shift in recent decades. Grand Theory has been 
sharply challenged, even supplanted by the new wave of analytic and 
cognitivist approaches to film. Film theory inspired by movements 
in 'Continental' philosophy--psychoanalysis, structuralism, and then 
poststructuralism--have been attacked for their dogmatism, lack of rigour, and 
obscurantism, or for their pseudo-theoretical attempts to detect ideological 
manipulation in the very act of viewing movies. Must we acquiesce, however, 
to the triumphant analytic-cognitivist turn? In my discussion I shall explore an 
alternative approach to thinking about film that takes seriously the notion 
that 'film thinks'. Despite the superficial anatagonism between partisans 
of 'Continental' and 'analytic' approaches to film, I want to suggest that the 
relevant difference here is between traditional philosophy of film (where film 
remains the fixed object of conceptual analysis, quasi-scientific theorisation, 
etc.) and a more radical film-philosophy (where film is acknowledged to 
engage in thinking on its own terms, and hence the film-philosophy relationship 
between is more dialogical, reflective, and mutually transformative). In the 
former approach, philosophy appropriates film and thereby confirms its own 
conceptual authority, while in the latter approach film transforms philosophy, 
which puts its own status and authority into question. I conclude with some 
critical remarks on the limits of attempts to construct 'theories' of film, and 
argue that it is more fruitful to distinguish between the use of theoretical 
models to propose explanations of various phenomena relevant to Film in 
general, and the practice of philosophical film criticism primarily concerned 
with the aesthetics, interpretation, and experientially grounded understanding 
of singular films, styles, and genres.



Robert Sinnerbrink is lecturer in Philosophy at Macquarie University, Sydney. 
He is the author of Understanding Hegelianism (Acumen, 2007), co-editor of 
Critique Today (Brill, 2006), and has written numerous articles on film and 
philosophy, including discussions of films by Greenaway, Lynch, Malick, and 
von Trier. He is currently writing a book on new approaches to film philosophy.







Wednesday 4th November, Jussi Parikka, Anglia Ruskin University

Room AH012 Adelphi House



Media Ecologies of Animal Intensities: Ecosophy and Media Studies



This paper focuses on the transpositions of media and nature through recent 
art projects such as Harwood, Wright and Yokokoji’s Eco Media (Cross Talk) 
and Garnet Hertz’s Dead Media lab. The Eco Media project developed new 
modes of thinking media (ecology) through a tracking of the intensities of 
nature. However, in this case the medium is understood in a very broad sense 
to cover the ecosystem as a communication network of atmospheric flows, 
tides, reproductive hormones, scent markers, migrations or geological 
distributions. The project(s) do not focus solely on the ecological crisis that 
has been a topic of media representations for years, but they seem to engage 
with a more immanent level of media ecology in a manner that resembles 
Matthew Fuller’s call for ”Art for Animals.” Media is approached from the 
viewpoint of animal perceptions, motilities and energies (such as wind) that 
escapes the frameworks of ”human media.” In this context the rhetorical 
question of the Ecomedia project concerning non-human media is 
intriguing: ”Can ‘natural media’ with its different agencies and sensorium help 
to rethink human media, revealing opportunities for action or areas of mutual 
interest?” In other words, media of animals and nature becomes 
an “ecosophical” (Guattari) probe head for such intensities that escape that 
of the human being; a machine for experimentation.



Despite the focus on the old media of nature, such a project is emblematic of 
concerns that stem from a high-tech network culture. Ideas stemming from 
animal worlds and nature are increasingly used as tools to understand high 
tech culture, and they expand the notion of “medium” to take into account 
nonhuman energies of intensive and topological kinds.







Jussi Parikka teaches and writes on the cultural theory and history of new 
media. He has a PhD in Cultural History from the University of Turku, Finland 
and is Reader and Pathway Leader in Media Studies at Anglia Ruskin 
University, Cambridge, UK. He is also the co-director of the Anglia Research 
Centre in Digital Culture (ArcDigital).





Homepage: http://www.jussiparikka.com.







Wednesday 18th November, Sunil Manghani, York St. John

Room AH012 Adelphi House



Re-Scaling Images of the Fall of the Berlin Wall



The fall of the Berlin Wall was a global media-event. Yet, little critical 
attention has been given to the images of this event. Two film comedies, 
Helden Wie Wir (1999) and Goodbye Lenin! (2002), offer some visual 
deliberation.  The paper draws insight from a concept of the ‘metapicture’ to 
extend the notion of the 'public sphere/screen' to that of public screening, 
with the films under analysis shown to offer layered, loaded narratives that do 
not simply add to the public screen, but provide a point of concentration 
whereby a public can ‘screen’ or ‘filter through’ multiple aspects of a media 
event.



Dr. Sunil Manghani is Reader in Critical and Cultural Theory at York St John 
University. His publications appear in Theory, Culture & Society, Film 
International, Invisible Culture, Journal of Visual Art Practice, and Culture, 
Theory and Critique. He is author of Image Critique (Intellect, 2008) and co-
editor of Images: A Reader (Sage, 2006), an anthology of writings on the 
image from Plato to the present.





All talks 5 - 6pm. (Lecture 45 mins, Q&A / discussion afterwards)



Locations:

http://www.salford.ac.uk/travel/campus-map.pdf

Adelphi House is number one

Adelphi Building is number two



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