Friday, March 8, 2013

SCMS Conference Notes, Thursday (3/7), Post 1

Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference, Chicago, 2013

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend Panel G6 "Filming Local Sites and Global Cities Investigating the Politics and Aesthetics of the Location Shoot," but only had time to attend the first presentation by Dennis Lo from UCLA, entitled: “Taipei is My Home: Location (Pre)production as Critical Ethnography in Taipei’s City Films." Lo deftly describes the way in which Taipei is marketed as authentically Chinese in Asian Cinema, yet at the same time Taipei is a space in a continual process of redefinition. Lo draws upon theories of space as viewed from a bifocal perspective.

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Next, I attended the first part of a two-part Eco-Criticism panel Panel H14 "Eco-Criticism and the Image: Visual Culture through a Green Lens, Part I," the second part of which I participated. Highlights, in my view, of the panel included the following:

Chair: Hunter Vaughan - Oakland University

Hunter Vaughan - Oakland University
“500,000 Kilowatts of Stardust: An Eco-critical Approach to Production, Representation, and Discourse in Singin’ in the Rain”
What I enjoyed in this presentation was the focus Hollywood's excess -- its negligence and exploitation -- as revealed in pivotal moments of Singin' in the Rain.  Rather than focusing solely on the illusions Hollywood creates, this presentation reveals the material process involved in the creation of the illusion, the creation of images that "perfect nature."

Kiu-wai Chu - University of Hong Kong
“Beyond Human World: Eco-cosmospolitanism in Global Art Cinema”
An inspiring presentation that iterestingly interweaves Taoist thought into global/local assessment of Le Quattro Volte (2010) and Samsara (2011). How can film convey a global/planetary environmental awareness?

Pat Brereton - Dublin City University
“Environmental Ethics and Film”
Brereton's work demonstrates the ways in which mainstream film promotes an environmental agenda. His presentation outlined key ideas in environmental ethics, including: 1) the term "sustainability" means different things to different people, 2) empathy is key to environmental ethics (how can one care for, or be concerned about, the other?), and 3) environmental ethics materials need to be available on new media platforms.

Heather Houser - University of Texas at Austin
“Aerial Aesthetics in Environmental Visualizations”
This presentation recognizes the limitations of infovis (informative visuals that simplify complex datasets) by asking: how do formal strategies of representation shape our view/s of the environment? Interestingly, visuals that depict environmental destruction can also over-simplify the complexity (material conditions, plight of workers, negligence, etc.) of such processes while intending to educate and inspire viewers into ethical environmental behavior and action.

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