A History of Cinema without Names – CfP

A History of Cinema without Names – Call for Proposals

University of Udine (Italy)
March 18-20, 2015

Deadline extended – December 31, 2014

The Udine International Film Studies Conference is promoting a research project called “A History of Cinema without Names” which is still opened to proposals coming from scholars who might be interested in contributing.

In several occasions the Udine Conference has focused on the problematisation of the notion of “author” and on a redefinition of the notion of “style” (separating this notion from any property related to individual poetics and from any anthropometrically conceived principle of textual construction). In this perspective, it is indeed possible to articulate modes aimed at understanding authorial poetics as the momentary unification of features that exceed them. On another level, genre as well could be simply seen as spaces in which elements of the same kind aggregate.

One of the purposes of this project is the creation of a new “topography” of the basic stylistic elements that, while common to both authors and genres, can also find indipendent and diverse mode of connection. These levels of aggregation (styles, genres, authors) are not separated; rather, they mutually intersect, integrate each other, and coexist. Outwardly, they might seem grounded on essentialist principles (like the figure of the “creative personality”; or the morphologies of discourse, e.g. comic, crime, melodrama, etc.). Instead, they are “systems” whose physiognomy is shaped by the relationships that occur at a given moment between their constitutive units. Of course, it is possible to continue to employ this customary topography based on “auteur” politics and “genres”; but we shall acknowledge that the figures we shape are ephemeral and ostensible, devoid of reasons or of really decisive connections.

The status of contemporary mediascape, dominated by serialisation and “formats”, should encourage such research trend. Instead, we are witnessing a curious paradox: the more audiovisual narratives exceed traditional notions of style and auteur politics, the more we stick to these categories (for instance, trying to apply them to screenwriters, producers, or even “formats”), as if they were principles guaranteeing to safe us from chaos and the unknown.

On this ground, the Udine Conference launches the project of a history of cinema without names, in the same vein as Wöllflin and Valéry imagined respectively a history of art and of literature without names.

The first step of such research project, which will continue with several events and meetings, will be hosted by the University of Udine on March 18-20, 2015. The event has been thought not as a canonical conference, in which every scholar presents the results of his or her research activity, but as a laboratory where methodological aspects of the project will be discussed in length. For this reason, we warmly encourage proposals aimed at fostering debates and further elaborations by starting from the question of how a history of cinema without names would be (hopefully) possible.

500-word proposals are due by December 31, 2014.
Please submit your proposal to cinemawithoutnames@gmail.com and make sure to attach a short CV.

Leonardo Quaresima
Giuseppe Fidotta, Andrea Mariani (Organisation)

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