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Queer Cinema in the World ran from 2012-2017 and investigated the role of cinema in negotiating queer cultural identities. It created a more global framework within which to understand queer film culture, taking into account the multiplicity of sexual and gender dissidence internationally, and the diverse spaces in which queer film culture might exist. The project’s co-investigators were Rosalind Galt and Karl Schoonover (University of Warwick). It received a £45,000 AHRC Network Grant, partnering with the BFI and CineCity Brighton, which funded a series of workshops and film screenings bringing together scholars, filmmakers, film festival programmers, and LGBT activists from around the world. Along with several journal articles and book chapters, its main output was a monograph, Queer Cinema in the World (Duke UP, 2017), which won the Katherine Singer Kovács Book Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies for the best book of that year.
“Chinese Film Festivals: Sites of Translation” was an AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) Research Network grant-funded project, under the “Translating Cultures” theme. It ran for 13 months from 2013-4, with Chris Berry as the Co-Investigator and Luke Robinson (Sussex) as the Co-Investigator. The project received £44,893 in funding. Its primary output was the anthology Chinese Film Festivals: Sites of Translation (Palgrave, 2017), co-edited by the PI and Co-I and featuring chapters from most of the participants. The project noted that Film Festival Studies was highly Eurocentric, and aimed to challenge that by working on Chinese film festivals. It also proposed the paradigm of translation as a way to understand both how film festivals translate cultures, e.g. by having sidebars of a particular national cinema., and how they translate the internationally circulating model of the film festival into local contexts.
Jeff Scheible approaches media from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective, opening up new ways of situating visual culture theoretically and historically. His first book examines how punctuation marks were redefined and became more ubiquitous across visual culture after the emergence of networked computing. His current research continues rethinking the sites and scopes of media study, tracing intersecting histories of ping pong and the moving image. It starts with contemporaneous material appropriations of celluloid--for the filmstrip and the ping pong ball--for new motion-based recreations in the late 19th century. The project considers a series of other “volleys” between the two activities: expanded cinema and the development of video games in the 1960s-1970s; histories of special effects and CGI; flammability and fire management; politics of transnational flows; race, sex, and performance; “the miniature” and reorientations of scale; and ongoing uses of ping-pong balls to visualise complex philosophical and scientific quandaries.
Funding application currently under construction.
This is conceived as a large three year project with post-doctoral researchers. The overall theme is to rethink the history of British cinema not in terms of questions of ‘national cinema’ but in acknowledgement of Britain’s status as an Empire throughout the early C20th and as a post-Imperial power even today.
In the 1920s when devising legislation to protect ‘British cinema’ from Hollywood competition, the British government conceived of British feature films as products which would reach audiences across the empire, the Colonial Office facilitated and co-ordinated productions of British films on location throughout the colonies and dominions, while films were distributed (unevenly) across the same area (depending on local censorship and political and ideological sensitivities).
This project seeks to reframe the narrative of British cinema so as to bring into focus the concerns and voices of specific colonised and settler audiences and producers and to highlight the long term legacy of those interactions.
Elena Gorfinkel has been awarded a 2018 Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, in the book category ($50,000) for the writing of her new book, Aesthetic Strike: Cinemas of Exhaustion. The book will consider the affinities and convergences between durational cinemas and experimental film and art practices, exploring how a preoccupation with temporality, duress, and exhaustion in these works relies on embodied labor.
Aesthetic Strike will examine several interstitial corporeal states—decelerated movement, fatigue, waiting, sleeping—that are central to the aesthetics and politics of recent film art practices, and it will seek to complicate discourses on slow and durational cinema by prioritizing corporeality, energy, and performance labor. These interval states signal the paradox of cinematic bodies—queer, female, marginal, precarious, othered—that do and don’t matter, and that do and don’t work in a 21st-century global image economy.
For an excerpt of this research-in-progress, a recorded lecture at Goethe University-Frankfurt entitled “Cinema, the Soporific: From Exhaustion to Eros.”
Click here to see full list of current and past research projects
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