Archive | March 2014

CFP: Archaeologies of Media and Film

Confirmed Keynotes: Thomas Elsaesser (Columbia), Jussi Parikka (Southampton)

3-5 September 2014, Bradford

An international conference on media archaeology organised and hosted by the University of Bradford and the National Media Museum.

The aim of this conference is to bring together researchers, archivists, curators and artists working in the field that has become known as “media archaeology”: an approach that examines or reconsiders historical media in order to illuminate, disrupt and challenge our understanding of the present and future.

The conference is particularly interested in what media museums and their archives can contribute to media archaeology.

Topics may include (but are not restricted to):

– theories of media archaeology
– media museums and media archives
– new film history and its impact on film studies
– radiophonics
– remediation
– photography and the archive
– archaeologies of recorded sound
– vintage computing
– software studies
– archaeology of computer and video games
– media ecology
– German media theory
– media art and archaeology
– variantology

The conference invites proposals for individual papers or panels; individual papers should be twenty minutes in length. Proposals of 300 – 500 words should be submitted on the conference website:

The deadline for proposals is 6 June 2014.


CFP: Archives 2.0

The National Media Museum is hosting a 2 day conference on the challenges and opportunities around the acquisition and management of archives by cultural institutions from 25 – 26 November 2014.

Such archives may be still, moving or mixed-format; analogue or digital or both; they may be from a company, private, practitioner, virtual, community-based or regional; complete or partial; contained or continually developing.

The conference will examine emergent digital technologies and their impact on archival practice and acquisition.

Papers are sought on the strategic issues, opportunities and challenges presented by organisations that actively acquire and curate bodies of work.

We are looking for perspectives from:

  • Practitioners and photographers
  • Curators and cultural institutions
  • Galleries and commercial enterprises
  • Technology providers and facilitators

For further details and to submit a paper, see the National Media Museum website.

Contributions that evidence new approaches and/or creative and innovative ways of thinking which challenge conventional understanding are particularly welcome.

CFP: POST SCREEN: International Festival of Art, New Media and Cybercultures

The Artistic Studies Research Center of the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon University invites you to submit a proposal for a paper or artwork to the upcoming POST SCREEN: International Festival of Art, New Media and Cybercultures to be held in November 2014 in Lisbon, Portugal.

1. Scope
Since the mid-20th century, technological development has been growing to such an extent, that it became an inescapable influence in everyday life of contemporary society. The use of portable cameras, the easy and widespread access to video and photo editing softwares, the use of social networks, as well as interactive games are part of the personal, professional and social daily routine of every individual.
The subject of the POST SCREEN Festival 2014 will be Device, Medium and Concept. Recognizing that these aspects exist in a hybrid territory whose borders are sometimes very faint and not always possible to distinguish, we intend to discuss the use of screen-based devices (traditional, analog or digital) as a tool used in artistic practices and social behaviours; the screen as medium, entails the production and archiving of works of art, cultural and social activities, exclusively generated through technological screens making use of intrinsic technological attributes that a given medium provides; the screen as a concept, refers mainly to the aesthetic, phenomenological and social aspects that involve the idea of screen. These are intended to reexamine the various problems concerning art and culture mediated by screens.
The Festival will comprise a cycle of conferences, a group exhibition of artworks in a virtual gallery and workshops. This event aims to gather a number of experts in diverse fields of research and artistic practice and promote an interdisciplinary discussion and an exhibition of creative productions on emerging issues related to the use of new technologies (moving image, sound, digital images, virtual reality, immersive environments, network cultures).

2. You may submit the following presentation types:
2.1 A paper to be presented at the conference;
2.1.1 The topics of interest for paper submission include, but are not limited to:
– The screen as Device, as Medium and as Concept;
– Theoretical and practical approaches to the screen-based art;
– Screen-based visual culture;
– From window-screen to the ubiquitous-screen;
– Virtual and immersive environments;
– The technological progress of the screen and its repercussion in the social, cultural, artistic, economic and political context;
– The historical, technological and artistic remediation of the screen;
– New definitions and proposals for the concept of screen and its role in art, technology and culture;
– Consumption and dependence of the screens as alienating social factor;
– Cyberculture as a system overpowered by the existence of screens;
– The relationship between the body and the screen;
– The screen as an interface between real/virtual spaces and private/public spaces;
– Production, archive and obsolescence of digital works;
– The screen as an artifact and as a mean of production;
– Virtuality and physicality of the screen;

2.1.2 We also encourage submissions within a variety of disciplines and fields, related to Art and Technology, including:
– Art and theory
– Art History
– Aesthetics
– Art and New Technologies
– Curatorial Practices
– Social Sciences
– Cultural Studies
– New Media

2.2 An artwork to be presented at the virtual gallery of the festival.
2.2.1 The themes for the submission of the works must comply with the overall theme of the festival that refers to the screen as Device, Medium and Concept.
2.2.2 Submissions are accepted in various genres, such as:
– Installations
– Interactive installations
– Video
– Audio
– Site-specific installations
– Multiple projections
– Immersive environments
– Video-performance
– Ciberarte
– Web-Art
– Videographic documentation of works with interactive and participative character
– Digital Platforms
– Visual Arts

3. Review and selection process:
The papers will be reviewed through a double blind reviewing process by the International Board.
The art projects will be selected through a single blind reviewing process (only the curator will know the identity of the artist) by the Curator Committee.

4. Important Dates
May 31  – End date for submitting the paper proposal / Art Project
July 25 – Notification of acceptance or rejection of the paper proposal /Art Project
August 31  – Submission of full paper for publication + full artwork high quality file for virtual gallery.

For more information, please go to Post Screen Festival website or

CFP: Silver Sea to Silver Screen: Maritime History and the Moving Image

CFP: Silver Sea to Silver Screen: Maritime History and the Moving Image
Greenwich Maritime Institute, University of Greenwich
28 – 30th August 2014

Silver Sea Conference CFP


Competition Call: 3-minute Student Film on Maritime History and the Moving Image
Silver Sea Conference CFFilm

Proposals for papers are invited for this international conference looking at the representation of the maritime world on screen. The conference intends to consider the moving image in its widest sense including feature film, documentary, training film, art film, television and video gaming. The focus will be the representation of both maritime and naval history and we welcome proposals from researchers with backgrounds in cultural, media, film, literary and art history as well as military and maritime historians.

Topics may include (although are not limited to):
•       National Cinema
•       Film as advertising
•       Film for training purposes
•       Maritime Communities
•       Representation of Ports
•       Maritime Industries
•       Navies
•       Sea as Metaphor
•       Single film case studies
•       War and propaganda
•       Art films
•       Moving image installations

If you would like to submit a paper proposal you will need to prepare the following:

The title of your paper and an abstract – 500 words
A short biography – 250 words
Personal Details – Title, Name, Affiliation, Email Address
Proposals for panels will also be accepted.

The submission deadline is 30th April 2014 and all proposals must be submitted by email to

Competition Call

We are offering a £400 prize to students of design, film or other media to produce the best three-minute film which promotes and illustrates the conference and its themes. The winning film will be also be shown at the conference.

Any combination of archive film, still photography, animation, graphics or re-enactment can be used to encompass the themes and scope of the conference. The competition advertising leaflet can be found here.

The submission deadline is 30th June 2014.  Films should be uploaded to YouTube and the URL should be submitted with the completed entry form by email to

If you have questions, feel free to contact us.
All the best,

The GMI Events Team
Silver Sea Conference

10 Poems from Hafez

Jila Peacock exhibited her Artist’s book, Ten Poems from Hafez, at a recent event held at the Oriental Museum, Durham University and organized by the Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures. She offered the audience an absorbing insight into the creation of the book and its translation into animated film.

In  Ten Poems from Hafez, exhibited at New Hall Cambridge and later at the British Museum in the 2006 exhibition, Word into Art, Iranian-born Jila Peacock uses the Persian text of whole poems from Hafez, the fourteenth-century metaphysical poet of Shiraz, to create images from symbolic animals mentioned in each poem.

Using subtle colours and a Persianate script, Nastalique, developed in fifteenth century Iran specifically for writing poetry, she has designed legible shape-poems by squeezing the words into the creature’s silhouette.  In a recent interview she said, ‘I am really a painter and printmaker, not a calligrapher, and my aim in making these images has been to use a ’visual language’ in translating what are in the original Farsi, luminous, musical, inspirational love poems’.

Tongue of the Hidden (2007) is a beautiful animated film directed by David Anderson, and based on  Jila Peacock’s hand-printed Artist’s book.  Here, the hand-printed images twist and turn, form and reform, dance and glide, creating  a magical landscape of startling luminosity and complexity.

Tongue of the Hidden from Jila Peacock on Vimeo.

Shifting Sands

16 SAD_750-001-589Shifting Sands

The curator, Zoe Cormack, explains what lies behind the exhibition.

‘Photography was secondary to the research, and snaps were taken simply when it was convenient’ wrote the anthropologist Ian Cunnison in the introductory note to his collection of 621 photographs of fieldwork from Sudan, now housed in the Sudan Archive in Palace Green Library.

The creator’s idea that his ‘snaps’ were of secondary importance might seem like an odd place to begin a description of an exhibition of the photographs. But there is every reason to see beyond this modest turn of phrase. This exhibition, which highlights a small part of Ian Cunnison’s photography from Sudan, shows what we can learn from his unique and fascinating visual enterprise.

Ian Cunnison (1923-2013) is an important figure in British and Sudanese anthropology, in addition to his publications on Zambia and Sudan he was instrumental in establishing social anthropology departments in both Khartoum and Hull. His reticence over the value of his photography probably reflects the anthropological thinking of the time. He worked in the heyday of structuralism when anthropologists were more concerned with the deeper structures that underpinned the functioning of society – things that were not necessarily photographable (a point also made in Chris Morton’s study of Evans-Pritchard’s photography). His diffidence may also reflect a man who was modest about his abilities. But – modest or not – Cunnison was a skilled amateur photographer. The photographs currently on show demonstrate purposefully composed portraiture and a striking use of light and framing.

Cunnison was studying the political culture of Misseriya pastoralists. Shifting Sands focuses on mobility and community within a single nomadic camp. The photographs illustrate different stages of the annual migration, as the camp moves from the edges of the desert, to the lush pastures of Abyei: an areas which is now disputed, on the border between Sudan and South Sudan and claimed by both countries.  The selection on display includes photographs illustrating human relationships in the camp – in the context of the wider social and inter-ethnic networks with neighbouring communities – especially the Ngok Dinka in Abyei. Sudan was often thought of as a starkly culturally divided county, marked by conflict and slavery. This is partly true, but in these border communities it has never been the whole story. There is also a long history of complex interrelationships and mixed ancestry. Even slavery could be transformed into the bonds of kinship. Cunnison’s photographs destabilize a narrative of division.

His photography is remarkable for the personal stories it tells. This is almost a family photograph album (captured by a professional anthropologist), enlivened by the biographical information about the subjects of the photographs included in Cunnison’s ethnography. We don’t only look at these individuals; we know the songs they sung, the friends they had, their struggles and small disappointments. These are refreshingly ‘unexoticised’ pictures of daily life, indicating a familiarity between photographer and subject that make them quintessentially the product of a close ethnographic relationship. This relationship was poignantly marked when I learned from people who had known Ian Cunnison in Sudan that he and one of his closest friends in the camp, Sheybun, had (quite by coincidence) died on the same day.  There are three photographs of Sheybun in this exhibition.

These photographs are a site of cultural encounter and exchange. This is not only a story about members of the camp, it is about the process of acquiring anthropological understanding too. Our reinterpretation of them today shows this is an ongoing process as they generate (and we participate in) new understandings of meaning and new forms of knowledge. This is a visual contribution to the history and ethnography of border communities in Sudan and South Sudan.

Photographs take on different cultural and historical significance over time. This is powerfully the case with Ian Cunnison’s photography (and his wider corpus of work on the Misseriya). Since these photographs were taken the political situation in Abyei has violently transformed.  Civil wars in Sudan and unresolved border issues have devastated local relationships in Abyei. The Misseriya migration and their rights in Abyei go to the heart of the contested claims and political deadlock.

The current disruption makes these images of Abyei more entrancing. These pictures depict scenes that it is impossible to imagine today’s political climate. They show how tantalizingly possible a more peaceful relationship between the Dinka and the Misseriya in Abyei was in the 1950s; that intermarriage, political negotiation and peaceful sharing of land was possible, even after years of slavery; and that war in Abyei is not inevitable – its history is not only one of violence.

Shifting Sands: Babanusa to Abyei 1953/54 is at Palace Green Library 12 March to 1st April and The Oriental Museum  4th April to 5th October.

City and Emotions: Doing Emotions History through Architecture

Dr Johanna Lozoya (UNAM, National Autonomous University of Mexico) will speak on ‘City and Emotions: Doing Emotions History through Architecture’ at a research seminar organized by the School of Modern Languages and Culture’s Visual & Performance Research Group.

19 March 2014, 12:00, A56, Elvet Riverside I, Durham University

Dr Johanna Lozoya is a novelist, cultural historian and architect. She is the Director of GEE-MX Lab (Laboratory on City & Emotions: Laboratorio Grupo Estudio de las Emociones – México) at the Research Coordination on Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape, Faculty of Architecture, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). GEE-MX Lab is a trans–disciplinary experimental project in applied humanities. The main collective research theme is the study of contemporary and historical emotional communities + emotional social cohesion for urban development, sustainability under/after hazard, and risk.

Dr Lozoya´s lines of research are the history of ideas and Latin America´s cultural and political imaginaries in the 20th century, history of emotions, City & Cold War, cultural historiography and architecture. She is the author of Monsters of Silence. Wanderings on Contemporary Anguish (Taurus, 2014); Besieged Cities (Tusquets, 2010); The Indian Hands of the Spanish Race. Mestizaje as an Architectural Argument (Conaculta, 2010); Written Architecture (INAH, 2009); and of the novels Simple Crimes (2014) and Letters from Aden (Anagma 2011).

She is currently working on the novel Troy City (Chile, Ceibo, 2014); on two research projects: Love in Times of Architecture. A Battle during the Cold War and The Age of Guilt. Emotions, Media and Latin America´s Left Culture (1970-1990), and on a book of criticism: Deep Disjuncts. Emotional Geographies of the Progressive Woman (Chile, Ceibo, 2015).

Contact for more information about this event.

Fish Out of Water

fishoutofwaterTim Mitchell’s Fish Out of Water series which was recently exhibited at the National Glass Centre Sunderland comes from a 2 year collaboration with academics in the Durham Geography department. It is a study in obduracy, perdurance and disappearance. Ships, objects, places and people are all cast in the light of what is transient and what is enduring. It is a light that reveals much that is often hidden, unnoted yet essential.

Although, the ostensible subject of the series is the naval ship the Grey Rover, it is in some ways the most attenuated presence in the pictures. In the time lapse sequence, we see her arriving at the dock painted in what the navy call ‘No See Grey,’ becoming visible in her destruction and then disappearing. Indeed, such a muted presence seems fitting for this unassuming workhorse of the military. Built at Swan Hunters on Tyneside and launched in 1969, it served as the fuelling tanker for more glamorous ships for 37 years. It is a reminder that so much of the military is about support and providing infrastructure for others. In this the Grey Rover is no less anonymous and no less essential  than the 27,000 or so merchant ships and their sailors that plough ceaselessly across the oceans to sustain our societies – bringing the oil, the grain, the chemicals, the materials and the products that are the stuff of modern life.

For a maritime nation, that depends on goods brought and sent by sea for almost every part of our lives and economy, such a muted presence is emblematic of how the ocean has receded from society’s view. These images render it visible once more but at the moment of passing and decay. The dock is a piece of decaying Victoriana, once intended to launch and maintain ships, now used to end their lives. The workers who stare so resolutely back into the lens are what remains of the shipbuilding workforces and communities, so diminished and still exhibiting both a pride in physically handling the material of our economy yet also the costs of such hard labour. And yet these are not the epic celebrations of industrial modernism, like early twentieth century pictures of vast machines, towering buildings and infrastructure being assembled. The work done here is not sacralised by creating something. Instead, it is about destruction and disappearance.

Yet the ship is loathe to disappear. The pictures render the ship visible through its very substance that enabled it to endure the ocean’s might – the metal plate, the pipes and the rivets. Hard metal and hard work are coupled with dirt and disorder to show a messy end as eventually it succumbs and is pulled apart. Its interior workings made visible, in the ripped open cabin, the pile of scrap material or the boiler cast down on the ground. Instead of the ordered symmetry of the ship, there is the tangled, twisted and torn fabric that made the vessel. It is ship shape no more. The raw metal of the interior refuses the melancholy pleasures of nostalgia. For four decades these spaces rang with bustle, hopes and fears of ordinary lives of a community encased in steel and cut off from the land. The closed in view points of the pictures stage a vision of that confinement – of life surrounded by steel. In the unsentimental world of material recovery there is little room to hear to the echoes of the crew’s laughter, their fears or their comradeship. Instead of the bittersweet language of reminiscence for lost community, the pictures speak to the ongoing life of the metal of the ship. Instead of the haunting silence of abandoned ruins, here is noisy destruction, detritus on its way to being salvaged. The centre piece then is the timelapse of the ship disappearing before our eyes, through fire , wind and rain it is rent apart.

These pictures offer a voice for the places and people who earn hard and precarious living from destroying things so that materials may live on. This is the dirty work and dirty world that we call recycling. It is the end of the ship but a new beginning for the masses of scrap. And yet the true subject in these pictures seems not to be the people who made, sailed in or even broke up the ship, nor the place of her destruction, but the metal itself. This metal shown in all its lumpy, obdurate and intractable forms that is being prized apart and sent onto new lives to be remade. The ship is dead, long live the steel.

Mike Crang

The Period Room: Museum, Material, Experience

Friday 19th & Saturday 20th September 2014
The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham

Period Rooms conf CFP

Since the late 19th century the Period Room has been a consistent presence in the public museum, and yet over the past 25 years the Period Room has become a contentious museum object, leading many museums to question the legitimacy of the Period Room as an effective and appropriate method of display and interpretation. As dislocated fragments, often remodelled to fit the spaces of the museum, the Period Room is, for some, a signifier for the inauthentic, an outmoded method of display and a representation of unfashionable museum interpretation. The problems associated with Period Rooms are exacerbated by the fact that they are large and bulky objects, difficult and expensive to redisplay or reinterpret. Many museums retain their Period Room displays, but the recent changes in the perspectives on Period Rooms have also led a number of museums in the UK, Europe and the USA to reconsider their continued relevance as museum objects, to dismantle and deaccession the displays, and in some cases to repatriate the Period Rooms to their places of origin (if that still exists of course).

This conference, held at the Bowes Museum, which redisplayed its own collection of Period Rooms in 2007-10, aims to consider the Period Room from a wide variety of perspectives in order to address some key questions about Period Rooms and the history of Period Rooms display in Museums: Should Period Rooms be considered objects in their own right, or merely ‘contexts’ for related material? How, and in what ways, did Period Rooms satisfy ideas of museum interpretation, and how and why did these attitudes change? What was the role of the evolving frameworks of national/local heritage in the appearance of Period Rooms in museums? What were/are the theoretical, technical and aesthetic frameworks for the display of Period Rooms in museums? How, and in what ways, is the Period Room different from, or similar to, the Historic Interior?

We invite papers to explore these themes and relationships from a wide range of perspectives and from a wide range of organisations, institutions and disciplines, from academics (historians, art historians, literary and film historians), museum curators and professionals, exhibition designers, technicians and craft-workers):

Themes for consideration may include:

The processes of the circulation, display and redisplay of Period Rooms – the dealers, merchants, decorators, collectors, and museum curators and their roles in the changing taste for the Period Room.

Case Studies of Period Rooms – the history of specific displays in museums and other public institutions; their provenance, removal and reconstruction; display and interpretation.

The philosophical history of the Period Room as a particular mode of engagement with the past – as an historical space, as a space of historical empathy, and as an immersive environment.

The material and technical aspects of Period Room display; the challenges of redisplay in museum contexts, what the objects reveal about the history of their making and the history of museum interpretation.

The ‘Period Room’ in literature, film and visual culture; how was/is the Period Room/Historic Interior imagined, and what can these perspectives tell us about how we engage with the Period Room in the museum?

Please send abstracts of no more than 400 words to the conference organisers:
Dr Mark Westgarth (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies,
University of Leeds)
Dr Jane Whittaker (The Bowes Museum)
Dr Howard Coutts (The Bowes Museum)
Closing Date for Abstracts: 31st March 2014.