The conference and the transition day will be held at the University of Manchester, 26-27 September 2018, presenting work of UK and international researchers, artists or students that undertake audio-visual research as part of their PhD. The conference keynote speakers will be Dr Laurent Van Lancker and Prof. Andrew Irving.
Paper presentations, film exhibitions, performances and art installations will explore, among many other themes related to the Creative Image, these particular issues:
The Image Ontologies
Some of the key aspects of the creative image relate to film and its ontology, namely the ability to capture the movement of reality while preserving it as a series of static frames. This dual nature of film invites both semiotic/hermeneutic and non-representational approaches – relating to film both as a text and as a direct imprint of the real. The latter approach coincides with the ‘affective turn’ in humanities and social sciences in the past few decades, influenced primarily by the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, and the understanding of film as ‘a kind of nonrepresentational contact’ (Shaviro 1993: 258) with the real, rather than a text to be read and interpreted. However, this understanding of film can also inspire new creative approaches to film practice or practice-as-research, taking advantage of film’s ‘privileged link to the contingent’ (Doane 2002: 142), and, rather than imposing moral, ideological or narrative preconceptions upon the world, opening up to it with intuition and curiosity – thus giving rise to a moving image ‘that does not analyze or explain [but] that re-composes’ (Bresson 1977: 5).
The aesthetic developments of the medium
its possible futures, as well as the different ways in which digital and celluloid images represent or relate to reality. For the medium – by directly representing reality as an indexical imprint of the real (Bazin 2005) – has the potential to carry ‘the real beyond its principle to the point where it is effectively produced’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1977: 227), forging an abstract, uncanny reality of the image: a ‘more-than-real’ (Massumi 1987: 92). We seek research or practice in film that have the ability or potential to illuminate new horizons of seeing and representing reality on the level of style, symbolism and narrative, but also reveal the processes through which film has an influence on our very perception of reality, or through which film can be considered as a reality in its own right.
The senses in visual ethnography
Connerton, Bourdieu, Varela, Hayles, Lefrevre, Maturana and Merleau-Ponty suggest humans understand the world through their sensing bodies, implying that humans derive meaning from experience. The awareness derived from our bodies’ sensorial experience and their consistencies is what makes us attuned to different habitats. As Varela suggests, we are ‘embodied minds’, meaning that the awareness derived from direct bodily interaction with technology, environments and the everyday precedes cognition and is therefore a major constituent of the meanings we share symbolically through language. The multiple possibilities of audiovisual media to represent a corporeal sensorium – even when elicited through absence – allow us to deviate from the ‘rhetorical razor’ in human communication that defines the ‘included and excluded, relevant and irrelevant, empowered and disempowered’ (Cronon 1992:1349). One of the aspects of this conference is therefore to focus on reclaiming the inclusion of corporeal and embodied knowledge in scientific, technological and social spheres, using all methods available (including film, sound and text), and thus encouraging practical and conceptual ethnographies that employ visual, collaborative and sensory methods. We encourage papers that explore how we see and make sense of reality, what reality is in its own right, and what the creative image is in relation to the world and to our sensorial perception.