Chair: Dr Abigail Keating (University College Cork)
G27b, O’Rahilly Building (ORB), UCC
Victor Wloch (Cologne)
ABSTRACT: Death by Serial
On Current Issues of Remediation and Convergence Between Cinema and TV Serials
The traditional art form cinema has seen better days: With sinking audience interest, a dominance of uninspired film series or directors fleeing into other fields of work, many critics are nowadays proclaiming the “death of cinema”. And its murderer is found quickly: Cinema has to a great extend been replaced by another media format, namely TV serials, which seem to satisfy the spectator’s demands in filmic entertainment better then cinema. Through new unbounded technical modes of reception like DVD box sets and online streaming services as well as through their tempting qualities like complex, almost literary continuous narrations, deeply drawn, ambivalent characters and controversial issues tackled, TV serials have become the liberal spear head of the U.S.-American media ecology at the expense of cinema.
Therefore, this paper analyses the medial processes of communication and exchange between cinema and TV serials in terms of form and content drawing on Jay David Bolter’s concept of remediation as well as Henry Jenkin’s notion of convergence. The paper demonstrates in detail the which factors are responsible for the current “victory” of TV over cinema and suggests development potential for a cinema of the future so that the condemned might still live some longer.
Marija Laugalyte (University College Cork)
ABSTRACT: Representing Gendered Technology
Recreating (Whose?) Exclusion in Female Centred TV
Cinema is not so much dead as de-centralized in a landscape where we consume moving image complemented, by the usage of social media as a source of entertainment. These technologies—such as smart phones, computers, and the internet—do not only pervade our screen narrative consumption practices but also the content of the narratives we consume. This paper proposes to look at how certain television texts portray these technologies and their usage in relation to gender. More specifically, this paper looks at the representation of these technologies in contemporary US female centred television series such as GIRLS (2012-2017) and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015- ).
Trying to make sense of this gendering, this paper looks at the depiction of digital communication and media technologies in these television series in regards to two bodies of research. The first body of work is in film and media studies, it analyses late 1990s and early 2000s films dealing with the, now outdated, idea that we have entered an “information society”. This research centres on how these films imagine technology as bringing about a crisis of masculinity. The second body of research is that of feminist social and technological studies. It looks at the exclusion of women from technological innovation and development, maintaining that technology is a key component of masculinity. This paper applies these two, seemingly contradictory, bodies of research to the female centred television texts to explore the meanings these shows are conveying by associating communication and media technologies with women, as well as with men of colour, while distancing them from straight white masculinity.
Judith Niehaus (Hamburg)
ABSTRACT: Displaying and Writing Text Messages on Screen
New and digital forms of communication dominate social interactions and therefore confront filmmakers with a problem of visualisation: Many stories cannot be told without including text messages of any kind, but the technological devices carrying these messages are not particularly suitable for cinematic representation. As the editor Tony Zhou explained in a video essay that went viral in 2014, the on-screen text message seems to be – up to the present – the best and most elegant solution to this dilemma. This might be best exemplified by shows like House of Cards (2013–) or BBC’s Sherlock (2010–). But moreover, on-screen text messages or on-screen writing in general have made it to the big screen, for example in The Fault in our Stars (2014) or, quite as a pioneer, the Korean motion picture Take Care of my Cat (2001).
Zhou compellingly shows the advantages of on-screen text messages with regard to aesthetics and efficiency, but he does not attempt to frame the phenomenon theoretically. My paper intends to close this gap by asking some of the following questions: What are specific elements or details of on-screen writing – in particular of on-screen text messages – and what is their narrative function? How can we explain these functions in narratological terms, and what systemic problems may arise from applying them? And what is, following another academic path, the paratextual status of the superimposed text?
As one conclusion, Tony Zhou takes the on-screen text message as an example of “how film form is always evolving”, and hence is neither to be considered dead nor dying. Approaching the questions mentioned above, my paper will contribute to a theoretical understanding of this new filmic device – if film form is always evolving, film theory has to adjust as well.