Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania – Faculty of Sciences and Arts, Cluj-Napoca –

Home / News /

The Real and the Intermedial

XVI. International Film and Media Studies Conference in Transylvania. October 23-24 2015. Sapientia University. Cluj-Napoca.


Following up on the themes introduced in our previous conferences dedicated to "film in the post-media age", the "cinema of sensations", "rethinking intermediality in the digital age", and "figurations of intermediality in film", we invite you to address one of the most puzzling phenomena of contemporary media and film: the intertwining of the illusion of reality with effects of intermediality, connecting the experience of a palpable, everyday world with artificiality, abstraction and the awareness of multiple mediations. While on an ontological level the concept of the "real" has been radically challenged by the advent of digital technology in photography and the movies, we find that new, audiovisual media have also effectively reshaped our sense of reality, and have expanded the areas of our sensual reach into the world. In our post-postmodern age, the question of the "real" is back with a vengeance regarding all aspects of media. The digital image, as a "graphic mode" has not only brought back painting reinstating "the ‘artist' as the source and origin of the movie" (T. Elsaesser), but in cinema, television and new media, we also have diverse and astonishing examples in which hypermediacy fulfils "the desire for immediacy" (J. D. Bolter), and we see productive intersections between the emphasis on the senses, on the physical-biological, socio-political "reality" of existence and conspicuous, intermedial stylization.
The photo-graphic effect of stillness in the moving image and its fundamental relation to indexicality is exploited to the full in the so-called "slow cinema" canon, as we see in the breathtaking films of Pedro Costa, Abbas Kiarostami, Béla Tarr, Alexander Sokurov, Lav Diaz, for example. Or we may think of cases in which painterly images of ethereal beauty are created alongside violent, shockingly naturalistic scenes in the films of Carlos Reygadas, Kim-Ki Duk, etc. Jean-Luc Godard's new movie, Goodbye to Language, a bold incursion into the use of 3D, renders scenes of nature and the texture of everyday things in vivid, artificial imagery. (Even the recent teaming up of David Attenborough and Björk for such a new media Gesamtkunstwerk experiment as Biophilia, emphasizes this duality.)
Cultural differences, subjectivity, a sense of history and place are often articulated through techniques of intermediality in avant-garde experiments, documentary practices or fiction films alike. As a rule, the "haptic" image can be seen as the gateway to a myriad of connections between cinema and the other arts. In certain cases, a reflexive foregrounding of mediality and constructedness has become not an instrument of ironic detachment but of a search for authenticity: all of which may also bring into focus the co-experience of "the real" with the "intermedial".

We are especially interested in the following topics (but welcome any paper that proposes a relevant approach to either keywords of the conference):

  • "Reality effect", hybridity and media reflexivity in film, television, and new media.
  • Intermediality and inter-sensuality in film: e.g. the represented and sensed body as a site of intermedial relations, haptic "texturality" and interartiality.
  • Figurations of intermediality as imprints of (and meditations upon) history and time, cultural and personal identity.
  • "Analogue" versus "digital" viewed in terms of the "real" versus the "intermedial".
  • Painterly stylization and "reality effect" in slow cinema.
  • Inflections of realism and intermediality within the post-communist cinema of Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Magical realism in world cinema.
  • The merging of the "representation" and the "real" within the rhetoric of intermedial cinema (e.g. the tensions underlying "poetic realism", techniques of figuration and disfiguration, the various forms of media collage or the tableau vivant in cinema).
  • Intermediality theorized or analysed from the perspective of phenomenological or postphenomenological points of view.

Confirmed keynote speakers

  • LÚCIA NAGIB, Professor of Film, Director of the Centre for Film Aesthetics and Cultures, University of Reading, Director of International Engagement, Department of Film, Theatre and Television, editor of Impure Cinema: Intermedial and Intercultural Approaches to Film (2013), Theorizing World Cinema (2012), Realism and the Audiovisual Media (2009), author of World Cinema and the Ethics of Realism (2011), as well as several seminal articles on Brazilian, German, French, and Japanese cinema.
  • LAURA MULVEY, Professor at the Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies, Birkbeck, University of London. Her major works include: Fetishism and Curiosity: Cinema and the Mind's Eye (2013), Visual and Other Pleasures (2009), Death 24x a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image (2006), together with groundbreaking articles on narrative film, feminist film theory, the aesthetics of stillness in the moving image, etc. She is also a prominent avant-garde filmmaker, who co-wrote and co-directed several experimental essay films.
  • JÜRGEN E. MÜLLER, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Bayreuth, author of Intermedialität, Fromen moderner kultureller Kommunikation (1996), editor of Digital Media and the Expansion of the Arts (2006), Intermédialité et socialité. Histoire et géographie d'un concept (2007), Media Encounters and Media Theories (2008), and articles on the history and theory of intermediality, and digital media.

Extended deadline for the submission of proposals: June 30, 2015.

Conference programme

More informations >>

Calendar of Events

January 2021