CfP: 9th MAGIS Spring School – Videogames and comics Section

The 9th MAGIS Spring School, organized by the University of Udine and the University of Paris 3 – Sorbonne Nouvelle, in collaboration with their network of partners – Universities of Amsterdam, Bochum, Prague, Valencia and Milan-Catholic, Pisa and CineGraph/Hamburg – as part of the activities of International Ph.D. in Audiovisual Studies will be held in Gorizia from April 8th to April 13th, 2011. This 9th edition of the MAGIS Spring School will focus on the relationship between audiovisual forms and the notion of “The Archive”. With the help of scholars, graduate students, artists, curators and representatives of art institutions, and through plenary sessions and workshops, the 9th Spring School will address “The Archive” in relation to specific disciplinary fields, objects and perspectives of research: Cinema & Contemporary Visual Arts, Post-Cinema, Porn Studies and Film Heritage.

Video games, movies, comics and new media, from the internet to mobile phones, through an elaboration of their inner specificity and through a rupturing of themselves to absorb the features of other media, are now orienting each medium by way of convergence and expansion. Every medium disposes itself spontaneously into new arrangements, that include functions often reworked by introducing features, devices and linguistic choices apparently specific to other “arts” or media.
In this sense, the term “Archive” aptly defines the new media landscape.

The “Archive” is seen as “Database”, a spacewhere items of knowledge are arranged in a paratactic way, measuring their similarities and differences. This structure sees connections that go through every single medial experience: the cinematic video games – from Max Payne, Alan Wake to Heavy Rain and Bioshock; web comics and their derivations on different media; the branches of the Marvel universe, a constant collection of characters, stories and visual solutions ready to be structured in different media universes; the numerous applications for mobile devices, like Hysteria Project or Make My Day, that test the possibility of interactive narratives; ending with the achievement of the mix of art, film, animation, game art and cultures through the Machinima productions and the mash-up that are present on the web, or through the possibilities offered by software like Avatarize
Yourself or virtual worlds like Second Life.

Furthermore the notion of archive recalls the place, both physical and/or metaphorical, of reserve of memory, secrets, hidden or unknown stories, details and information. The archive is thus an opportunity or access to new developments, further stages or levels, untold narrations or redefinition of old stories. It is in the comics, films and games the vault or crypt of secrets, forbidden notions, revelations, the dark side of what belongs to general knowledge?

In these terms, we raise the questions of how a mapping of this landscape can be made, and what kind of theoretical problems it may raise, more specifically:

What kind of remediations of other arts are these media achieving? In what terms is the past of other arts or of the individual medium itself re-read (quotations, evocations, copies)?

How does the device of the archive, vault or crypt allow enrichment and redefinition of previous consolidated narrative and imaginary legacy? In which ways does it guarantee continuity of established formats, characters, settings or instead launch new elements of development?

How do individual games, movies, comics, apps arrange the traces of memory? In what terms are these paths of memory activated in each game or any other kind of media form?

What kinds of problems are raised by the archiving, preservation, or restoration of any objects related to the contemporary and so to the rapid obsolescence of the media too?

In what terms can the hybridization between real and digital be measured? How is the narration involved in these processes? How do the dynamics of the game playing or the ones of construction of media objects involve the narration?

In terms of suggestion, aura, emotional colour, what is the added value of the “archive” device? How does it work? Which functions and uses are related to it?

What are the criteria for the recovery of gaming and technology’s memory? What are the bodily and mental “experiences” involving gamers and Internet users? Is it possible to reproduce the same kind of gaming experience in a future time and with different technologies?

What is the role of the emulation, the retro-technology and the conservation? What gaming experiences today differ from those of the past and how can you preserve them? Is it possible, for example, to consider the gaming experience with MAME or Win UAE identical to that of coin-op or Amiga?

What games or media products produce spatial structures that act as “patchwork”, collection, or database of information and knowledge? How are the dynamics of the game, the landscape, spatial and narrative variables of texts constructed as audiovisual cultural databases? What are the “genres” of video games or media that help to develop this “density” of cultural references and this intermediality? What are the individual products/games/films that are clearly addressed in this direction or are particularly immersed in the practice of the hybridization of game/film/new media?

Deadline for proposals: November 1, 2010
Length of proposal: 1 page max
A short CV (10 lines max.) should be sent with proposals
Email: gospringschool@gmail.com

For more information, please contact:
Dipartimento di Storia e Tutela dei Beni Culturali – Università degli Studi di Udine,
Palazzo Caiselli, Vicolo Florio 2
33100 Udine,
fax: +39/0432/556644
e-mail: udineconference@gmail.com / gospringschool@gmail.com


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