CfP: X MAGIS – Gorizia International Film Studies Spring School – POSTCINEMA SECTION

X MAGIS – Gorizia International Film Studies Spring School – POSTCINEMA SECTION

Gorizia (Udine) , March 23-29, 2012, Italy

A New Syntax of Desire: Postcinema, Videogame, Comics

The history of Western thought from Plato to Deleuze, has taught us how desire could have multiple definitions, although, in general terms, it could be traced back to two fundamental aspects: the birth of the desire from a “lack” and the corresponding tension towards an object or that has an end in itself.

Contemporary society, primarily through technological development, has given rise to new needs and new requirements, and with them desires were reconfigured. The emergence of media transformations implies the establishment of new relations among subjects and objects, and a subsequent renewal of “lacks” and “desiring tensions”. Those who move in the Internet and make use of new technologies deprive themself of their and own identity (gender, social affiliation, group belonging) and acquire a diversified, polyvocal and provisional one, pushing the desire towards the most varied technological forms and for the most different and volatile content. The technology provides new possibilities and almost all the communication tools conforms as multimedia systems, being representatives of the same “Software Culture” (Manovich): smartphones, tablet, digital cinema, 3D, particular architecture of personal computer and special programs or the dematerialization of the software itself as Cloud Computing or Digital Delivering platforms, different console and increasingly involving all the sensory dimensions interfaces (Kinect, Move, Wii U).

Details after the jump

Each one of these tools is invested with a “libidinization” and become the object of new desires and, at the same time, creates new needs, causing further new desires. With New Media, that are associated with new desires, emerge new narrative configurations, new subjects of storytelling and re-working of characters represented in traditional media. These figures pose themselves as objects of new desires (i.e. the protagonist of video games, comics or films related to the themes of the contemporary pop culture, from movies inspired by the cyberpunk science fiction to the superhero movies).

Desire and technology develop in two directions. The first is a desire for the machine, the technical device itself, which provides new possibilities / capacities for human knowledge and its relationship with the world.

The world and our relationship with it, mediatize itself: for example, augmented reality or the possibility of using images from anywhere, from public transport to online shopping centers like shoppok, from portable technological devices to the advertising totems. Result of mediatization is the creation of each object as a potential object of desire. All the external reality mediatize itself, getting rich with “extrareal” size and becoming an object of desire by virtue of the “surplus” of fascination that comes from this same media coverage.

The second way in which the desire develops in the contemporary times is inside the media forms, the texts and the protagonists of them. Through the forms of contemporary popular culture (cinema and digital culture, the Internet, new media, video games and comic books) are developed different forms of desire or in a complex dialectic relationship with those of the past.

The purpose of the section Postcinema, video games and comic of the Magis Spring School is to observe this process of formation of the new desire and investigate its roots and historical background, setting the following questions:

What are the new needs and new lacks that the new media stimulate? Are there some specific forms of sexual, social, economic desire related to the forms of contemporary pop culture? Do movies, video games, comics enable a particular concept of desire? How do they develop this new notion and how does this process differ from the past one? Is there a relationship between evolution and medial desire?
What theoretical forms of the classic desire are growing with postcinema, video games and comics (Ataraxia, absolute tension, dependency, need, lack, hedonism)? What are the new theoretical forms of the desire inscribed in these products? Does the media convergence enable the development of specific forms of desire? Is there a link between the fragmentation of the desire and audiovisual snack-culture?
What configurations of the subjectivity are built between the desiring subject of modernity? And which of the desired objects? Are they only dematerialized, alienated, masked identities, such as those often inhabiting the Internet, or do they keep something physical and tangible quality? Are there still sexual, social, political, economic identities through which the desires are created? How the evolution of the “to be desired”, as expressed by the relationship between audio-visual culture, social networks and self-consumer display, fits into this theoretical evolution of the concept of desire?
What are the characters’ specificities that constitute the epitomes of the desire in contemporary popular culture? What characteristics of the heroes of pop culture constitute a solicitation strategy of the desire and of what kind of desire?
What are the roots of the contemporary desire in the pop culture? What past media experiences constitute nodal points in the history of the desire in this culture?
Do the evolutions of body configurations in contemporary media, from dematerializations to human-machine hybridizations, make up new desires? Can the fascination with the possibility of strengthening of their human resources developed by new techniques be the new frontier of the desire?
Does the dependence on the texts of popular culture and on the technological tools often reminded by the socio-pedagogical researches represent a new form of inexhaustible desire or the new suite of fetishism? Are there any formal or rhetorical devices that attract a specificity of the modern desire in this sense (for example, the mechanisms of addiction in television serials)? How the old contents adapt themselves to new technological configurations? And within the texts, is there a relationship between desire and iteration (sequels, remakes, media franchise).

Applicants are invited to submit abstracts addressing the main topic and its articulations. Proposals can be: individual paper proposals and panel proposals for the plenary sessions; workshop proposal.

Deadline for paper proposals: November 30, 2011. Proposal length: 1 page max. A short CV (10 lines max.) should be sent together with the paper proposal.

e-mail: 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, Italy fax: +39/0432/556644 – e-mail: gospringschool@gmail.com – http://filmforum.uniud.it

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