Emergency and Emergence
USC Cinema & Media Studies Graduate Conference
In Cooperation with USC Interdivisional Media Arts & Practice PhD Program
Los Angeles, CA
October 18-20, 2018
First Forum invites submissions that explore the many meanings and implications of the concept of emergency in relation to cinema and media scholars and practitioners. The concept of exception, anomaly, and crisis pervade both contemporary aesthetics and academic discourse, connected to Giorgio Agamben’s “state of exception.” In an emergency situation, the drive toward immediate response often disrupts perceptions of what is acceptable or permissible behavior. “Fake news,” live streaming, augmented reality, and dystopian fiction all exemplify responses to or attempts to reckon with moments of crisis or instability. These forms often emphasize dissolution and destruction in a reactionary mode. While the contingency of an emergency state suggests precarity and uncertainty, it also suggests the possibility of new aesthetic, political, and social modes that have yet to be realized. Emergence can not only be theorized, but also practiced. What does media produced under states of emergency look and sound like? What is the role of the artist in moments of crisis?
We seek to complicate this negative framework by bringing emergency into conversation with the connected term emergence. Emergency and emergence can be considered catalytic concepts, cultivating moments of potential and fostering new forms of organization to respond to an emergency’s urgent call. What kinds of action are motivated by emergency thinking? How do viewers respond to media produced under emergency conditions? What other vocabularies might be employed to characterize radical change or a disruption in norms? Is there a way to conceptualize emergency that takes into consideration different modalities and histories? We invite interrogation of the potential of the theory and practice of emergency and of alternatives to this term, as ways of thinking about social, political, technological, and aesthetic transformations that occur during times of uncertainty.
We encourage open exploration of the terms emergency and emergence and invite researchers, artists, and scholars of all backgrounds to propose artworks, academic presentations, films, papers, performances, workshops, and other interventions which explore one of the following themes:
- Practice-based work responding to crisis
- Media technologies in both theory and practice
- Journalism and propaganda
- News and information (i.e. 24-hour news cycle, online fora, live streaming, etc.)
- Political, humanitarian, and activist documentary
- Live streaming
- “Fake news” and concepts of truth
- Ecology, the environment, climate change
- Utopias and dystopias
- Revolution and social action
- Alternate forms of historiography and history-making
- Aesthetic theories of emergence and systematicity
In addition to panel presentations, we will have a keynote speaker, alumni respondents, a faculty roundtable, workshops and an exhibition.
Please submit an abstract of no more than 200 words for a 20 minute presentation and a short bio. Non-traditional, creative projects are welcome, as are individual papers, pre-constituted panels or workshops. Please email your submissions and inquiries to email@example.com by June 1st, 2018.