Keynote 1 - Wed, Apr 25Th / 19:00

Film Worlds

cosmopolitical theory construction in cinema

Since its beginnings, the cinema has been representing a space for (aesthetical) world experience and (imaginary) border crossing. However, especially since the turn of the millennium there are an increasing number of films from different production contexts with the focus on global narrative. They tell us histories about fugitives, travellers, migrants or cosmopolitans and create transnational liminal spaces opening up as scalable film artefacts to real topographies. These films presenting the different globalization aspects are, in our opinion, subject to film theoretical discussion, which takes into consideration the cinematographic view of the world as the initial point and deals with local context and global border crossing with reference to the cosmopolitan theory approach. In this context, space, community and normativity build main categories of the subject borders crossing theory construction. Cosmopolitan film theory connects not only the concepts of the “transnational cinema”, “world cinema” or “migrant cinema” but, moreover, emphasizes the ethical dimension of a film theory construction exceeding the aspects of motivic and stylistics, genre, authorship and production contexts and understanding the cinema as a space of global communitarisation.

Matthias Christen, professor for Media Studies at the University of Bayreuth since 2011 (specialized in film and photography).

Kathrin Rothemund, Dr. Phil, is a media scholar at the University of Bayreuth (specialized in film and TV) and engaged in audiovisual acuity and blurring (audiovisuelle un|schärfe).

They are working on a book about Cosmopolitan Cinema together.

Keynote 2 - Thu, Apr 26Th / 16:45

Unfolding Borders

filming territory in the age of globalization

While globalization has been eroding boundaries and promoting mobility and homogenization, we are witnessing in parallel a steady escalation of identitarian discourses predicated on difference, separation and the restriction of movement. Spaces and borders are at issue: the rhetoric of neoliberal globalizing economy and that of identity politics alternatively erase or erect borders, which position people and objects “inside” or “outside”. Meanwhile, with the transnational turn, contemporary film studies have thrived on challenging the parameters of national borders and thinking of film supranationally. I argue that both the national and the transnational perspectives fail to account for film’s extraordinary embeddedness. I propose to mobilize a different notion that has been widely overlooked in film studies: territory. Operating “at a variety of spatial scales” (Storey), territory is a flexible concept not restricted by fixed borders. I will reflect on recent works that engage with the question of the border through characteristically filmic strategies of framing and reframing the territory, thus highlighting the politics and dynamics of globalization and localization alike.

Laura Rascaroli is Professor of Film and Screen Media at University College Cork, Ireland. Her new book, How the Essay Film Thinks, was published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

Keynote 3 - Fri, Apr 27Th / 16:45

Border Futures

migrant labor and the frontiers of security

Sleep Dealer is part of an archive of speculative fictions – notably, the TV show Westworld and the novel Lunar Braceros – that take place in the borderlands and imagine a future of complete surveillance and the denaturing and dehumanization of labor. It presents a future of deeply integrated networks, the proliferation of security technologies, new forms of labor, and the end of migration. The movement of those living in the southern borderlands is monitored and targeted by armed military drones, the action which is part of U.S. entertainment media in the TV show, simply named “Drones”. The borderlands’ future is one in which mobility is highly regulated and controlled, while the labor needs of the Global North are met without the irksome presence of the Global South. Sleep Dealer suggests that the condition along the border represents a future of complete surveillance, the collapse of entertainment and military endeavors, and the continued dehumanization of those at the bottom of the labor market. This dystopic future exposes aspects of the present that demand critical attention and points to possibilities for resistance and collective action.

Camilla Fojas teaches in the American Studies Program and the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia. She is currently working on a new project on surveillance and borders tentatively titled Border Securities/Border Futures.