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INTRODUCTION “Together with a long-overdue inventory of feminist Film and TV Studies here in Austria, the SCREENWISE conferencewould like to raise questions along the axes of four main themes about the constitution and reflection of the subject in contemporary cinema and TV theory.” Two years ago, beginning with this programmatic statement, Monika Bernold, Andrea B. Braidt, and Claudia Preschl followed up on Brigitte Mayr’s invitation to draft an event for SYNEMA, the event described in this program. The two guidelines contained in this set of objectives run throughout the lectures, panels, workshops, podium discussion, film viewing, and video lounge. One of the two guidelines is to present and make visible feminist Film and TV Studies in Austria. This type of inventory is, mainly, missing from academic policies. Yet, communicating the lively and diverse research and teaching activities in this area both within and beyond the involved fields, is of prime importance due to the merely isolated instances of institutionalization of Film and TV Studies within Austria. SCREENWISE would like to offer feminist Film and TV Studies scholars a framework to develop common perspectives within the context of an international conference. The second guideline inquires into the subject of contemporary film and TV theory: its constitution and reflections on it that are subsequently employed. This inquiry represents the historical, or theoretical concern of the conference and will be discussed and debated in four thematic areas.
The four main areas of concentration, developed in a collaboration with the conference’s scholarly committee, are symptomatic for the thematic landscape of contemporary discussion within feminist Film and TV Studies. They are therefore extremely suitable for sketching out the historical theoretical developments in this area:
Visual practices in the context of feminism, sexuality, gender, and politics opens the discursive framework on the relationship between feminist theory construction and aesthetic practice are theorized. Feminist positions on early cinema: The desire for a counter cinema once again raises the issue of early cinema’s potential as a counter model to narrative Hollywood cinema and what is often described as its apparatus-immanent reproduction of gender dichotomies. Discursive and imaginary spaces: TV's elsewheres and nowheres focusses on the gender specifics of the spatial/temporal dimensions of television and inquires into the reconfiguration of social, political, and also imaginary spaces. And finally, Gender and Genre in Film and TV Studies is concerned with the increasing critique in past years of the theorizing of the relationship of these categories and the simultaneous renaissance which might be agreed upon for gender-specific genre analyses.
Within the framework of an international call for papers, we have invited two keynote speakers for each of these main themes and put together four panels.
In addition to the lectures, which will approach the guidelines of the conference along these four main themes, a podium discussion, three workshops, a film program, and a video lounge will offer the opportunity to confront the state of the art and practices of feminist Film and TV Studies at various levels. Whereas the podium discussion will bring together scholars and practitioners to discuss mainly academic policy and aesthetic issues, the workshops are meant to provide a forum for discussion of three areas where feminism connects with film/TV: the programming of film series as feminist practice, the issue of the (lost) audience, and the representation of radical sexual practices in queer/lesbian film and video images. In addition, a film series in the Austrian film museum (curated by Katja Wiederspahn) and a video lounge in the project space/kunsthalle (designed by Miki Muhr), offer the possibility to see a selection of film and video works relevant to these issues.
Our aim is for this first Austrian conference on feminist Film and TV Studies to be followed by others, and for the event to set an impulse for international and national networking and initiatives.
Donnerstag/Thursday, 15. Mai 2003
from 15.00 project space
16.00 project space
Opening andPanel Discussion (in German)with Annette Brauerhoch (Paderborn), Sabine Derflinger (Wien), Carola Dertnig (Wien), Antonia Lant (New York), Marcella Stecher (Wien)
Chair: Claudia Preschl (Wien)
SCREENPOLITICS: The Power of the Political in the field of media
The panel brings together international film scholars and filmmakers who practice a variety of theoretical and practical approaches. Among other concerns, the activities of feminist confrontations in aesthetics and politics in the 1970s and 80s will be thematized and confronted with contemporary positions.
This implies, investigating changes in political thought and action, identifying the success and/or failure of past and present strategies, and (re)formulating the situation of individualization versus collective praxis… and much more.
18.00 – 18.30 project space
SHIMMERING REELS – SCREENWISE VideoLounge
selection and design by Mikki Muhr (Wien)
The VideoLounge is a platform for video works, contributions to the symposium that open discussion to the area of practice and introduce another level of inquiry on production and reception.
Compiled are recent productions along the axes of feminist analyses of codes, images, and narrative forms; image production – media usage, wishes and desires; and works that refer to concrete events.
The selection reflects my interest in the various strategies of applying and using video. Included are also several examples from the area of film animation, as I feel that the combination promises to be both informative and provocative. Focus is less on the challenge of something “new,” and more on the attempt to think in terms of the relations between the works. The video selection and the design of the lounge is my contribution, offered for discussion in the framework of the conference.
Additionally, the VideoLounge should also refer beyond the immediate location and supply information about the facilities that have provided invaluable resources for research on this project, as well as many others. My interest was sparked during the designing of the lounge, which should provide both visibility for those organisations that enable research to take place and information on them.
SHIMMERING REELS - VideoLounge
Thursday –Sunday project space
with Videos by Karin Sulimma (A), Vicky Smith (UK): Fixation / Sabine Marte (A) / Kowalska/Muhr/Müller (A): Unsere Leistungsbilanz / Dayna McLeod (CAN): Watching Lesbian Porn / Linda Bilda & Ariane Müllner: Zu Zweit / Klub Zwei (A): Schwarz auf Weiss - die Rückseite der Bilder / Park Sunwoo (ROK): They are Speaking / Ricarda Denzer (A): eigen / Hito Steyerl, (D/A): normalität 1 – 7
Concept and Organization by Katja Wiederspahn (Wien)
(...) im wesentlichen macht die Kamera jeden zu einem Touristen in der Realität der anderen und zuletzt auch in der eigenen. (Susan Sontag) Image Pleasure is an invitation to discover or rediscover a number of classics and several newer works in feminist cinema – focusing on films from the German speaking countries: aside from fremd gehen. Gespräche mit meiner Freundin (Austrian premiere!), Eva Heldmann’s much discussed documentary film on the sexual fantasies of her friend Annette, the program comprises a number of rarely screened works such as Amy! (Laura Mulvey, Peter Wollen 1980), a cinematic approach to Amy Johnson, aviation pioneer in 1930s England, and Die blaue Distanz (Elfi Mikesch 1983), a cool, stylized fantasy about wanderlust.
A number of common threads run loosely throughout the program. Various themes arise in the individual parts along the ever entertaining, red hot issue of sexual identity(ies), in short: about love, lust and passion – last but not least in the perception of film itself.
Part 1 is dedicated to documentary works and in particular to the theme of (self-)staging, with music playing a major role in all three films.
Part 2 takes a look at the man in women’s cinema – ironically commented on in Pola Reuth’s Kool Killer, and caught in rather tragic self-reflective moments in Love Stinks, a film by Birgit & Wilhelm Hein showing everyday life in a relationship. Almost an ”anti-porn,” the film refuses to”aesthetize” the sexual in any way.
Part 3 introduces experimental short films from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, cinematic reflections that circle around the experience of foreign-ness, travel, excursions to unfamiliar beds, reflections that provide stolen, borrowed, or granted glances in voyeuristic-exhibitionist performances. To celebrate the 30th birthday of the U.S. film distribution company, Women Make Movies, we will show Su Friedrich’s opulent wedding film, First Comes Love.
Part 4 presents French/Belgian variations of the 1970s cinema inspired by existentialism. The selected works draw attention to the subject-critical traditions of feminist cinema– Duras’s Les Mains Negatives and Akerman’s Je, Tu, Il, Elle.
And finally, part 5 dares to venture into Chinese cinema. The grand finale, Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan (Ai Nu, Chu Yuan 1972), a production from the legendary Shaw brothers studios, offers treats in all sizes and colors – from martial arts to lesbian melodrama – a masterpiece of Hong Kong’s liberal 1970s.
Discussions will be held in the cinema after the screenings; some of the directors will be present.
IMAGE PLEASURE – Program 1
Amy! Laura Mulvey & Peter Wollen, GB 1980, 16mm, 30 min., Farbe, eOF