Message posted on 17/05/2024

EASA 2024 / LAB: Cinematic Disruptions

Dear all,

We would like to invite you to participate in the Lab Cinematic Disruptions: a Visual Experimentation through Speculative Collective Montage, to be held at the EASA Conference 2024 in Barcelona. Below you will find the necessary information to take part in this event either as presenter or as an active audience.

Do not hesitate to share this message with your friends and colleagues.

Thank you.

Best wishes,

Iris and Roger


Cinematic Disruptions: a visual experimentation through speculative collective montage


This lab aims to gather visual anthropologists in a collective, experimental and comparative discussion of what we call 'cinematic disruptions'. This term refers to those situations in ethnographic contexts where the cinematic encounter with the 'other(s)' crystallises into unexpected outcomes that overflow and challenge our previous narrative structures and epistemological standpoints. In these moments when everything is turned upside down, the filmmaker becomes both intruder and provocateur, actively participating in a transformative process in which 'reality' is redefined. These visual encounters are sometimes hidden and discarded in the editing process; sometimes they are integrated and become turning points in the film's plot, essential to the author's political, social or artistic point of view.

These liminal situations raise ethical and methodological questions: How do they challenge theories and practices of visual anthropology? What is the 'correct' ethnographic distance? How is visual consent reassessed? How do these situations force us to rethink our project and our position within it? How can they affect us and our interlocutors psychologically and emotionally? Is the transformative encounter potentially detrimental (or positive) to making a 'good film' (whatever that means)?

Methodologically, we want to experiment with a 'speculative collective montage', understood as the comparison of different disruptive moments to see similarities and differences, opening up the possibility of making a short collective visual essay.

Iris Pakulla has more than ten years of professional experience in the international documentary film industry as a writer, producer and most recently as a director with her debut feature film for Arte France/ NDR Germany entitled 'Angry Spirits' (Mongolia, 2024, 90’). Iris is also a PhD candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, UK.

Roger Canals is Full professor at the University of Barcelona. Specialist in Visual Anthropology, he has made several ethnographic films, among which “A Goddess in Motion” (2016) and “Chasing Shadows” (2019). He is also the author of the book “A Goddess in Motion. Visual Creativity in the Cult of María Lionza” (Berghahn Books, 2017). He is currently the PI of the ERC-Consolidator Grant “Visual Trust. Reliability, Accountability, and Forgery in Scientific, Religious, and Social Images” (20121-2026).

There are two ways to participate:

1) Present a film clip (up to 6 presenters). Each participant will be invited to bring a short scene or visual narrative instance of maximum 4 minutes that can be read as a 'cinematic disruption'. We are particularly interested in contexts of (religious, social, political) ritual, but are open to any kind of filmic/ethnographic disruption.

a) Send us a vimeo link (or a link from another screening platform) with your clip/video material.

b) Write a short abstract (250-300 words) on how the presented material can be read as a cinematic or epistemological disruption.

2) Participate as an active audience and interact with the presenters

a) Send us a short text (max. 250 words) introducing yourself and the reasons why you find the lab useful for your research.

Presenters and participants must be registered for the EASA conference, which will take place between 23 and 26 July.

Please send an email with the link and abstract to both convenors: (Iris Pakulla) (Roger Canals)

Deadline: 31.05.2024

Results will be announced mid-June

Thank you!

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