Film/Video Technician Stefan Grabowski recently led a workshop for Film Study Center fellows and Critical Media Practice students on how to select appropriate microphones for different media production situations.  It was inspiring to see demonstrations of the wide variety of professional mics available to FSC fellows and CMP students, including small and large-diaphragm condenser mics, dynamic mics, contact mics, hydrophones, magnetic pickups, and parabolic mics.  Some of the specialty mics inspire experimental approaches to audio recording and sound design.

See Stefan’s workshop handout for details on the transducer varieties, pickup patterns, stereo configurations and arrays, and accessories as well as an introduction to considerations for technique and practice.

by Shireen Hamza

I wasn’t really sure what the Flaherty seminar was, beyond a large group of people gathering to watch and discuss films, three times a day for seven days. I knew about the principle of non-predisposition, that I would be walking into each day’s three programs without knowing what I would be watching beforehand. But before arriving and speaking with some of the participants who had attended previous seminars, I did not know of the many significant changes that the organizers of Flaherty have made over the last few years. Though the seminar has a long history of being a place for international film, the organizers have of-late been choosing programmers who could uniquely center communities of artists whose work is marginalized in, and not widely accessible in, the US.

In 2018, the programmers were African American artists Kevin Jerome Everson & Greg de Cuir Jr., and next year’s programmer will be Professor Janaína Oliveira, a Brazilian scholar and programmer focused on Black filmmakers across Latin America. And organizers have responded to the call by Sky Hopinka and others to change the logo, which used to be an objectionable representation of an Inuit character from the eponymous Robert Flaherty’s famous film, Nanook of the North.

I had been so drawn to the description of this year’s seminar — Action! — and interested in what kind of films might be programmed by Shai Heredia, an organizer of India’s first experimental film festival, that I had not reflected on the broader shifts that this specific seminar was a part of at The Flaherty. Entering this art space, which centered artists from across Asia, I was also pleased to see that there were many attendees (and fellows, specifically) from Asia, and of various Asian diasporas, as well as artists and curators of other historically marginalized identities within the US. (more…)

The ‘Italian Council’ is the main program promoted by the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities, established in 2017 with the aim of funding the creation of high-budget art projects and increasing the collections of Italian public museums.

Italian artist Emilio Vavarella, currently a PhD candidate in AFVS and CMP at Harvard, is among the winners of the 2019 edition of the Italian Council with a project entitled “rs548049170_1_69869_TT”. The project will benefit from a 178,000.00 euros production budget and revolves around the idea of translating the artist’s genome into a large textile, using commercial genotyping techniques available in Mountain View, California, and a 19th century Jacquard loom (one of the first ‘computing machines’), still active in Southern Italy.

Vavarella’s project aims to conjugate tradition and modernity by intertwining the genetic and cultural histories of the artist and his mother, (who is a tailor), and topics such as the digitalization of biological life, technical reproducibility, and the intersection between artisanal textile manufacturing and contemporary techno-scientific possibilities.

An integral part of the project will be a series of collateral events and initiatives aimed at expanding the project’s theoretical implications and produced with the support of cultural partners in Italy, the United States and China, including: Ramdom, a cultural association in Puglia and leading partner of Vavarella’s project; Arthub Asia, a Shanghai-based platform devoted to contemporary art creation and diffusion; the Film Study Center at Harvard University; and MAMbo, the Museum of Modern Art in Bologna.

Learn more about Vavarella’s work here:


Introduction to Critical Media Practice class had a show of its final projects in Vanserg Hall last night, with projects including multichannel video pieces about managed forests in Ontario (GSD), more coming soon.

Check out the CMP Capstone Exhibition in the Harvard Gazette.

It takes countless hours to pull together a traditional doctoral thesis, a cogent case laid out on the page based on reasoned argument primed with examples. But the printed word, Harvard scholars know, is only one way to demonstrate what you’ve learned about the world. Continued…