The Film Study Center and Critical Media Practice program are delighted to announce our 2021 Flaherty Film Seminar Fellows, who will attend the seminar in July.
This list includes our fellows from 2021 and 2020 as last summer’s seminar was canceled.
Programmed by Janaína Oliveira
Uncertainty, fragmentation, opacity. We live in a time when the transparency of convictions and definitions and the desire for total understanding of differences that historically guided the Western world of images no longer holds. In cinema, the boundaries between center and margin have been loosened and dissolved. Today, the critical issue may no longer be to relocate the center but our perceptions of the margins. More than ever, the traditional geographical boundaries of cinemas have proven unsatisfactory, as cultural and historical connections are continually reworked. Moving images require both filmmakers and viewers to negotiate what is not understood: there is no such thing as a blind spot; there never was. The spots are opaque, and they compel us to shape new tools for describing what we see, feel, and think.
The 66th edition of the Flaherty Film Seminar will inspire us to look defiantly at the opaque places of cinema. As suggested by the writer and philosopher Édouard Glissant, the works presented will “clamor for the rights to opacity for everyone” in their irreducible singularities. Opacity is an unfolding force that creates openings and endless possibilities of cinematic existence, especially for subjects that have been excluded or are less valued on conventional screens. The Seminar will be an opportunity to experience the moving image in its power, beauty, and, most of all, ordinariness. As an invitation for displacement or provocation, it points to an open future, to cultural, formal, aesthetic freedoms, where questioning is prioritized over finding answers.
CMP welcomes four new students to the secondary field: Ria Gyawali from Anthropology, Ana Laura Malmaceda from Romance Languages and Literatures, Junnan Mu from African and African American Studies, and Nnenna Onuoha from Anthropology.
We look forward to following their research and artistic practice and supporting their capstone work.
“Chaque Mercredi Caracas,” the first publication of CMP Projects, was awarded one of the Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2020. CMP students Noha Mokhtar and Xavier Nueno, in collaboration with visiting editor and designer Gregor Huber, worked on this publication in the context of the new course CMP Projects: Publication and Production, offered since Fall 2020 by Joana Pimenta.
The book presents a sequence of black-and-white images taken from the travel sections of the newspapers Le Monde and The New York Times from the 1960s onwards. By focusing on visual representations of “the Other” in travel reportages and advertisements, the collection of images explores the relationship between colonialism and the evolution of mass tourism in the second half of the 20th century: a world that is within reach and ready for consumption. As an insert to the book, “Our Letters Crossed” responds to the images from today’s perspective. In a collection of letters written by friends in different parts of the world, each one addresses its sender’s experience of an unprecedented year. 2020 is an island that didn’t exist.
We are delighted that the book won this important award! Every year, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture organises the “Most Beautiful Swiss Books” competition to honour outstanding achievements in the field of book design and production, with particular attention being paid to works that express contemporary trends. The 19 Most Beautiful Swiss Books of the 2020 edition were named by the FOC on the recommendation of an international jury. The award-winning books will be shown in an exhibition at the Helmhaus Museum in Zurich from 24 to 27 June 2021 and will then be on display at other locations in Switzerland and abroad.
In the meantime, CMP Projects is already working on its second publication, together with Parker Hatley.
Sensate: A Journal for Experiments in Critical Media Practice (co-founded by CMP-ers Julia Yezbick and Lindsey Lodhie) has just launched a special collection called On Immersion exploring questions around a “sense of being there” and forms of mediated interaction in fields from cultural anthropology to immersive technology. The collection includes an editorial essay as well as articles by Peter Lunenfeld, Young Joo Lee, and Stephanie Deumer – some of which grew out of conversations at a CMP workshop on Immersion: Social and Technological Pasts and Futures held at the Radcliffe Institute in March 2019.
Collection co-editors Julia Yezbick, Rachel Yezbick, and CMP student Emilio Vavarella frame their questions in the introductory essay: “What purchase do we give to first-hand experience over other forms of mediated interaction? Where does the immersive begin and end? How do various forms of media immerse us differently, and to what effect? And what is gained and what is lost in immersive media experiences as compared to other forms or modalities of mediated experiences?”
Each piece in the collection makes use of the possibilities of the web medium in different ways. Lunenfeld’s “Collodial Supension: Immersion and the Pedagogies of Making” is entirely constructed within Google spreadsheets but breaks the traditional functional limits of that format; Lee’s “In between the states of Immersion and De-immersion” use a new “spacialized” tool to enable the reader to move through and rearrange her work as they might in a gallery or room.
It’s exciting to see this collection – which is still open for submissions – emerge in a format that is so visually, functionally, and intellectually rich.
The next deadline to apply for the Critical Media Practice secondary field is Thursday, April 1.
The Graduate School in Arts and Sciences offers a secondary field in Critical Media Practice (CMP) for Harvard PhD students who wish to integrate media creation into their academic work. CMP reflects changing patterns of knowledge dissemination, especially innovative research conducted or presented using media practices in which written language may only play a part. Students interested in creating original interpretive projects in still or moving images, sound, installation, internet applications, or other media in conjunction with their written scholarship may apply to pursue the CMP secondary field, which will connect them with courses, workshops, and advising on production of media in different formats. Critical Media Practice is overseen by the Film Study Center.