November 8th, 2019: Pao-chen Tang

Please join us on Friday, Nov 8, 2019 from 11:00am-12:30pm in Cobb 311.

We are delighted to welcome Pao-chen Tang, PhD candidate in Cinema and Media Studies & East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He will be presenting a draft of a dissertation chapter, titled “The Child.”

Pao-chen’s document is available for download here.

Please do not circulate without permission. Email either Sophie (sophielynch@uchicago.edu) or Tanya (tanyad@uchicago.edu) for the password.

Refreshment will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you!

Yours in Mass Cult,

Sophie and Tanya


Pao-chen Tang is a PhD candidate in the departments of Cinema and Media Studies & East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago.

November 1st, 2019: Ayana Contreras

Please join us on Friday, Nov 1, 2019 from 11:00am-12:30pm in Cobb 311.

We are delighted to welcome Ayana Contreras, WBEZ Host/Producer and 2015 University of Chicago Arts + Public Life Resident artist. She will be presenting part of her project titled “Very Original Beings: How the Remix Model has molded Black American Fashion, Music, and Material Culture.”

 

**There is no pre-circulated paper.**

Refreshment will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you!

Yours in Mass Cult,

Sophie and Tanya


Ayana Contreras is a cultural historian, DJ and archivist. An avid collector of vintage vinyl records, she hosts the Reclaimed Soul program on WBEZ and Vocalo Radio in Chicago. She is also a producer with WBEZ’s Sound Opinions which airs on 125 NPR stations. Ayana was a 2014/15 University of Chicago Arts + Public Life Artist-In-Residence, and a 2011 Artist-In-Residence at Dorchester Projects. In 2017, she received the Clementine Skinner Award by the Vivian Harsh Society, and was chosen as an Association of Independents in Radio (AIR) New Voices Scholar in 2015. She is a columnist for DownBeat, and her book on Post-Civil Rights Era cultural history in Black Chicago, titled Energy Never Dies, is forthcoming through Northwestern University Press.

October 18th, 2019: Katerina Korola

Please join us on Friday, Oct 18, 2019 from 11:00am-12:30pm in Cobb 311.

We are delighted to welcome Katerina Korola, PhD Candidate in Cinema and Media Studies & Art History at the University of Chicago. She will be presenting materials related to a first dissertation chapter, titled “Fresh Air Photography.”

Katerina’s document is available for download here.

Please do not circulate without permission. Email either Sophie (sophielynch@uchicago.edu) or Tanya (tanyad@uchicago.edu) for the password.

Refreshment will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you!

Yours in Mass Cult,

Sophie and Tanya


Katerina Korola is a PhD student pursuing a joint-degree in the Departments of Cinema and Media Studies and Art History. Interested in the nexus of ecology and media, her research focuses on set design and other forms of designed environments in early twentieth-century Germany (greenhouses, department stores, film studios, theatres, exhibition spaces). Other research interests include traditions of visionary architecture in the twentieth-century; decay and waste in postwar art and film; and the archive in contemporary art and film practices.

Oct 11, 2019 — Amy Skjerseth

Please join us on Friday, Oct 11, 2019 from 11:00am-12:30pm in Cobb 311 for the first meeting of the Mass Culture Workshop of the academic year 2019-20.

We are delighted to have Amy Skjerseth, PhD Candidate, Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago. She will be presenting a draft of an article titled: “Multiplying Mise-en-Scène: Lip-Sync Mash-Ups of The Night of the Hunter in Lewis Klahr’s Daylight Moon and Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du Cinema”.

Amy’s text is available for download here.

Please do not circulate without permission. Email either Sophie (sophielynch@uchicago.edu) or Tanya (tanyad@uchicago.edu) for the password.

Refreshment will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you!

Yours in Mass Cult,

Sophie and Tanya


Multiplying Mise-en-Scène: Lip-Sync Mash-Ups of The Night of the Hunter in Lewis Klahr’s Daylight Moon and Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du Cinema

This article draft examines how music and spectators’ embodied memories collide in the cult film The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955) and two contemporary films that appropriate its audio-visual material. While film scholars mainly have described mise-en-scène as a visual phenomenon, I follow Michel Mourlet in redefining mise-en-scène elements as multisensory “contours” that address both characters’ and spectators’ bodies. I closely read audio-visual contours in Hunter where sonic textures trigger viewers’ haptic memories to elicit thematic and affective affiliations with the child protagonists as they escape from the evil Preacher Powell.
Then, I turn to two films that mash-up the infamous river escape sequence and lip-sync it to opposite ideological ends. Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du Cinema 2A (1997) fetishizes Hunter’s images along with those of a young Julie Delpy as she reads Baudelaire’s “Le Voyage.” Lewis Klahr’s Daylight Moon (2012) imports Hunter‘s soundtrack record album where Laughton narrates score excerpts to create a stop-motion collage suburban crime tale. Both films rely on sound to recall multisensory experiences of childlike imagination, but where Godard amplifies animal mating calls to sexualize Delpy’s untouched feminine nature, Klahr reanimates the good versus evil battle in Hunter‘s score to entreat spectators to play with the ephemeral vestiges of memory. As pre-existing music multiplies relations between films and viewers, these cases suggest a multisensory model of mise-en-scène in which spectators hear sounds both as found objects and as haptic harbingers of memory.

Amy Skjerseth is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago and co-organizer of the Great Lakes Association for Sound Studies. She has a B.M. in Oboe Performance from the Eastman School of Music and a B.A. and M.A. in English from University of Rochester and McGill, respectively. Her work explores gendered and technological effects of sound synchronization through the heuristic of “lip sync” in postwar media from avant-garde film to music video.

May 24, 2019 — Matt Hubbell

Please join us on Friday, May 24, 2019 from 11:00am-12:30pm in Cobb 311 for the final meeting of the Mass Culture Workshop for the Spring Quarter. We are delighted to have Matt Hubbell, PhD Candidate in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies. He will be presenting a chapter entitled “Spontaneity and Form: Political Action, Acting, and the Stakes of Improvisation.”

Matt’s text is available for download here.
Please do not circulate without permission.
Please email either Gary [gkafer@uchicago.edu] or Cooper [cooperlong@uchicago.edu] for the password.

Refreshment will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you!

Yours in Mass Cult,
Gary and Cooper


Spontaneity and Form: Political Action, Acting, and the Stakes of Improvisation

From Raymond Aron’s famous condemnation of May ’68 in France as a “psychodrama,” to Marxist hopes that it constituted a “dress rehearsal” for a revolution to come, to praise of the uprising as a sort of liberatory street-theater, the events of May ’68 have often been described in theatrical terms. Arguing that theatre is a practice that itself interrogates, theorizes and experiments with the possibilities of human action, this chapter put questions of political action into conversation with modes of theatrical acting, in order to read that era’s political debates about the efficacy of spontaneity alongside simultaneous experiments with performance practices based on the principle of improvisation. Focusing in particular on Jacques Rivette’s improvised 13-hour film Out 1 (1971) and the work of the radical American theatrical troupe the Living Theatre, I explore the resonances and contradictions between their political and aesthetic aspirations, and ask whether these experiments, and their attempts to create new forms out of unplanned events or encounters, offer a productive model and inspiration for political action, or whether they become, instead, a substitute for it.

Matt Hubbell is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. His dissertation, “Acting After the New Wave: The Political Aesthetics of Performance in France, 1968-1981,” focuses on changes in performance style and the cinematic uses of the body in the post-68 period in order to explore the intersection of cinematic form, politics, and everyday experience.

May 10, 2019 — Rochona Majumdar

Please join us on Friday, May 10, 2019 from 11:00am-12:30pm in Cobb 311 for the fourth meeting of the Mass Culture Workshop for the Spring Quarter. We are delighted to have Rochona Majumdar, Associate Professor in the Departments of South Asian Languages and Civilizations and Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. She will be presenting a chapter in-progress entitled “Ritwik Ghatak and the Overcoming of History.”

Rochona’s text is available for download here.
Please do not circulate without permission.
Please email either Gary [gkafer@uchicago.edu] or Cooper [cooperlong@uchicago.edu] for the password.

Refreshment will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you!

Yours in Mass Cult,
Gary and Cooper


Ritwik Ghatak and the Overcoming of History

Indian art cinema’s relationship to historical events receives a particular shape in Ritwik Ghatak’s partition trilogy. His historical stance, as I see it, was two-fold. His films registered the deep sense of loss and instability engendered by the event of the partition but they also claimed emphatically that the political split of the nation-state did not annul the collective life of the Bengali (Hindu) people. It is to an analysis of the cinematic idiom he forged to express this historical stance–of acknowledging the violence of political history but also wanting to transcend it at the same time, a double move that sought to combine mourning with hope–that I turn in this chapter.

Rochona Majumdar is an Associate Professor in the Departments of South Asian Languages and Civilizations and Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. She is a historian of modern India. Her interests span histories of Indian cinema, gender and marriage in colonial India, postcolonial history and theory, and intellectual history. Her two books include Marriage and Modernity: Family Values in Colonial Bengal (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009; New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009) and Writing Postcolonial History (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2010).