Past Event

Transmission: Communication and Communicability

November 20, 2020
9:30 AM - 6:30 PM
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The Fourth Annual Film and Media Studies Conference tackles sending and receiving—including past and future modes of dissemination, whether distributing, broadcasting, or streaming, or sneezing. What can film and media studies make of the strange analogy between diseases and messages in the time of a pandemic?

For questions, please write [email protected].


Conference Schedule

Panel 1: Historicizing Transmission (9:30 am – 10:30 am)

  • William Zhou
    • From ‘Interworking’ to ‘Splinternet’: What Does Internet Sovereignty Mean for the De-Westernization of Media Studies?
  • Kaixin Liu
    • Developing a Transmissive Cinema: From Shanghai to Chongqing

Panel 2: Internet and Media (10:45 am – 11:30 am)

  • Isabella Rosete
    • For You: TikTok, Networks of Virality, and Habitual New Media
  • Yulong Hu
    • The Spread of the Image Under Pandemic

Break (11:30 – 1:00 pm)

Keynote Address (1:00 pm – 2:30 pm)
1st Annual Thomas Elsaesser Memorial Lecture

  • Victor Fan, Senior Lecturer, Film Studies, King’s College London
    • Extraterritoriality Life at the Age of Precarity: Double Occupancy and Parapraxis in Tharlo (2015) and Transit (2018)

Panel 3: Teleological Transmission (2:30 pm – 3:15 pm)

  • Maya Kotomori
    • Nazi Punk, F*ck Off! Teleology, Sex Pistols, and Origins
  • Emily Harrold
    • Social Media Touchstones in Documentary Film

Panel 4: Transmission through TV (3:30 pm – 4:15 pm)

  • Akash Shetye
    • Person to Person: Mad Men, Flow, and Spreadability
  • Annie Berman
    • Catching Feelings: How failures in romantic/sexual ‘contact tracing’ and intimate communication represent anxieties surrounding increasing connectivity in the contemporary rom-com

Panel 5: The Technical Delusion and Communicability (4:30 pm – 5:15 pm)

  • Benjamin Crabtree
    • Community and Connectivity: 'Delusions' as Spectrums of Transmission in True Stories (1986)
  • Ryan Groendyk
    • ‘Someone gave it to me and I gave it to you’: Rethinking Virality Post-COVID

Panel 6: Technological Shifts (5:30pm – 6:15pm)

  • Ankush Bhuyan
    • Transmission, Movement, and Change: The Making of Bodo Digital Cinema
  • Carlos Gutierrez Aza
    • The Blue Bird App: Redefining Social Media Conversations and Messages


About the Keynote

"In Extraterritoriality [2019], I argue that “we are all extraterritorial, only that we may not feel it.” Most lives today, which often occupy––and are occupied by––sociopolitically precarious positions, are by default extraterritorial. They are doubly occupied––and doubly ostracized––by conflicting sovereign authorities, political powers, and culturo-linguistic forces that seek to claim them. And these forces make such claim by, ironically, banishing them outside of their terrains. How do contemporary filmmakers who care about such double occupancy and extraterritoriality by using the cinema as an image-consciousness (embodied experience) to enable new opportunities to achieve a reimagination of politics?

This Lecture is inspired by my conversation with Thomas Elsaesser in New York last year. In this conversation, Elsaesser was interested in the renewed pertinence of double occupancy in European cinema under our current sociopolitical conditions, and how the concept itself is best reconfigured via a reexamination of contemporary cinemas in the Tibetan-Sinophone spheres. Such a revision, for Elsaesser, needs to be conducted in a way both specific to the historical and political positions of these regions, and relationally sharable and communicable among precarious lives across these communities. In my talk, I use an analytical strategy proposed by Elsaesser, parapraxis (Freudian slip: the failure to perform as the performance of failure), to scrutinize two films: Tharlo [2015] by Tibetan filmmaker who works in Beijing Pema Tseden, and Transit [2018] by German filmmaker Christian Petzold. I argue that both films fail to provide a solution for sociopolitically desubjectivized lives to regain their agency and subjectivity. Yet, by performing such failure, they both enable us to imagine how politics can be re-understood outside the binaries of subjectivity/desubjectivity, individuality/deindividuation, and agent/patient."
 Victor Fan, Senior Lecturer, Film Studies, King’s College London


Extraterritoriality: Locating Hong Kong Cinema and Media (Edinburgh, 2019)

Approaching Reality: Locating Chinese Film Theory (Minnesota, 2015)

Illuminating Reality: Cinematic Technicity-Consciousness through the Lens of Buddhism (Minnesota, 2020), forthcoming.