Wednesday, June 5, 2019
With financial support from the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ International Keynote Speakers Support Fund
How do we watch films and why does this practice matter? In this talk by seminal film scholar Mary Ann Doane, questions of film spectatorship and its conditions form the basis of a larger argument: how can we talk about any aspects of cinema unless we consider the scale of the screen itself and our viewing practices as central to the cinematic experience? As Doane argues, today’s images are mobile and transportable, and the cinematic object is no longer site-specific. This contributes to the sense of its physical being vanishing into a vaporous network for which the “cloud” is the perfect contemporary trope. Viewing technologies have shifted us ever-closer to a model of spectatorship that is both isolated and individualized: from the communal space of the theatre to the family space of the television, and finally to the made-to-measure hermetically sealed world of the individual’s smartphone. Although David Lynch, in defense of large screens, has insisted that if you view a film on an iPhone, you haven’t seen the film, the mobility of images is a pervasive cultural phenomenon that must be confronted. Famous for her work on feminist spectatorship, Doane will deliver her characteristically rigorous but accessible scholarship for the Film Studies Association of Canada’s Martin Walsh Lecture. Delegates and members of the public who are interested in film spectatorship, digitality, the changing nature of viewing platforms, nostalgia, and the gendered aspects of technology, will appreciate this talk by one of the most important film studies scholars in the world.
- Mary Ann Doane, Class of 1937 Professor of Film and Media, University of California, Berkeley