Conference Schedule

April 3 & 4, 2009
University of Chicago
Film Studies Center
Cobb 307
5811 S Ellis Ave

Full schedule below. View the poster.

From massive multiplayer games to the multiplex, cinema and media play a central role in shaping our awareness of “environments.” The sixth annual Cinema and Media Studies graduate student conference presents new scholarship on the moving image and the environmental imagination. Cinema, Nature, Ecology brings together young scholars investigating how nature, environment, and ecology might be taken up by the history, theory, and practice of cinema and other experiential media. These investigations range broadly, from Walt Whitman’s poetry to Pixar’s blockbuster WALL-E, from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to Paul Virilio, and from ecological psychology to evolutionary biology. What they all have in common is a commitment to expanding how we think about the interplay of cinema and media with the natural world, the environment and environmentalism, and ecological ways of thinking.

Media artist and historian Hanna Rose Shell (Junior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows; Assistant Professor, Program in Science, Technology, and Society, MIT) will give the keynote address, “Predator-Prey: Cinema, Nature, Ecology.”

Supported provided by the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the University of Chicago Arts Council, the Humanities Division Graduate Student Council, the Mass Culture Workshop, and the Film Studies Center.

Schedule of Events

Friday, April 3rd /
5:30pm / Screening // “HIDE” / curated and introduced by keynote speaker Hanna Rose Shell.

Saturday, April 4th /
9:15–11:00am / Panel 1 // Imagination & Representation

  • Brady Fletcher (University of Rochester), “Reel Animals: The Ethnographic Impulse in Contemporary Environmental Nonfiction Film”
  • Jim Supanick (Pratt Institute/The New School) “Experimental Science Fiction and the Reimagination of Disaster: Steven Matheson’s Apple Grown in Wind Tunnel
  • Graig Uhlin (New York University), “Sunshine, Herzog, and the Ecological Sublime”
  • Emily Carpenter and Katherine Chandler (University of California, Berkeley), “‘There’s Lots of World Out There’: Screen, Landscape, and Special Affect in WALL-E

11:15am–12:45pm / Panel 2 // Performance & Participation

  • Cristie Ellis (Johns Hopkins University), “Absorption in the Urban Montages of Whitman and Vertov”
  • Emily Capper (University of Chicago), “Tele-Creatures: Nam June Paik’s Television Work Circa 1963”
  • Ken Yoshida (University of California, Irvine), “The Debates of Environment in Postwar Japan”

2:00–3:30pm / Panel 3 // System, Energy, Ecology

  • Michael Hirsch (European Graduate School), “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green: Five Theses on Virilio’s Grey Ecology”
  • Scott Richmond (University of Chicago), “What Does the Cinema Afford? Or, an Ecological Approach to Cinematic Kinesthesis”
  • James Nisbet (Stanford University), “PhotoEnergie and the Fernsehgalerie”

3:45–5:15pm / Panel 4 // Science, Shape, Becoming

  • Hank Scotch (University of Chicago), “Liquid Perception and the American Avant-Garde”
  • Rebekah Rutkoff (CUNY), “Plant Morphology and Experimental Film”
  • Inga Pollmann (University of Chicago), “The Axolotl and the Cinema:Bazin, Merleau-Ponty, and Evolution”

5:30pm / Keynote Address //
“Predator-Prey: Cinema, Nature, Ecology”
Hanna Rose Shell, Junior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows; Assistant Professor, Program in Science, Technology, and Society, MIT.

7:30pm / Screening // Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance