Historicizing Exhibition Futures
Interested participants should email proposals to co-chairs Charlotte Orzel (email@example.com) and Todd Kushigemachi (firstname.lastname@example.org) by August 6th. Proposals should include a title, an abstract no longer than 2500 characters (including spaces), 3-5 bibliographic sources, and a bio no longer than 500 characters. Decisions will be communicated by August 14th.
This panel examines contemporary film exhibition practices and experiences by engaging them with relevant historical contexts. Scholarship over the last fifteen years has spoken to the exhibition industry’s place within broader changes to media landscapes, including globalization (Acland 2003) and digitization (Tryon 2013), and more generally, cinema and media studies has explored the role of the digital in the future of film (Elsasser 2013; Rodowick 2007). Simultaneously, scholars have connected emerging presentation technologies (Rogers 2013), practices of media convergence (Melnick 2012), and immersive screening environments (Griffiths 2013) in theatrical contexts to their antecedents, drawing out overlaps and disjunctions between contemporary and historical practice.
Against the grain of current industrial and journalistic emphases on cinemagoing’s imminent demise or on life-breathing technological revolutions, this panel forwards the impulse to understand exhibition’s futures by examining the persistences or reconfigurations of its past. We ask not only what aspects are emerging in film exhibition but where and how they emerge, joining historical to contemporary forms and giving shape to currents of technological, industrial, and cultural change. How have new forms of exhibition practice repurposed or reignited historical discourses or cultural frameworks concerning cinemagoing activity? How have emerging exhibition technologies borrowed from, remediated, or been framed against their historical forms? What historical aspects of the spaces, industries, or practices of cinemagoing persist amidst ongoing change? How do media industries implicitly or explicitly cite and appropriate these histories, and to what end?
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Geneological or archaeological approaches to contemporary exhibition practices
- Theatre space, architecture, and furnishing
- Presentation technologies and their multiple articulations (e.g. IMAX, 3D, surround sound)
- How and why major studios and theater chains engage cinema histories
- Functions and animations of nostalgia
- Discourses of the death(s) of moviegoing
- Anniversary and event theatrical rereleases
- Reconfigurations and relocations of cinema sites
- Evolutions of multi-sensory experience (e.g. motion seating, 4DX)
- Audiences and cinemagoing as a cultural practice
- Changing industrial and economic activity
- Subscription and loyalty services (e.g. MoviePass, theatre rewards programs) and their reconstruction of a regular moviegoer