Screen Engagements

8 December 2021, 5:00:00 am

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Session Convenors

Dr Charu Maithani, UNSW

Session Moderators

Dr Charu Maithani, UNSW

Session Speakers

Dr Anna Broinowski, University of Sydney
Dr Jacinta Giles, Griffith University
Dr Victoria Wareham, Griffith University

This session articulates our contemporary postmedial relationship with screens. We are confronted by various kinds of screens in our daily life – touch screen mobile phone displays, ATMs, film projections, television and computer screens. These numerous encounters with them offer varied experiences ranging from information to immersion. To account for this overwhelming presence of screens, the panel proposes various ways to attend to the relations enacted by screens in specific set-ups. Proposing to look beyond the functionality of screens as mere display devices, the presenters assemble multiple perspectives on the role of screens in interconnecting, rearticulating and reconfiguring relations. The panel is interested in foregrounding the 'doings' of screens in configuring and assembling relations of image, viewer/participant, and producer/maker to interrogate the agency of screens, their potentialities, enactments and operations as part of different assemblages, connected to multiple media, as seen in various contexts of media art and visual culture.

PAPER #1
The screen-within-a-screen: connectivity, authenticity and the evolving role of multi- screen filmmaking in a locked-down world

PRESENTER
Dr Anna Broinowski, University of Sydney

The evolution of digital filmmaking has seen a corresponding expansion in the stylistic, technological and narrative potential of the “screen-within-a-screen” as a filmic device. Once a predominantly peripheral in-camera tool, screens-within-screens – from pic-in-pic composits, LED video-walls, AR modules, animated inserts and interactive platforms to on-set laptop “intermediaries” - are now used by filmmakers to create solo and collaborative works during lockdown; to facilitate communication between real world and fictional subjects; to build audio-visual environments more “authentic” than the locations they simulate; to interrogate themes of connectivity, isolation and surveillance in an increasingly screen-dependent world; and to energise and transform the way audio-visual consumers interact with the screen. This practice-focused, multi-media paper uses an analysis of the narrative function of the screen-within-a-screen device within the researcher’s own documentary works (Helen’s War; Forbidden Lie$; Aim High in Creation; Please Explain) to examine the subsequent evolution of multi-screen story-telling in a range of interactive and linear screen-based works: imagining new possibilities for the screen-within-a-screen as a transformative creative and technological audio-visual tool, during Covid and beyond.

PAPER #2
The Transnarrative Televisual

PRESENTER
Dr Jacinta Giles, Griffith University

Belgian artist and curator Luc Tuymans has described the televisual image as being more psychologically and ideologically potent then film, yet many scholars acknowledge that it has almost no place as an object of study in academia and that very little is still known about it. Although television’s ubiquity as a source of knowing, picturing, and imagining is difficult to dispute, artists have, since the late 1950s onwards, agreed on its capacity to reveal worlds beyond our immediate perception. By exploring the transnarrative potential stored in television content—using Jill Bennett’s 'T_Visionarium: A User Guide', Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the interval, and my own televisual-based artwork—this paper argues that when the medium is subject to artistic intervention that alternative ways of translating our affective experience of everyday life can emerge. In questioning our habitual modes of seeing the televisual image, with its average airtime of forty milliseconds, artists can reveal the unique way that the televisual mediates our understanding of time, space, and our bodily existence.

PAPER #3
Mutant spectres: adopting a vitalist approach to imagining future screens

PRESENTER
Dr Victoria Wareham, Griffith University

This paper asks whether adopting a vitalist approach to understanding the ‘liveness’ of the screen in relation to the present moment—specifically through the lens of practice- led research—can help to encourage more poetic, narrative or practical approaches to imagining future engagements with the screen (or post-screen). Although screens are commonplace in our cultural habits, our homes and our hands, they remain largely unseen. It is only in the moment when the screen fails to project or protect that we become fully aware of its existence. Given our increased dependency on screen-based
devices and the rapid rate at which they are advancing technologically, the screen—both as an entity and an expression—has become so complex and unknowable that it exists in a state of ontological confusion. It operates as both a spectral entity and a mutable species; whose constant adaptation is a product of its symbiotic relationship to the image and the viewer.

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Biographies

Dr Charu Maithani, UNSW

Charu Maithani is a researcher who organises her inquiries in the form of writing and curated projects. Her focus lies at the intersection of technology, art, cinema and media studies with a specific interest in the technocultural space that screens occupy in postmedia. She has recently completed her PhD from UNSW, Sydney.


Dr Anna Broinowski, University of Sydney

Dr Anna Broinowski is an award-winning filmmaker, researcher and author who documents unusual cultural and political subjects. Her films include 'Aim High in Creation!' (about North Korean propaganda cinema); 'Please Explain' (about alt-right Australian Senator Pauline Hanson); 'Forbidden Lie$' (about American hoax-author Norma Khouri); and 'Helen’s War' (about anti-nuclear crusader Dr Helen Caldicott). Anna’s written two books, 'The Director is the Commander' (2015) and 'Please Explain: the rise, fall and rise again of Pauline Hanson' (2017). A Sydney University Screen Arts lecturer, Anna is currently researching the rise of fake political videos online.


Dr Jacinta Giles, Griffith University

Jacinta Giles is a photographic artist and researcher. Her research interests include the potential of the televisual when subject to artistic intervention, contemporary photographic practices that do not comfortably fit within the traditions of representation and abstraction, digital conceptions of the baroque, and the use-value of the work of philosopher Gilles Deleuze for artists and researchers. Jacinta has a Masters of Arts (Visual Art), Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, and is currently awaiting her doctoral confirmation. She has exhibited in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and her work is included in both private and public collections.


Dr Victoria Wareham, Griffith University

Based in Brisbane, Australia, Victoria is a video installation artist who has exhibited in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. After completing her undergraduate degree in 2008, Victoria has undertaken postgraduate study at the University of the Arts, London and has recently completed her doctoral thesis exploring the ontological instability of the screen. Victoria is currently part of the curatorial team at the Australian Cinémathèque and the Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) in Brisbane.