Ecstatic Truth VI: To Attend

WHERE: Vysoká škola kreativní komunikace (University of Creative Communication) Prague, Czechia

WHEN: April 8, 2022

Ecstatic Truth is an annual symposium that explores issues arising from the interface between animation (in all its expanded forms) and documentary (conceptualised very broadly as non-fiction), with a particular interest in the questions raised by experimental and practitioner perspectives. According to Werner Herzog, mere facts constitute an accountant’s reality, but it is the ecstatic truth (a poetic reality) that can capture more faithfully the nuances and depths of human experiences. Given that animation (or manipulated moving image in all of its expanded forms) has the freedom to represent, stylise or reimagine the world, it lends itself well to this aspirational form of documentary filmmaking.

For this, our 6th symposium, held in Prague in collaboration with the Tangible Territory journal, our theme is to attend.

Submission link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=et06

CALL FOR PAPERS

To Attend to be present at; to go to; to pay attention to; to look after; to take charge of; to be present with; ACCOMPANY

Etymologically “to attend” comes from Middle English (in the sense ‘apply one’s mind or energies to’): from Old French atendre, from Latin attendere, from ad- ‘to’ + tendere ‘stretch’.

At a time when attending an event can mean two things: being present in person or virtually, new questions are raised about what attendance means. If attendance and attention have the same etymological roots, can we consider attending as a form of attention rather than requiring physical presence? And if the essence of attention is its elasticity, can we argue that attention is able to stretch to overcome physical distance? That our shared attention (as well as time and virtual platforms) allows us to be in attendance, together, no matter how physically displaced we are. 

According to philosopher and cognitive scientist Lucas Battich (TT journal 3) shared attention not only helps us learn better, it is also multi-sensory. Is therefore watching a film together more illuminating than watching it alone, in separate spaces? What effect our new, so called “hybrid reality” has on our attention? Which role do the so-called proximity senses play in being attentive, attending to presence?

Attention is a precious and limited human resource which is under pressure: multiple forces constantly fight for our attention. Not just every day demands but social media, advertising and various other inventions of our late capitalist world, which understand that attention and money are intertwined. Attention is what makes us present, attention is learning, attention is the fabric of our experience, attention is being conscious, being conscientious, it is our future memory: we remember what we pay attention to, the rest becomes an unconscious assimilation of facts. And as we know from advertising methods, subliminal messaging can affect us on a level where we are unable to rationalise its effect, hence are more vulnerable.

Film (and moving image) as a medium has long been associated with memory: Like the mind it records and edits, what it deems significant. It can capture moments in time, make them conscious and preserve them for the future. It enables us, the viewers, to attend to the presence of those that came before us, even if they no longer share our everyday reality… Temporal and physical distances are bridged.

While planning a physical event, we are equally looking for innovative ways of exploring questions of attendance, incorporating the uncertainty of our current situation into the very concept. While we encourage attendance in person, we are also open to online presentations which embody the essence of the question in different ways.

Selected presentations will be invited for publication in the Tangible Territory journal.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Submission link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=et06

We call for papers, presentations and responses (for a 20 minute slot) on themes of attention and attendance, in all its different manifestations, in relation to moving image and animated documentary, in its most expanded form. Your submission should include:

  • Title of your presentation
  • Abstract (brief summary of your proposed presentation) 500 words (including references)
  • Short Biography – 200 words
  • Relevant links to moving image work/websites etc.

If the paper is practice-based, it should include reflection and contextualisation in addition to presenting the practice. We will not accept papers that propose to show the practice only.

Submission is via Easy Chair where you will be prompted to set up a free Easy Chair account.

When submitting via EasyChair, in the field ‘Title and Abstract’ please enter the text for both your abstract and your bio. Do not submit a web link instead of a bio. This information (ie. Title, Abstract and Bio) can also be attached as a PDF document.

Please note that you are not expected to attach a full copy of your finished paper. We will only read Abstracts and not additional submitted writing.

Finally, we are unable to provide feedback on individual submissions.

Submission link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=et06

Submission deadline: January 10, 2022

LIST OF TOPICS

Some of the questions we invite you to consider: How does audio-visual media deal with the issue of proximity senses? How are they evoked? Explored? Attended to? And in turn how does it frame our attention to make us more engaged? How are attention and editing connected? How do we attend to a subject, a concern, a story to convey what’s of essence? How can we overcome the issue of presence versus representation? How can animation, a temporal manipulation which stylises reality, be helpful in communicating these concerns? How can it become the vehicle for (multi-sensory) attention? Or subliminal messaging? What about the impact of the evolving context of experiencing these works, moving from darkened cinema to one’s phone screen as we travel of public transport?

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:

Lucas Battich is a postdoctoral philosopher and cognitive scientist at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He obtained a doctorate from the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences in Munich, on how different senses shape joint attention and, conversely, how joint attention can affect perception across modalities. His research is focused on social cognition and perception, combining tools from philosophy of mind, experimental psychology and psychophysics. Before coming to Munich, he studied philosophy, fine arts, and cognitive science at the University of Dundee, the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, and Radboud University Nijmegen. https://lucasbattich.com/

ORGANISING COMMITTEE

The symposium is jointly organised by Dr Tereza Stehlikova, University of Creative Communication, Czech Republic; Tangible Territory JournalProfessor Birgitta Hosea, Animation Research Centre, University for the Creative Arts, UK; Dr Pedro Serrazina, Lusafona University, Portugal.

Scientific committee also includes

All questions about submissions should be emailed to ecstatic.truth.symposium

Featured image: La Jetée (1962) by Chris Marker

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